I am currently studying at Hong Kong University in the LLM program Information Technology and Intellectual Property Law, and the purpose of this article is to provide you with some recommendations about which Master’s 1 courses to choose.
For my third year in the Grande Ecole du Droit, I had to select two Master’s 1 courses, and with no surprise I chose the Intellectual Property Law class! My other choice was Private International Law for the first semester, but I invite you to read the interesting article about this class written by Maxime Claude Nersès FRANCOIS, and I will only focus on the Intellectual Property Law course.
Choosing Intellectual Property was a logical decision for me because I already knew which LLM program I wanted to do. However, it is not the case for everyone and the choice could be difficult. I hope this article will give you sufficient advice to make an informed decision when it will be your turn to choose a course.
First of all, for the first class, the professor will probably explain that Intellectual Property is a general expression and it actually includes many areas. This areas are divided in two categories, the Propriété Littéraire et Artistique (the equivalent of Copyright and Related Rights) and the Industrial Property. During the semester the Droit d’Auteur (Copyright) and Droits Voisins (Related Rights), which formed the Propriété Littéraire et Artistique, will be covered in the first place. Then the Industrial Property will be addressed, however, because of the limited time available for the class, only the main areas will be covered, that is to say the Droit des Brevets (Patents), Droit des Marques (Trademarks) and the Droit des Dessins et Modèles (Design Rights).
The outline of the class will probably be structured as follow:
The focus of the class will be on Droit d’Auteur (Copyright), to sum up it is the exclusive rights given to an author over his original work (oeuvre). The professor will go through the grant of protection for the work, the content of that protection (patrimonial rights and moral rights), the way the author’s rights are implemented and the remedies he has to defend his rights.
Then the related rights will be covered. It includes the performers’ rights in their performances, the phonogram and videogram producers’ rights in their phonograms and videograms, and the broadcasting companies’ rights in their broadcasts.
The other part of the class will address the industrial property rights, the requirements to get a patent protection and the rights that it implies, and similarly for the trademarks and design rights.
In my opinion, taking this class is interesting because it gives you a great overview of intellectual property rights that are present in many areas (cinema, art, music, science, trade, etc.). Moreover, this course highlights the differences between intellectual property law and civil and property law. For instance there is no moral right in property law whereas moral right is really important in French Intellectual Property Law (some countries do not have such right for the author of an original work).
To conclude, I think that if you want to work in the Business World, you can consider to specialize in intellectual property law because intellectual property rights are valuable assets and companies know that. The often given example is the takeover of Motorola by Google for 12.5 billion $, Google acquired many patents owned by Motorola, then Google sold Motorola to Lenovo for 2.9 billion $ because Google retained most of the patents and only gave a license to Lenovo. Another example, related to what I am studying at the moment, is the importance of trademark for any businesses to distinguish their goods and services. Indeed, lot of companies lost a great potential market in China because they did not register their mark in China and their marks have been copied by local business.
I hope this article has been helpful to you!
By Gaelle Benoist