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Unit Overview


This unit is designed to introduce students to the major intellectual property law regimes. Intellectual property is a dynamic area of law which governs most forms of creativity and plays an important role across an incredibly broad spectrum of industry, science, design, technology and culture. It impacts everyone in their personal and professional lives, irrespective of their interests or occupations. It is therefore an essential unit for those seeking to better understand how intellectual property is protected and exploited, and of course those who wish to gain specialist expertise in intellectual property law.

The unit begins with an overview of all the major regimes and the major international frameworks that shape intellectual property laws nationally and internationally. The unit then briefly explores the essential theoretical foundations of intellectual property rights, and contrasts the laws relating to registered and unregistered trademarks (including the statutory prohibitions on misleading and deceptive conduct and the common law tort of passing off), patents, registered designs, copyright and moral rights.

The unit takes an Australian focus but also engages with the international instruments which shape intellectual property law globally, and may undertake select comparisons of foreign intellectual property law. It focuses on the essential principles of intellectual property law, policy and practice, and also explores emerging issues in intellectual property law.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) demonstrate, at an advanced and integrated level, knowledge of (a) the nature and purpose of the laws relating to registered and unregistered trademarks, patents, registered designs, copyright and moral rights; (b) the kinds of expression which may be eligible for protection under these rules; (c) the basic features of the international rules governing the protection of intellectual property and the way in which they shape domestic and international laws and (d) policy and reform issues in relation to the regulation of intellectual property rights in Australia and in select foreign jurisdictions; (2) demonstrate (a) the ability to reflect upon and respond to ethical issues arising in intellectual property law; and (b) a developing ability to exercise judgment; (3) identify and articulate complex intellectual property issues; apply legal reasoning to hypothetical fact scenarios and solve problems relating to the subsistence, ownership, exploitation and infringement of intellectual property rights; (c) critically analyse and evaluate (both orally and in writing) issues of policy, theory and reform in relation to the regulation of intellectual property rights in Australia and in select foreign jurisdictions; and (d) engage in critical analysis of case law and application of statutory interpretation; (4) identify, research, evaluate and synthesise factual, legal and policy issues on selected and contemporary topics in intellectual property law; and (5) communicate in tutorials and lectures in ways that are effective, appropriate and persuasive for legal and non-legal audiences.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial work; (2) research essay; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Michael Blakeney and Associate Professor Jani McCutcheon
Unit rules
Enrolment in
20820 Juris Doctor
and LAWS4101 Foundations of Law and Lawyering
, LAWS4102 Criminal Law
, LAWS4103 Contract
, LAWS4104 Property LAWS4106 Torts
, LAWS4107 Land Law
, LAWS4108 Foundations of Public Law and ( LAWS4109 Legal Theory and Ethics
or LAWS4110 Interpretation
For all other students: No prerequisites
LAWS3338 Introduction to Intellectual Property
Advisable prior study
LAWS4104 Property
Contact hours
3 hours per week

Bowrey, K, et al, Australian Intellectual Property. Commentary Law and Practice, 3rd edn., Oxford UP, 2021.

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.