Course Information
Introduction and Background

This UNITAR online course on International Intellectual Property Law is a foundation course developed to provide participants with an introduction to increasingly important area of intellectual property law. Intellectual property refers generally to creations of the mind that can be made into tangible objects, such as literary and artistic works, inventions, symbols, names, images and designs. Intellectual property law is the corresponding set of laws that protect the creators of these works. Since intellectual property, or IP, can encompass such a broad range of artistic or scientific creations, it is often divided into two categories: (i) copyright; and (ii) industrial property. Copyright includes literary works, such as novels, scripts, and films, and musical and artistic works, such as paintings, photographs, sculptures and architectural designs. Industrial property rights include patents and trademarks, which are used to protect inventions and source identifying marks and symbols.

In our highly globalized economy, many enterprises are engaging in international commerce on some level. A significant number of companies have foreign subsidiaries or affiliates, and even purely domestic entities can become involved in international transactions in a variety of ways. Often, intellectual property assets will be a component of such international transactions. As globalization increases and national boundaries become more penetrable, there will be a corresponding need for well-developed knowledge regarding international intellectual property law.

Registration Status: OPEN
Deadline for Enrollment: when slots are full
Course Dates: November 8 to December 17, 2010
Estimated learning time: Minimum of 35 hours
Format: Online/Internet-based (asynchronous)
Language of Instruction: English
Fees: US $ 400/-
Helpline: UNITAR Geneva (Course Administration and Technical Questions)
  Course Objectives  

Through this program, participants will:

  • Understand the definition of intellectual property.
  • Understand why international intellectual property law is needed,
  • Understand the differences between copyrights, patents, and trademarks.
  • Understand how intellectual property rights are protected in the international marketplace.
  • Be familiar with the different international treaties applicable to international intellectual property law.
  • Be knowledgeable about the challenges applicable to harmonizing intellectual property worldwide.
  • Have an understanding of various resources that are available for researching issues of international law. 
  Target Audience  

This program endeavors to provide participants with a background in the key issues of international intellectual property law. This foundation course is designed for professionals from all sectors and professions, including: government, public finance, investment, trade, corporate finance, project management, treasury, as well as academic circles and civil society.


  Course Structure / Outline  

Course Structure

This online course will involve a mix of self-study and online interaction culminating in a practical understanding of International Intellectual Property Law through online group work. Throughout the duration of the course, participants will go through theoretical and conceptual material prepared by UNITAR and will have an opportunity to relate it to real-life situations through online discussions and peer-to-peer interaction. There will be a quiz/assignment at the end of the.

Course Outline

This course will comprise of the following modules, each covering a one-week period.

Module 1: Understanding Intellectual Property Law: Module 1 will introduce international intellectual property law. It will examine the important role that intellectual property law plays In the modern economy. It will explore how national differences in the procedural and substantive aspects of intellectual property law can have significant consequences for the treatment of a company's IP assets once such assets are released into the international marketplace.

Module 2: Copyrights: Module 2 will explore fundamentals of copyright protection. Copyright laws tread a careful balance between protecting the property right of a creator and acknowledging that all creative works build on preexisting creative works. Copyright laws offer the makers of creative works both a limited property right in the fruit of their labor and the freedom to borrow from and build upon works in the public domain.

Module 3: Patents: Module will examine how fundamentals of patent law in the international community. From the molecule that binds pharmaceutical products, to the circuitry system that powers the latest electronic devices in our homes, patents are everywhere in the world around us. To encourage ingenuity, national and regional governments offer special protection to the creators of inventions - this protection is called a patent.

Module 4: Trademarks: This Module examines fundamentals of trademark law in the international realm. Trademarks are words, phrases, symbols and/or designs, or a combination of the foregoing, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. Trademark law is not uniform in all countries, and some countries afford less rights to trademark holders than others countries. Some jurisdictions also have different rules and requirements for obtaining trademark protection. There are various treaties and conventions which cover trademark law in the international realm.

  Other Course-related Information
This course will be conducted over the internet using UNITAR's e-Learning infrastructure for a four week period. Participants will require a minimum of 60 minutes of study each day. The course pedagogy will allow for three levels of interaction. At the first level, the participants will interact with the training content and reading material provided. At the second level, the participants will interact with each other through the online discussion board facility, sharing experiences, opinions and views, thereby giving the learning a contextual framework. At the third level, the participants will interact with a seasoned expert on corporate governance who will act as the course mentor. The mentor will not only moderate the course for its entire duration, but also provide feedback and discussion wrap-ups as well as respond to participant queries.

UNITAR online courses create a progressive learning environment in which participants have the flexibility to structure their own learning process and interact with peers and experts through the discussion board facility. UNITAR encourages the participants to network with each other both professionally and amicably, to establish contacts which further promote the dynamic nature of the learning experience.

The online course will be conducted in the English language.


This course is designed as an online course in which participants will be primarily responsible for their own learning. Each lesson will consist of the following components:

1) Basic Reading Materials (Compulsory Reading Materials): these materials are intended to educate the participants about the basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject-matter of the lesson. It will include, where appropriate, sample materials. These materials will constitute the required reading materials for the lesson

2) Advanced Reading Materials (Optional Reading Materials): this will consist of optional reading materials for participants who wish to learn more about the topic than what is covered in the lesson.

3) External Links: This will refer the interested participants to additional books, articles, documents, and websites that deal with the issues raised in the lesson.

4) Glossary: A glossary of terms tailored to the online course will be provided to the participants and act as a learning support during the entire course.

5) Quizzes: At the end of each lesson there will be a set of quizzes for participants to answer. These quizzes are designed to test the participant's understanding of the lesson. Participants are required to pass each quiz and obtain at least 80% or more passing grade in order to be eligible for a certificate. All quizzes will need to be taken online.

6) Community Discussion Board: There will be a community discussion board available on which participants can post questions or comments that can be seen by the instructor and the other participants. This discussion board will be moderated by the course director and UNITAR. Structured discussion strings will be posted on a weekly basis.

All successful participants will be eligible to a certificate after completion of this online course.


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