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2020/21 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5692M Contemporary Issues in Intellectual Property: Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Professor Graham Dutfield
Email: G.M.Dutfield@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: 1 Apr to 31 Aug View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module aims to provide students with a thorough grounding in what is now one of the most controversial and hotly debated areas of international intellectual property law. Developing countries are often rich in biodiversity and forms of local knowledge which cannot easily be protected under intellectual property laws, while businesses in the developed countries are able to acquire property rights over 'improved' genetic resources and applied traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. This module will investigate the controversy, present the relevant international agreements, evaluate some of the proposed solutions under consideration, and discuss cases of 'biopiracy' in which resources and traditional knowledge are alleged to be stolen by corporations.

Objectives

This module aims to provide students with a thorough grounding in what is now one of the most controversial and hotly debated areas of international intellectual property law. Developing countries are often rich in biodiversity and forms of local knowledge which cannot easily be protected under intellectual property laws, while businesses in the developed countries are able to acquire property rights over 'improved' genetic resources and applied traditional knowledge and cultural expressions.

This Module will investigate the controversy, present the relevant international agreements including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, evaluate some of the proposed solutions under consideration, and discuss cases of so-called 'biopiracy' in which resources and traditional knowledge are alleged to be stolen by transnational corporations.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students will:
- be familiar with the literature and the international law and policy developments relating to the field of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions;
- be able to assess the reasons informing and the implications of the growing interest among governments in seeking protection for traditional knowledge and cultural expressions;
- be able to appreciate the theoretical and policy context (particularly with regard to notions of globalisation) underpinning many of the relevant debates;
- be capable of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to the protection of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions and the prevention of so-called 'biopiracy';
- have developed the ability to research, analyse and communicate in an informed and critical way theoretical accounts and empirical case studies;
- be able to relate the issues in the literature to their understanding of these issues and developments within their own and a variety of other countries.

Skills outcomes
The student will:
- develop an understanding of how to study genetic resources, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions;
- be cognisant of the critical issues relating to genetic resources, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions;
- be able to organise their research endeavours productively;
- be able to write cogently on the subject.


Syllabus

The course will cover the following subjects:
- Intellectual property and plant genetic resources in international law
- The Convention on Biological Diversity
- Bioprospecting and biopiracy: case studies
- Traditional knowledge and cultural expressions
- International, regional and national activities relating to intellectual property, genetic resources and traditional knowledge.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Seminar11.001.00
Seminar72.0014.00
Private study hours135.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

75 hours - 15 hours reading and preparation for each seminar.
60 hours - preparation for writing essay.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Attendance will be monitored to provide early warning of possible extra-curricular problems that may be inhibiting progress.
- The lecturer will strive to ensure active and equitable participation by all who follow the course.
- The assessed essays will provide an objective measure of student progress and performance.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 09:50:06

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