Faculty of Law

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedCity (Melbourne) First semester 2013 (On-campus split block of classes)



This unit is introductory in nature and is intended to provide sufficient knowledge about patent law, and intellectual property in general, for those who are involved in or seek involvement in the commercialisation of research. The unit will consider the creation of patentable inventions in a university or other research intensive environment and will consider the special issues that arise in collaborative research. The unit is particularly directed to the researchers themselves, but is also valuable for those who want to understand more about the connection between research, patents and commercialisation. It is suited to both lawyers who have little or no understanding of patent law and to non-lawyers who have some background in science or technology.

Topics covered include a brief overview of the sources of Australian law for non-lawyers, an overview of the different forms of intellectual property, the history and rationale of the patent system, the concept of invention and the notion of inventorship, the requirements for patentability and the pitfalls for inventors, the differences between standard and innovation patents, patent application procedure, an understanding of the role of specifications and claims, the rights granted by a patent, ownership and dealings with patents, enforcement and exploitation of patents, and the international patent system.


Students who successfully complete this unit should have:

  1. acquired basic knowledge of the sources of law in Australia and the interrelationship between case law and statute law
  2. acquired basic knowledge of the subject matter that is eligible for protection under the common law and statutory regimes for trade marks, copyright, patents, designs, confidential information, circuit layouts and plant breeders' rights and the inter-relationship between these regimes
  3. an enhanced appreciation of the policies and objectives underlying the laws of patents
  4. detailed knowledge of the subject matter that is eligible for protection under the laws of patents, the requirements for obtaining such protection and its scope, once obtained
  5. an understanding of entitlement to patents and concepts of ownership and inventorship
  6. have a sound understanding of the operation and application of the rules governing the international protection of patents for inventions.


Three take-home assignments (1,125 words each): 15% each
One take-home problem-based assignment (3,375 words each): 45%
Class participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements)


LAW7119 Patents for inventions