Advanced Biotechnology and Intellectual Property Rights

Course content

This course is a simulation of a biotechnological innovation proces where the participants have to solve an advanced biotechnological challenge without infringing the intellectual property rights of others.

The course is theoretical and during the first week different biotechnological challenges are presented from companies, start ups, research groups and students at the university.

Project groups are formed and projects are initiated with a workshop on idea generation within the biotechnological area of the challenge. Groups will be encouraged to contact relevant industrial and academic partners to test their ideas. Hereafter the focus is on making a vision for the project. Next the focus is on background literature and patents relevant to the project. Hereafter the the aim of the project is written based on the relevant written material. Next the focus is on creating a timeline for the project and describing the project strategy in details. In the following period the project plan and the critical deliverables will be described along with the expected deadlines. Assessment of various risks will also be evaluated. Hereafter the focus will be on the scientific and commercial potential of the project and the groups have to contact relevant industrial and academic partners to test their project plan. The patent landscape is closely evaluated and patent family trees are drawn. The period hereafter is devoted to looking at funding and the project groups will end up describing the possibilities of getting their project into real life. In course week seven the groups will present the final outcome for a panel of experts. Week eight is deadline for the project reports.

During the initial six course weeks there will be lectures and workshops with guidelines to the group work and in some weeks there will be knowledge sharing between groups either by presentations or other formal activities.

During the first six weeks intellectual property right issues will be taught in parallel with the project activities.


MSc Programme in Biology-Biotechnology - compulsory
MSc programme in Bioentrepreneurship - compulsory

Learning outcome

The course forms a final synthesizing element of the MSc education and it is the final preparation for the MSc projects

After completion of the course the student is expected to have the following knowledge, skills and competences:

- Communicate in depth knowledge on selected topics within the area of biotechnology
- Identify current technical problems within the area of biotechnology
- Describe the relationship between patenting and scientific discovery
- Describe the patenting process and how it relates to the international patent authorities and organizations.
- Understand patents as strategic tools in business developement
- Understand how intellectual property rights relates to and handles genetic sequences and other biological material

- Read and interpret state of the art scientific literature within the area of biotechnology
- Generate new ideas to tackle technical problems within the biotechnological area
- Evaluate which strategies and laboratory procedures to use to solve technical problems within the biotechnological area
- Use and understand advanced methods in molecular biology in the context of research and development
- Determine the freedom to operate for a given new biotechnological product emphasizing intellectual property rights.
- Understand how to interact with external partners both industrial and academic. 
- Understand demand driven innovation processes and business models in general.

- Identify scientific problems within the area of biotechnology and design strategies for investigating the problems
- Make a well documented project plan including aim, a time line with deliverables and expected deadlines, risk assessment and future perspectives. 
- Exploit knowledge of advanced technologies and products based on  animal, plant and microbial biotechnologies. As examples technologies could include biomarkers, enzymes, vaccines, bioremediation, development and tailoring of production organisms, diagnostics,  rational drug design and the use of animal and cell-based models. Products could comprise food/feed ingredients, diagnostic tools, biomedicine, pharmaceuticals and transgenic crop plants and animals. 

Lectures, work shops, group work, discussions and presentations in relation to the project.

An IPR compendium
Selected scientific papers, reviews and patent material relevant for the specific project.

Competencies corresponding to the following courses: Mikrobiologi (NPLB14012U), Molekylær genetik (NPLB14002U), Plants Genomics (NPLB13001U), Mammalian Genomics (SBIB10170U), Bioinformatik 1 (LBIB10123U), Biokemi 1 (LKEB10077U), Heterologous Expression (LBIK10136U), Genome and Cell Biology (LBIK10135U)

Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 minutes
Oral examination without preparation. The exam will start with a 5 min pitch presentation from the student. Exam topics will cover the biological background of the project, the project phases, general and specific intellectual property right issues and funding aspects.

Weight: Oral examination 100 %.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More than one internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

In order to achieve the maximum grade of 12, the student shall give an excellent performance during the exam displaying a high level of command of all aspects of both the advanced biotechnology and the intellectual property rights. The student shall give a clear presentation of the group project and show an exhaustive comprehension of all the relevant topics touched during the exam with no or only few minor weaknesses.

Specific knowledge, skills and competencies, see learning outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Guidance
  • 20
  • Colloquia
  • 20
  • Practical exercises
  • 20
  • Project work
  • 271
  • Preparation
  • 40
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 412