LAW4535 - International and comparative trade mark law - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Not offered in 2017


This unit will provide an overview of the obligations under international law to provide protection to trade marks and a comparison of selected, key aspects of trade mark protection in Australia, the United States and the EU. Consequently, in relation to international law, it will examine the trade mark aspects of the TRIPS agreement (including consideration of geographical indications) and the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy of ICANN relating to domain names. To a lesser extent, deal with the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Madrid Protocol relating to multiple filings of trade mark applications. Selected, key aspects of comparison will include issues such as jurisdiction specific approaches to ownership, the requirements for registrability of trade marks such as shape trade marks and the different approaches to infringement, including dilution of trade marks and parallel importing. Other topics may include the registration and control of domain names. It is likely that, in light of Australian legislation and WTO challenges, the unit will also critically examine the arguments of the tobacco industry that international trade mark obligations prevent the implementation of plain packaging of cigarettes.


Students will be able to

  1. Describe and identify key obligations in respect of international law to protect trademarks and geographical indications.
  2. Comprehend and interpret those obligations.
  3. Recognise and differentiate the means by which obligations are transposed into domestic law in different jurisdictions such as Australia, the US and the EU.
  4. Demonstrate intellectual and practical skills needed to form legal conclusions such as the eligibility for registration of particular trademarks.
  5. Apply legal reasoning to identify similarities and differences in response to similar and significant legal scenarios concerning trademarks in the relevant jurisdictions
  6. Critically analyse and interpret the potential clash between regulation of trademarks and trademarked products on the one hand and the property interests of trademark owners as set out in international treaties.


Attendance requirement: Students who fail to attend at least 80% of the classes in this unit (ie who miss 3 or more classes) will receive a result of 0 N for the unit. Students who are unable to meet this requirement due to severe illness or other exceptional circumstances must make an application for in-semester special consideration with supporting documentation.

Class participation: 10%; Written paper outlining class presentation (500 words): 10%; Take home exam: 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; LAW2111