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Intellectual property on the internet


This important course investigates the relationship between intellectual property and the internet. What does intellectual property consist of on the internet? The internet has changed almost everything, and intellectual property law constitutes one of the most important aspects of its transformation. Old models are broken, no longer fitting how the world has changed and we’re not altogether sure with what to replace them. One of the key issues is whether we rewrite laws afresh or seek to modify traditional concepts to better meet the needs of our internet society. These key issues and their implications, along with the agencies that play significant roles in relation to ‘internet governance’ are explored in detail in this course.

Module A: Digital copyright


  • Introduction to digital copyright
  • Copyright Directive and Digital Millennium Copyright Act
  • Emerging copyright issues
  • Licensing and rights management in the digital arena

Module B: Trade marks and other rights in distinctive signs online


  • Introduction to trade marks
  • Developments in use of trade marks online
  • Principle of territoriality and use of trade marks online
  • Unfair competition

Module C: Domain names


  • Introduction to the mechanics of the domain name system
  • Cybersquatting
  • Recent developments concerning domain names and intellectual property
  • Dispute resolution

Module D: Computer-related patents


  • Business methods patents
  • Software patents
  • Prior art effect
  • Enforcement of rights


Each module is assessed by a 45-minute unseen written exam.


The modules can be attempted in any order.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Commercial and Corporate Law
  • Common Law
  • Computer and Communications Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Business Law
  • International Intellectual Property Law
  • Media Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Study Material

Academic Co-ordinator

Professor Ian Lloyd

Professor Ian Lloyd

Professor Ian Lloyd is Senior Research Fellow within Southampton Law School at the University of Southampton.

Ian has worked in the field of Information technology law for around 30 years. He has published a range of books including Information Technology Law (6th edition) with Oxford University Press and has recently completed the manuscript of a book on Telecommunications Law, published by Sweet and Maxwell in 2013. I am a general editor of the International Journal of Law and IT and a reviewer for the Computer law and Security review.