JJUA55247U Legal and Policy Implications of Innovation on Society

Volume 2020/2021

Scientific and technological innovations often bring about issues that challenge laws that were created at a time that could not anticipate concerns arising from technological advances. By examining current real world case studies across diverse technological fields, this course will examine the various legal issues that relate to science and technology and how they affect and shape policy decisions. Topics will include: (a) how intellectual property law and open science policy affects innovation; (b) how the market affects innovation through competition law and economic policy; (c) how the law addresses and responds to problems created by technological advances in areas such as biomedical research, digital technology, artificial intelligence, and social media; (d) how to reconcile current data policies with big data; and (e) how competing legal and policy frameworks affect the development and dissemination of innovations. This will provide the foundation for discussions relating to the challenges and applicability of traditional legal concepts to ‘new’ technologies as a tool for shaping public policy.


The main topics of the course will include:


Introduction: Interdisciplinary considerations of Innovation
To the benefit of individuals and society, innovations and technologies have the abilityto improve quality of life, increase productivity, and just make life easier and more fun. However, scientific and technological capabilities are only one of several considerations associated with developing and introducing new innovations to society. The first part of the course will introduce the topic of interdisciplinary considerations of innovations and the various different legal frameworks and disciplines that affect innovation.


Innovation Policy Framework
Many countries have identified research and innovation as key strategic pillars to creating sustainable growth and prosperity. These sessions will examine various innovation models, policies, and initiatives and how, for example, the EU proposes to achieve the desired objectives. This will provide an introduction to public private partnerships and the need for an incentive structure to facilitate collaboration within an innovation ecosystem.


From Discovery to Innovation: Translation and Commercialization
Basic research, as the basis for innovation, needs to be transformed into successful marketable products and services in order to create positive social and economic impact. These sessions will build on discussions relating to the innovation process and introduce the challenges associated with translating accumulated knowledge into commercializable innovative products and services.


Intellectual Property vs Open Innovation and Open Science
These sessions will focus on the apparent conflict between the exclusivity of
intellectual property protection versus policies that embrace open access and free exchange of scientific information to foster scientific progress and speed up innovation. As there are many players involved in facilitating the market success of an innovation, the effective use of intellectual property will play an important role in incentivizing collaboration and enhancing competitiveness for participants in the innovation ecosystem. On the other hand, intellectual property protection creates barriers to available knowledge that can be used to facilitate the development of new innovations.


Public Policy and the Law
Beneficial new technologies can come in innocuous forms and there will be those who will find devious ways to use the technology for dubious purposes. These sessions will focus on the role of law and policy to create limits and regulations as a means to strike a delicate balance between allowing the public to enjoy the benefits of innovations while protecting it from the unintended negative uses of the same technology. Specific attention will be devoted to the following areas of technology: biomedical Innovations;
internet and social media; privacy and data protection; artificial intelligence and automation; green technology and alternative energy; and major city initiatives.


Competition Law and Innovation
Collaboration between participants in the innovation ecosystem, such as public private partnership, potentially invites the scrutiny of competition or antitrust law to prohibit anticompetitive agreements between parties. These sessions will focus on the intersection between intellectual property law and competition law in the context of innovation, particularly with respect to the boundary between the legitimate assertion of intellectual property rights and abuse in the eyes of competition law


Law and Economics of Innovation
Because competition law regulates economic activities related to innovation and intellectual property law incentivizes the innovation process by protecting commercial interests, innovation clearly lends itself to economic analysis to explain, describe, and better understand the dynamics of the innovation process. These sessions will build on previous discussions and incorporate an economics perspective to complement traditional legal analysis of competition law, having regard to the different policy aims of each framework

Innovation and Socio-economic Development
The underlying assumption that implicitly drives most innovation policies is that increased innovation will lead to socio-economic development, growth, and prosperity. These sessions will focus on how policies can help regions capture and retain the socio-economic benefits of locally created innovations.


Law and Innovation: Proactive or Reactive?
Legitimacy of the law depends both on the consistency and coherence of legal
concepts and on its responsiveness to the social context in which it operates. By way of conclusion, these sessions will focus on critically analyzing and debating the role of the law in the innovation context.

Learning Outcome

This course will help students’ develop and acquire the following skills:

  • Use critical thinking skills to understand the ways in which law, economics, and public policy shape the advancements in technology and innovation
  • Develop a deeper understanding and critically reflect on the interdisciplinary relationship between legal protection, public welfare, private interests, economic realities and political considerations in the context of technology and innovation
  • Evaluate and explain the role and impact of various legal disciplines on the innovation process
  • Understand the interests and motivations of different stakeholders involved in the innovation ecosystem
  • Demonstrate an ability to identify and apply different legal principles and policy considerations to different types of innovations
  • Engage in critical analysis and balanced debate on the role of law and the pace of innovation
  • Develop and articulate clear, coherent, and professional oral and written communication and argumentation skills related to the topic in preparation for working with and in the public or private sector
  • Enable students to carry out independent research on the relationship between law, policy, and innovation
  • Foster interest in the topic as a way to introduce and prepare students for further research and study on related topics

Recent cases, articles, policy documents, and other relevant material selected and made available (approximlately 350 pages)

Bachelor course on Introduction to Intellectual Property Law and Innovation or
Group presentation of case study
A case study will be assigned at the end of each class to a group of students relating to
the most recent lecture. Analysis of the case study rwill be presented at the beginning
of the following class as way to (i) review concepts from previous class and (ii) use
modern and relevant examples that students can relate to explain and demonstrate
how legal principles discussed in class are applied. This activity intended to hone
student’s oratory and group work skills.

Take-home written assignment
Students will choose a topic of their choice and write a synopsis as part of their final
examination. This activity is intended to hone students written and critical thinking
skills under minimum pressure.

Class discussion/​simulations/​debates
Engage class in discussion on topical and contemporary issues relating to
technologies and innovations that give rise to competiing interests, particularly
between stakeholders involved in a collaborative innovation process. Conduct debates
on legal and policy implications of controversial technologies. This activity is intended
to encourage students to think critically on their feet in a group situation.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 178,25
  • Seminar
  • 28
  • Total
  • 206,25
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min.
Oral exam based on a synopsis, 20 minutes
Exam registration requirements

In order to attend the oral examination, it is a prerequisite to hand in the synopsis before the specified deadline. The deadline is agreed upon with the course lecturer.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

week 43, 2020


week 4, 2021 - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday