Faculty of Law

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedNot offered in 2015
Coordinator(s)Mr Wissam Aoun

Quota applies

The number of places available for a unit taught in Prato is strictly limited to 45. This is the maximum room capacity at the Prato Centre.


This course examines patentable subject matter across Canada, the US, the UK and Australia. It examines the most fundamental question in patent law: namely, what is an 'invention'? In other words, is this the type of "stuff" that patent law should protect with a twenty (20) year monopoly? Indeed, the meaning of "invention" is far from a doctrinal topic "bedevilled by verbal formulae" and "sterile argument about the meaning of words". For, "whoever controls the meaning of 'invention' controls what can be patented and hence an important aspect of industrial policy." This course will therefore cover novel aspects of patentability: from software and business methods to higher life forms (including even half-monkey half-human chimeras). No technical background required or expected, nor is any previous work in patent law needed.


On completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  1. Apply knowledge and understanding to the existing body of jurisprudence and major academic writings in the area of patentable subject matter with creativity and initiative to new situations for further learning;

  1. Investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to the evolving principles and themes embodied in that jurisprudence and literature;

  1. Conduct research into the application and meaning of issues in patent law, based on knowledge of appropriate research principles and methods;

  1. Use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts to novel aspects of patentability.


Seminar participation: 10%
Seminar presentation and/or group assignment:10%
Final written assignment of 4,000 words maximum (take-home): 80%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later:
LAW1111; LAW1114; LAW1112; LAW1113; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW2112 and LAW2111

For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015: LAW1100 OR LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104 or equivalent


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later: LAW3111 and LAW3112