Intellectual Property: An Introduction

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This course will be offered again in the spring semester 2018.

The course introduces students to the basics of the intellectual property system and of innovation policy. Areas covered include patent, copyright, trademark, design, know-how protection, open source, and technology transfer. The course looks at Swiss, European, U.S. and international law and uses examples from a broad range of technologies. Insights can be used in academia, industry or start-ups.

Intellectual property issues become more and more important in our society. In order to prepare students for their future challenges in research, industry or start-ups, this course introduces them to the foundations of the intellectual property system. The course covers patent, copyright, trademark, design, know-how protection, open source, and technology transfer law. It explains links to contract, antitrust, Internet, privacy and communications law where appropriate. While the introduction to these areas of the law is designed at a general level, examples and case studies come from various jurisdictions, including Switzerland, the European Union, the United States, and international law.

In addition, the course introduces students to the fundamentals of innovation policy. After exposing students to the economics of intellectual property protection, the course asks questions such as: Why do states grant property rights in inventions? Has the protection of intellectual property gone too far? How do advances in biotechnology and the Internet affect the intellectual property system? What is the relationship between open source, open access and intellectual property? What alternatives to intellectual property protection exist?

Knowing how the intellectual property system works and what kind of protection is available is useful for all students who are interested in working in academia, industry or in starting their own company. Exposing students to the advantages and disadvantages of the intellectual property system enables them to participate in the current policy discussions on intellectual property, innovation and technology law. The course will include practical examples and case studies as well as guest speakers from industry and private practice.

Further information on the course are available on the Moodle platform for the course. If you have registered for this couse, you will automatically get access to the Moodle platform for the course.

The course will use two books as background literature:

  • Annette Kur & Thomas Dreier, European Intellectual Property Law, Edward Elgar (Cheltenham), 2013, ISBN 978-1848448803
  • François Dessemontet, Intellectual Property Law in Switzerland, Stämpfli (Berne), 3rd edition, 2015, ISBN 978-3-7272-7758-0

Information on the exam:

  • The exam will take place on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, from 10:45 to 11:45 (last names A-K: room HG E3, last names L-Z: room HG G3).
  • The duration of the exam will be one hour, it will be conducted in English.
  • The format will be a multiple choice, with no study materials allowed (closed book).
  • To prepare, please attend the course, study the material on the Moodle platform and consult the background literature.
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