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Academia

The emergence of intellectual property as an academic subject in Britain is a relatively recent phenomenon. The decisive moment for its incorporation in the legal curriculum came when it was introduced in the late 1960s as a postgraduate option in the intercollegiate LLM programme of the University of London. The course was taught by Prof William R (‘Bill’) Cornish after a previous attempt to run the subject as an option at the LSE failed to attract students. While Cornish’s course was obviously not the first time when copyright, patents and trade marks were taught, it was however the one that most resembles contemporary courses and approaches the discipline, binding together the different branches of the law. What made Cornish’s course different and significant was also that it was introduced at the right moment, just when a variety of interests around the subject came together. Surely, there was another factor that contributed to the definitive establishment of the subject: the publication of Cornish’s textbook in 1981.