UCL FACULTY OF LAWS
Institute of Brand and Innovation Law

Institute of Brand and Innovation Law

INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW OF TRADE MARKS, DESIGNS AND UNFAIR COMPETITION (LAWSG064)
Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Dr Matt Fisher
Other Teachers:
Professor Spyros Maniatis, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
Professor David Llewelyn, King’s College London (KCL)
Intercollegiate teaching: Yes, this module is jointly taught with King’s College London (KCL) and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
Teaching Method: 22 x two-hour seminars - please note: as this module is jointly taught with King's College London and Queen Mary University of London, it will run during reading week
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisites: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core module for specialism: Intellectual Property Law
Assessment
Practice Assessment: Essays with feedback
Assessment method for LLM students: 3-hour 15 minute unseen written examination
Module Overview

Module summary

The aim of the module is to enlarge and deepen students’ knowledge and understanding of trade mark laws from an international and comparative perspective, by encouraging them to:

  • to appreciate the functions of trade marks and related symbols
  • to examine their historical and economic development
  • to understand the legal protection of marks in selected common and civil law jurisdictions and contrast differing approaches to trade mark protection (jurisdictions covered include the UK, the United States, France, Germany and the European Union more generally)
  • to explore the relevance of laws prohibiting unfair competition
  • to contrast specific trade mark laws with those on unfair competition
  • to assess the roles of the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the World Trade Organisation in international trade mark law
  • to survey the operation and membership of international treaties concerned with trade mark protection and unfair competition
  • to apply trade mark principles to specific issues affecting trade, culture, and consumers
  • to review different models of design protection and compare approaches to design protection

Module syllabus

  • Introduction, Functions of Trade Marks and Unfair Competition Basics
  • Passing Off
  • US Unfair Competition: Confusion, Misappropriation and Dilution
  • French Unfair Competition
  • German Unfair Competition
  • US Registered Trade Marks: Registrability, Scope of Infringement, Defences
  • European Registered Trade Marks: Registrability, Scope of Infringement, Defences
  • Special Topic: Trade Marks and Free Speech
  • Special Topic: Comparative Advertising
  • Special Topic: Parallel Importation in the US and EU
  • Special Topic: TBA (depending on developments during the year)
  • International Protection
  • The Trade Mark/Design Interface

Recommended materials

Due to the comparative nature of this module, there is no textbook available. However, comprehensive materials will be distributed to the class.
The recommended statute book is A.Christie & S. Gare, Blackstone’s Statutes on Intellectual Property (latest edition)

Preliminary reading

W. Landes & R. Posner, Trademark Law: An Economic Perspective, 30 J. Law & Econ. 265 (1987)
G.A. Akerlof, The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism, 84 Quar. J. Econ. 488 (1970)
L. Bently & B. Sherman, Intellectual Property Law (OUP, Oxford, 2009), Chapter 31
I. Simon, ‘How Does Essential Function Doctrine Drive European Trade Mark Law?’ 36 IIC 401-421(2005)

Other information: N/A
Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.