SCIENT 704 : Law and Intellectual Property


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An explanation of the legal system including basic concepts of contract and corporate law in a biotechnology context. Emphasis will be upon intellectual property laws in particular patent law and practice and other means of protecting new ideas, discoveries and inventions. Also covered will be technology licensing and basic competition and marketing law.

Course Overview

A detailed description of the course by way of a Lecture Schedule, including advance reading will be put up on Canvas.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the NZ legal system and some key areas of commercial law. (Capability 1)
  2. Identify, evaluate and apply important legal principles and concepts that relate to the creation, exploitation and enforcement of key intellectual property law rights (IP) to factual scenarios in the biotechnology context. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Identify and evaluate related IP issues and strategies that impact upon the commercialisation of biotechnology. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Demonstrate effective written communication skills. (Capability 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 70% Individual Examination
Essay 30% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam

The will be a two hour examination worth 70% of your final grade.  It will be open book.

There will be a written essay to be completed and handed in at the SBS Administration Office no later than 4 pm on 14 May 2020. Please ensure there is an SBS cover sheet and the word count is noted on the cover.  There is a word limit of 3000 words including footnotes. The essay will be worth 30% of your final grade.

All grading will be in accordance with the SBS guidelines.  

The Research Essay Topic will be put on Canvas

Learning Resources

You will each be provided with a copy of the Biosphere Guide which is an intellectual property guide for the life sciences in New Zealand produced jointly by the New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.  Once the general introduction to the law portion of the course has been completed the Biosphere Guide will be a useful resource.  You will be expected to read relevant portions or chapters of this Guide in advance of each lecture.   

You will also be provided with a Course Booklet that will include slides and useful notes. Guest lecturers will supply slides and hand these out.

For the general legal introductory portion of the course, the following book is recommended (there are 5 day loan copies and 2 hour loan copies at the Davis Law Library):  J Hubbard, C Thomas and S Varnham Principles of Law for New Zealand Business Students (5th ed, Pearson, Auckland. 2013) KL28 HUB 2013 (though an earlier edition will do) available at UBS.  

For Intellectual Property you are recommended to buy Paul Sumpter Intellectual Property in New Zealand: a User’s Guide (Auckland University Press, $30 approx).

For more detailed text refer to Paul Sumpter Principles in Practice (CCH, Auckland, 3rd ed. 2017) KN111 L1 SUM, and Patent Law and Policy, Frankel and Lai (LexisNexis, 2016).

For wider research, students should feel free to visit the Davis Law Library, both in person and/or via  The law librarians will be most willing to help you find your way around and locate suitable materials.

Special Requirements

There are no "special requirements".

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

Other Information

The course director is Paul Sumpter whose email address is
There will be guest lecturers who are practising patent attorneys and they will provide more expertise on biotechnology patent matters.
The course will be taught on Monday and Wednesday evenings between 5pm and 6.30pm.
The venue is the Law School, Building 801, level 3, 9 Eden Crescent, Algie Lecture Theatre, room 801-209.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 26/02/2020 10:09 a.m.