LAW4655 - Comparative issues in patent 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.




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.

Not offered in 2017


This unit will examine from an international and comparative perspective the most fundamental questions in patent law: why do we provide a twenty year monopoly protection for inventions in the form of a patent what subject matter should patent law protect? It will consider the obligations that relevant international treaties and conventions impose on member states in the design of their patent laws. Within the context of this international structure, it will immerse students in understanding and critically analyzing the rationales for patent protection; the relationship between patents and protection of trade secrets; the approaches taken to patentable subject matter by Canada, the US, the UK and Australia. In particular, it will focus on the challenges posed to patent law by new and emerging technologies in such areas as higher life forms, methods of medical and surgical treatment and genetic materials. The unit may also consider other topical issues such as employee inventions and standards of novelty and inventiveness. No technical background is 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;
  2. Investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to the evolving principles and themes embodied in that jurisprudence and literature;
  3. Conduct research into the application and meaning of issues in patent law, based on knowledge of appropriate research principles and methods; and
  4. Use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts to novel aspects of patentability.


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%

One assignment (500 words): 10%

Research assignment (4,000 words) 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