nl en

IP Law in Science


Admission requirements

Students of Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences, Life Science & Technology, Chemistry and PhD students.


Intellectual Property (IP) Rights are increasingly important in today’s fast-moving, hyper-connected world. Awareness of the different types of IP is of vital importance, not only for large companies and startups, but also for university researchers and even individuals. Knowing what Intellectual Property is, who owns it, how to protect it, how to trade it, and how to enforce IP Rights is essential to ensure freedom of operation and keep imitators at bay. In addition to the fundamentals of IP Rights, IP Law and IP Policy are central topics of this course.

Whenever you create something, whether it is an invention, a book, a song, a painting of even a website, chances are that you will have to deal with Intellectual Property and the Rights that are associated with it. There are two sides of the medal: the IP Rights that you own and may have to enforce, and the IP Rights that are not yours and that you will have to deal with.

This course is intended for entrepreneurial engineers in every discipline, whether it be the hard sciences (quantum computing or nanobiology) or the more creative sciences (architecture of industrial design), especially when it concerns innovative products, processes, services and design. Given the increasing demands placed by society on companies and universities to innovate and improve life and society at large, IP rights have become synonymous with successful innovation and startups. Intellectual property rights also play a key role in today’s scientific community. Understanding how the legal framework affects both the science and the companies in the business of creating high-tech and innovative solutions for today’s problems, is of paramount importance.

In this course you will become familiar with the basics of European IP law and the most common types of IP law (including the requirements to obtain these rights). You will explore the process by which patents are granted, how patent rights can be exercised in court and how they can be used as a business tool. Modern-day IPR issues such as the patentability of computer-implemented inventions and biotech inventions will be addressed. Additionally, software protection (including open source) works and the related issues will be discussed. The topics will be presented on the basis of real-life cases. During the course, participants will analyze and present a case in which a university spin-off is confronted with a multitude of IP issues.

Course objectives

  • Get to know the basics of European IP Law.

  • Understand the common types of IP law.

  • Understand the requirements to obtain IPR.

  • Understand the process of granting patents.

  • Understand how to exercise patent rights in court.

  • Understand how to use patent rights as a business modeling tool.

  • Understand patent rights in different industries.


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, tutorials, self-tuition.

Assessment method

The course will be concluded with a group assignment and exam. Both parts will make up 50% of the final grade for the course.

The final grade is expressed using an integer between 1 and 10 and can be rounded off/up to a half integer, with the exception of the grade 5.5. Final grades between 5.50 and 5.99 will be rounded up to 6.0. The final grade should be 6.0 to successfully complete this course.

Reading list

Will be announced during the course.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Coordinator: Dr. L. Hartmann (


A minimum of 15 participants and a maximum of 30 participants applies to this course.

Registration for the exam closes 7 days before the exam of Lab Safety.

Please note that the first part of the course will be taught at Delft University of Applied Sciences and the second part at Leiden University.

This information is without prejudice. Alterations can be made for next year.