Intellectual Property Rights


About this course

This course is about the operation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and their roles in research and innovation, notably in the fields of genetics, food and agriculture. Intellectual property rights are increasingly important in society. They are an important tool in innovation policies and have more recently become a major issue in trade and development policies. In the past few decades intellectual property rights have been connected to globalization and the emergence of globally operating industries.
Intellectual property rights have also become an important issue in the life sciences themselves. Patent databases are an important source of information next to the scientific literature; patents are equivalent to a high level publication in the career of public sector scientists; and for universities intellectual property protection is increasingly important for generating revenue and as a strategic tool for partnerships. On the other hand, the increasing number of patents in the life sciences requires careful scrutiny by scientists of what research materials are available and under what conditions. Together with national and international regulations governing access to genetic resources, it can be difficult to get access to knowledge, technologies and genetic material for those working in the food and agriculture industries.
Lecturers from different disciplines will discuss the legal, technical and socio-economic aspects of various Intellectual Property Rights, including patents, copyrights, plant breeder's rights, trademarks and geographical indications. The course will bring together students from the social and life sciences as both have an interest in understanding the mechanics of intellectual property rights in their work and society at large.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Analyse intellectual property rights in the food and agro industries, and the (inter)national laws that govern them
  • Understand how intellectual property rights and access and benefit-sharing regulations impact the work of scientists and entrepreneurs
  • Perform a patent search
  • Discuss the impact of intellectual property rights on innovation systems in industrialized and in developing countries
  • Compose a research paper in the context of Intellectual Property Rights

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    6 January 2025

    • Ends
      31 January 2025
    • Term *
      Period 3
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 24 Nov 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University