LAW40280 Trade Mark Law

Academic Year 2023/2024

The module is concerned with trade mark law. The module will focus in particular on the development and operation of statutory systems of registration and infringement of trade marks. It will also consider functional theories of trade mark law; the expansion of passing off and the development of unfair competition law; international aspects of trade mark law; reform of European trade mark law.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the module, students should be able to:
- explain the functional theories of trade mark law
- discuss recent developments in trade mark law
- explain the role of the common law action in passing off
- discuss the concept of unfair competition law
- recognise the relevant issues of trade mark law in a concrete factual situation
- apply the laws laid down in the EU Trade Mark Regulation and the Irish Trade Marks Act 1996
- identify the rationale behind individual rules of trade mark law
- carry out independent original research in the field
- identify a wide range of primary and secondary specialist resources

Indicative Module Content:

This module will explore the registrability and infringement criteria laid down in the EU Trade Marks Directive (as transposed by the Irish Trade Marks Act 1996) and the EU Trade Mark Regulation. It will examine the potential for registration of non-traditional marks (sounds, smells, shapes, colours etc) and the expansion of protection of trade marks to include actions for dilution, tarnishment and free riding. Contemporary concerns associated with unauthorised trade mark usage on the internet, in comparative advertising and on parallel imports will be discussed in detail. Students will also engage with the practicalities of trade mark litigation (and the remedial options open to successful litigants) as well as with the parallel common law protections in passing off. European and common law protections will be considered against the backdrop of wider international developments.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module is taught by way of a face-to-face interactive seminar. Teaching and learning methods include active/task-based learning; lectures; critical writing; reflective learning; enquiry and problem-based learning; debates; case-based learning. Students are assigned reading in advance of the class and are expected to come to class prepared to discuss what they have read. Classes are not recorded, nor are they live-streamed. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Admission to this module is restricted to those students registered to the LLM (Commercial Law), LLM (IP and IT) and MCL Year 2 unless the module co-ordinator decides otherwise.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Assignment, primarily problem-based (4,000 words) Week 12 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Class attendance and participation in class discussion (based on assigned reading) and class activities. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive generalised feedback (via Brightspace) on their assignment. Students will be given an opportunity for further (individual) feedback on their assignment following the release of generalised group feedback. Students will also receive informal feedback during the in-class discussions.