EU Intellectual Property Law and Policy in an International Context

Course content

The growing importance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) can hardly be overestimated. IPRs are recognized to be a crucial contributor to economic growth and competitiveness within the EU and on a global level. Consequently Intellectual Property Law (IPL) is the focus of a great deal of legislative activity at national, international and regional levels. It constitutes an increasingly important and wide bundle of rules on various legal aspects of human creativity, technological innovation and business.

This body of law has traditionally embraced protection of copyrights, patents and trademarks. The domain of IPR's has grown considerably in the last decades by extending their scope to the protection of new works and technologies (like computer programs, databases, videogames, biotechnologies) by both the conferral of well-known entitlements (e.g. copyright) and the creation of more specific, new types of rights (e.g. industrial designs, database rights, access rights for digital items).

The idea of this course is based on the assumption that policies and objectives which underlie all forms of today's IPR's are set out at international and European levels, in spite of the purely national dimension and validity of most of the exclusive rights granted jurisdiction by jurisdiction.

Even if the idea of multi-level regulation of intellectual property goes back to the end of the 19th century (when the first international conventions for patent and copyright protection were enacted), this area of law has been globalised more effectively as of the establishment in 1994 of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the related adoption of an international agreement (i.e. Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, known as "TRIPS" Agreement). This "constitutional" agreement strengthened the protection of the intellectual property models dictated by the most advanced countries of the world and fostered transnational cooperation and co-decision processes in this field. At regional level, the EU has been and is still very active. Apart from many decisions of the European Court of Justice which considered and censored several market distortions caused by disparate intellectual property laws across Europe, a number of important directives and regulations also harmonised (or even unified) national sub-systems. Moreover, outside the EU legal framework, the European Patent Convention created a regional patent system that has progressively reduced the importance and the appeal of purely national systems and entitlements.

Focusing on EU intellectual property law in its wider international context, this course aims to analyze the framework within which national IP laws of member states operate and interact. The course also seeks to discuss the most important policy issues and arguments of relevance to the EU, both within the Union, and with regard to its international relations on the global level.

In general, each segment of the course will first present the legal framework and principles that are applicable to the chosen topic. Although the focus is laid on the legal situation within the EU this will require the consideration of three perspectives. In applying the global perspective the rules of the international conventions - for instance TRIPS - are shortly described. The regional (EU) legal system is then considered on the basis of the various directives and regulations and with regard to decisions of the ECJ on e.g. parallel imports. The main features of the European registration systems for patents (EPO), as well as trade marks and designs (OHIM) are also examined. Emphasis is also laid on recent legal developments, such as the continuing debate over a future EU patent system. Second, the application of these principles will be demonstrated and discussed in more detail in the form of specific case studies. Wherever appropriate this might also include a basic examination of specific technological problems and/or a short comparative discussion of selected national jurisdictions, including Denmark, further EC member states and i.e. the U.S.. More specifically the structure of the course is divided into the following segments addressing various topics:

1. Introduction to IPL & different treaties and conventions
2. Copyrights and related rights
3. Patents & utility models
4. Plant variety rights
5. Designs
4. Trademarks and related rights
6. IPR and free movement of goods
7. The interface between IP and competition law
8. Enforcement issues

Learning outcome

- Present the content of the individual intellectual property law disciplines and their interrelationship.
- Explain the basic legal rules concerning the protection of an object, subject and contents within the individual intellectual property law disciplines and explain and put into perspective the interdisciplinary differencies and similarities.
- Analyse to what extent identified problems can be solved in practise by using several different intellectual property law disciplines and discuss the pros and cons connected to the handling of the individual disciplines within the same problem area.
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Identify relevant problems and legal arguments within intellectual property law on the basis of a complex material.
- Present specific problems within the context of intellectual property law in a manner that demonstrates overview and in-depth knowledge.
- Analyse complex problems within intellectual property law, make an academically reasoned argument for different solutions and make a critical weighing of the legal arguments.
- Combine different academic approaches in connection with the analysis and make academically reasoned choices for the solution.
- Present solutions and arguments in a systematic and coherent manner that shows in-depth knowledge and understanding of the problems within intellectual property law.
- Communicate and formulate her/his knowledge and arguments professionally and linguistically correct and in a way that is structured and coherent

In accordance with the on-going study reform this course follows a research based teaching approach. It will include the use of a strong component of diverse active learning pedagogic tools side by side with traditional legal teaching methods. Student participation is highly recommended in order to maximise the learning outcome

• Anette Kur & Thomas Dreier:”European Intellectual Property law – Text, Cases and Materials”, 2013
approximately 530 pages

Additional literature:
• Recent cases and other materials on various aspects of international and European intellectual property laws (selected and made available by the teacher; approximately 200 -300 pages

The courses in "Intellectual Property Law in an International and EU context" and "Immaterialret" are mutually exclusive. It is therefore only possible to follow and be examined in one of these two courses during the course of study

The students will be divided into groups. Each group is expected to present cases which will subsequently be discussed by the class.

ECTS
10 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min
Oral exam without preparation, 20 minutes
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 34
  • Preparation
  • 241
  • English
  • 275