Not available in 2020/21
LL4BN      Half Unit
Innovation, Technology and Patent Law

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Siva Thambisetty NAB 7.29


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be relevant to the following LLM specialisms: Information Technology, Media and Communications Law, Intellectual Property Law, Corporate and Commercial Law, International Business Law and Competition, Innovation and Trade Law.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.


Students must have completed The Legal Protection of Inventions (LL4BM).

Course content

This course will build on the comprehensive introduction to patent law provided in LL4BM to address sophisticated issues of law and public policy through multiple perspectives. Indicative list of weekly seminar topics include biotechnology and biodiversity, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, pharmaceuticals and access to medicines, research use exception, competition law and policy with respect to the patent rights in particular sectors, patent offices and patent litigation, and the Unitary Patent Convention. The course will allow students to bring a wide variety of interests to the table and will address questions of reform of law and institutions. Course content complements several areas of national and international law and policy including competition law, access and benefit sharing issues around genetic resources, transnational rules that impact domestic innovation policy, institutional theory, affordability of patented medicines, human rights and bioethics.


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

This is a Lent term course, and consists of 10 weekly two-hour seminars in variable format including lecture-discussions, student-led seminars and guest lecturers where appropriate. Students are expected to participate in class discussions and critically explore further implications of the reading covered each week.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce one 2,000 word formative essay during the course.

Indicative reading

Weekly readings will include book chapters, law review articles, reports and studies as well as cases.

Robert Merges Justifying Intellectual Property Law HUP 2011

James Boyle The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind Yale University Press 2008 (free access online)

Boldrin and Levin Against Intellectual Monopoly CUP 2010

Alexander Stack International Patent Law: Cooperation, Harmonisation and an Institutional Analysis of WTO and WIPO Edward Elgar 2012

Justine Pila The Requirement for an Invention in Patent Law OUP 2010

A Pottage and B Sherman Figures of Invention: A History of Modern Patent Law OUP 2011


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2019/20: 8

Average class size 2019/20: 8

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information