Intellectual Property Law

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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property law has in recent years developed at an explosive pace and has become the focus of great public interest. Intellectual property rights embrace various private property rights, and deals with exclusive rights to literary and artistic works, scientific and technological works and products, industrial designs, trade marks and other signs, and a number of related issues. Intellectual property works are protected by statute under a number of separate, so called ‘exclusive rights statutes’, such as the Act on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works, the Patents Act, the Registered Designs Act, the Business Names Act and the Trademarks Act. Intellectual property law can also be said to protect against disloyal or unfair competition. In the latter case an exclusive right is not involved, but rather protection in an individual case, under the provisions of the Marketing Practices Act.

Intellectual property rights are highly relevant in the most intimate spheres of our lives today. Modern technology, as represented by computers and global digital networks, has made issues such as copyright, trademarks and patens highly personal concerns of every man and woman. Is it lawful or unlawful to download from cyberspace, or why should one not copy a computer program? Is a patent on genes equivalent to a patent on life? How shall a patent on prescription drugs be handled in the context of developing countries versus industrial countries? Must feta cheese necessarily come from Greece?

Intellectual property law has always been internationally oriented, with legal protection provided across national borders by numerous international conventions of nearly universal scope. Modern technology, and especially the Internet, has entailed, however, that the global dimension has seen ever greater change. In a knowledge-intensive information society intellectual property has gained a very high economic value, and if properly fashioned, intellectual property rights can greatly promote innovation. Intellectual property rights play therefore an important role in international trade and economics. This field of law is particularly exciting for young, active and curious researchers, which is why intellectual property law is a highly ranked research subject in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. Hardly any other field  has attracted so many young, talented and inquisitive jurists recently. One reason for this is that intellectual property law constantly challenges one to respond to novel, unsolved problems and to tackle many interesting questions in neighbouring areas such as issues as freedom of information, cultural autonomy, global equality and sustainable development, to name just a few.

Maintaining the balance between exclusive rights and free competition, and between private and public interests is always a highly relevant issue in intellectual property law. This is the case not least because the factors affecting this balance are constantly changing due to new technical prerequisites and scientific breakthroughs. Too much focus on private interests reduces the  creativity of others, whereas too much focus on public interests reduces the  inspiration and incentive to make creative contributions to society. It is problems such as these that are considered in the current intellectual property law research projects. Whether it is a question of fashioning intellectual property right in the form of individual signs, data bases, computer programs, literary or artistic works, industrial designs, bio-technical or other inventions, or whether matter concerns developing effective consumer protection, the proper balance must always be maintained. How this is to be done, is another question. The question is how. 


Pernilla Leviner
Director of Doctoral Studies
Phone: 08-16 32 89

Teresa Simon Almendal
Vice Dean / Chairman of the Research Committee
Phone: 08-16 23 67

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