Copyright, Trade Marks and Allied Rights

Intellectual property is the field of law which protects valuable intangibles. It does so by recognizing property rights in cultural, innovative and informational subject matter. As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, intellectual property rights are increasingly valuable. According to a report by the EU in 2016, 42 % of the total economic activity (GDP) in the EU is attributable to IPR-intensive industries, worth EUR 5.7 trillion.

In Copyright, Trade Marks and Allied Rights we introduce two of the central intellectual property regimes. Copyright protects authorial works (such as books, music and films) and recordings/transmissions of them. Some of the more challenging issues presently being debated are whether artificial intelligence algorithms which produce paintings or write poems ought to be recognised as authors and whether platforms such as YouTube should be responsible for the infringing uploads of their users. Trade mark law protects signs that indicate the commercial origin of goods and services (such as the Apple logo). However these marks also form the basis for valuable and evocative brands. Granting legal protection to this brand image dimension might insulate the trade mark owner against competition and prevent legitimate critiques, so where should the line be drawn?

For each of these regimes, this course outlines protected subject matter of protection, relevant legal institutions (such as registration systems), the suite of rights available and exceptions to those rights. The primary focus is UK law, as it is shaped by its European and international context.