Understanding Intellectual Property

Course leader: Dr Agnieszka Maria Zielińska

Home Institution: AGH – University of Science and Technology, Poland


Course pre- requisite(s): None

Course Overview

The course is a study of intellectual property law and policy. First, it will introduce to the concept of copyright and related rights, problems of copyright in the Knowledge Economy, explore the boundaries of copyright protection and how copyright law relates to other intellectual property laws. Next, the course will introduce to industrial property law, concerning trade marks, geographical indications, industrial designs, inventions, utility models. The important part of the course will be exploring practical problems and legal aspects of protection of trade secrets and combating unfair competition. The protection of intellectual property and question of unfair competition will be viewed from the perspective of European Union law (e.g. Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, Directive 2009/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the legal protection of computer programs, Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure) and international conventions. Through lectures, case studies and interactive working groups, participants will gain an understanding of what intellectual property is and what the rules for its protection are.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students should have the ability to analyse complex problems and communicate effectively in a variety of settings.

Course Content

Introduction to IP law
Protection of computer programs
Trade secrets, know-how
Unfair competition
Trademarks, EU trademark
Geographical Indications
Industrial designs
Inventions and utility models

Instructional Method

1) Lectures
2) Case studies
3) Group projects
4) Interactive working groups

Required Course Materials



Students will be assessed on their knowledge of the EU IP law and legal doctrine as well as on the development of legal analysis, legal communication, and ability to solve problems.