Intellectual Property in a Digital Economy

4 ECTS / 24h / English

Intellectual property law is an increasingly important and vast field of law where international, regional and national rules coexist with the aim to provide incentives and rewards to human creativity and technological innovation, thus protecting investments, fair competition, and goodwill in trade-related activities. This area of law, which has traditionally encompassed copyright, trademarks, and patents, has grown exponentially in the last few decades by extending its scope to protection of assets such as software, databases, industrial designs and biotechnologies. The seminar examines the social and economic justifications for intellectual property rights as well as their multi-layered regulation, placing special emphasis on aspects that are relevant in today’s digital economy.

Classes will draw upon a selection of domestic intellectual property regimes to show the impact of international and European law on EU Member States and to critically evaluate some of the policies and goals that underlie today’s intellectual property system. The idea of multi-level regulation of patent, trademark and copyright laws goes back to the end of the 19th century. However, a genuinely global legal framework emerged only through the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the related adoption of an international agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (known as the ‘TRIPS’ Agreement) in 1994. The seminar provides an analysis of the most important provisions of this Agreement and of other international intellectual property conventions as well as EU regulations and directives that harmonized (or in certain cases even unified, as in the case of trademarks and designs) national legal systems.


Giuseppe Mazziotti is the Abreu Professor in Law and Innovation at Católica Global School of Law and the Centre on the Future of Law at Universidade Católica…