Institute of Brand and Innovation Law

Institute of Brand and Innovation Law

Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Dr Ilanah Simon Fhima

Other Teachers:
Professor Spyros Maniatis, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
Professor David Llewelyn, King’s College London (KCL)



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


  1. Introduction, Functions of Trade Marks and Unfair Competition Basics
  2. Passing Off
  3. US Unfair Competition: Confusion, Misappropriation and Dilution
  4. French Unfair Competition
  5. German Unfair Competition
  6. US Registered Trade Marks: Registrability, Scope of Infringement, Defences
  7. European Registered Trade Marks: Registrability, Scope of Infringement, Defences
  8. Special Topic: Trade Marks and Free Speech
  9. Special Topic: Comparative Advertising
  10. Special Topic: Parallel Importation in the US and EU
  11. Special Topic: TBA (depending on developments during the year)
  12. International Protection
  13. The Trade Mark/Design Interface

Background Reading (optional):

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)

I. Simon, ‘How Does Essential Function Doctrine Drive European Trade Mark Law?’ 36 IIC 401-421(2005)

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment

Lectures/Seminars: 22 x 2-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.
Tutorials: Yes
Previous module enrolments: Extra large – 100+ students
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: Intellectual Property Law
Final Assessment: 3-hour 15-minute unseen written examination
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay per term
Other Information
Intercollegiate Teaching: This module is jointly taught with King’s College London and Queen Mary University of London.

This page was last updated on 25 September, 2014