WIPO-UNISA Intellectual Property Specialization Program

The Intellectual Property Law Specialization Program offered jointly by the WIPO Academy and the University of South Africa (UNISA) is designed for academics and professionals who already have knowledge about intellectual property (IP) or possess practical experience in IP and wish to strengthen and expand their future role in this field.


The modules focus on the special circumstances prevailing in developing countries and approach the subject-matter against the background of international conventions. Participants are expected to examine the law of their own countries to determine how some obligations provided in some treaties on IP could be discharged. The modules of the program are taught using traditional correspondence-based distance teaching methods, as well as using the Internet.

To qualify for the certificate, participants must take eight modules out of the nine that are listed below:

  • Collective Management of Copyright; Performers’ Rights
  • Essential Copyright Law
  • Essential Competition Law
  • Essential Industrial Design Law
  • Essential Patent Law
  • Essential Trademark Law
  • Internet Aspects of Copyright & Trademarks
  • Legal Aspects of Electronic Commerce
  • Traditional Knowledge & Biodiversity

Once admitted, participants receive a study package consisting of tutorial matter in the form of work books, and tutorial letters, and extracts from cases and any other relevant materials. For each module, participants must submit a mid-term written assignment for evaluation.


Admission to the program is subject to UNISA’s requirements for admission to degree studies. Basically, applicants should qualify for admission to a university or a degree program in the country of which they are a citizen, or where they reside permanently. These qualifications include, for example, full matriculation exemption, high school diploma, A-levels, HIGCSE or IGCSE plus a minimum age requirement.


Each academic year, the WIPO Academy avails a limited number of scholarships for students.

To qualify for a scholarship, applicants must satisfy the academic requirements listed above by UNISA, and must fill in the application form PDF, WIPO/UNISA Intellectual Property Law Specialization Program, application form, duly signing the commitment form, for WIPO financial assistance (scholarship). To that aim, the following documentation should be submitted to the WIPO Academy:

  • Copies of diplomas or degrees and additional academic qualifications;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • An essay stating the applicant’s motivation and reasons for wanting to enroll in this program as well as the need for financial assistance; and
  • A letter of recommendation from someone fully acquainted with the applicant’s academic and professional career.

Please note that an endorsement letter from the applicant’s employer may be requested in special circumstances.

Final Exam and Certificate

Final examination papers are sent to participants at their place of residence via fax or email. Participants should submit their written answers within 24 hours.

Upon satisfactory completion of the course, students receive a Certification in Intellectual Property Specialization, jointly awarded by WIPO and UNISA.

Course basics

  • Duration - 14 weeks per module. Registering to more than two modules per semester is discouraged.
  • Language - English
  • Tuition fees - ZAR 1200.00 per module payable in full on registration.
  • Application form PDF, WIPO/UNISA Intellectual Property Law Specialization Program, application form