School of Law

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Estelle Derclaye

Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Faculty of Social Sciences



Estelle Derclaye holds degrees in law from the University of Liège (Licence en droit; Diplome d'Etudes Specialisées en droit), The George Washington University (LLM) and London (PhD). She was awarded a Fulbright grant as well as Rotary and Baker & McKenzie scholarships to study for her LLM in the USA. She joined the University of Nottingham as a lecturer in 2006, became Associate Professor and Reader in Intellectual Property Law in 2009 and Professor of Intellectual Property Law in 2012. Before joining Nottingham, she practiced intellectual property in an international law firm in Brussels and prior to that, she was a lecturer at the Universities of Leicester and London (Queen Mary). Thanks to several Max-Planck Institute bursaries, she spent time at the Max-Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law (Munich) in 2002 and 2004 to work on her PhD.

Professor Derclaye's main interest is intellectual property law, in particular copyright and designs law, IP overlaps and IP and well-being. From 2008 to 2010, she was a member of the Copyright Expert Panel of the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy, which advised the UK Intellectual Property Office. In 2014, she was appointed as a member of the unregistered rights expert advisory group advising the UK Intellectual Property Office. She is a member of the European Copyright Society, a group of European academics aiming to influence policy-making and its president elect (2021-2022). She is also a member of the University of Nottingham's Commercial Law Centre.

Professor Derclaye was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley (2010) and at the University of Melbourne (2013) and a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore (2015). In 2012, as part of the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy (CREATe), she was awarded funding (£61,024) to hire researchers to carry out research on copyright and open academic publishing (see literature review and PhD thesis pending on copyright) and held a stakeholders' workshop.

Professor Derclaye regularly gives lectures on copyright and design law in other law schools abroad. She has done expert work for national and foreign law firms, the UK Intellectual Property Office, the European Commission (in 2017, she co-wrote a study supporting the evaluation of the Database Directive for DG CNECT), the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and international organisations and welcomes requests for expert work from both the public and private sector. She also welcomes proposals for postgraduate research in all fields of intellectual property law and has supervised several PhD students to completion (see research students tab).

Professor Derclaye is the author of The Legal Protection of Databases, A Comparative Analysis (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2008), editor of Research Handbook on the Future of EU Copyright (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009) and Copyright and Cultural Heritage: Preservation and Access to Works in a Digital World (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2010) and co-author with A. Strowel of Droit d'auteur et numérique: logiciels, bases de données et multimédia - Droit belge, européen et comparé (Bruylant, 2001) and with M. Leistner of IP Overlaps: A European Perspective (Hart Publishing, 2011). Since 2010, she updates the European Union chapter in L. Bently (eds) International Copyright Law and Practice, Lexis Nexis. Her latest edited collection "The Copyright/Design Interface: Past, Present and Future" was published with Cambridge University Press in March 2018.

Her work has been cited with approval by the UK High court in Football Dataco v Sportradar [2012] EWHC 1185 (Ch), the Swedish Court of Appeal (Stockholm) (ATG v Unibet 2011), Advocate General Bot (cases C-393/09 and C‑128/11, BSA and Usedsoft) and D.W.F. Verkade in opinion of 12 July 2013 (ECLI:NL:PHR:2013:115) before the Dutch Supreme court, case of 17 January 2015 ECLI:NL:HR:2014:88 (Ryanair v. PR Aviation), and Advocate General l B.J. Drijber in opinion of 16 March 2018 (ECLI:NL:PHR:2018:254) before the Dutch Supreme Court case of 8 June 2018, ECLI:NL:HR:2018:856 (Pearson).

She gave her inaugural lecture on "Happy IP" 11 September 2014.

Her publications are also available on,

European Copyright Society opinions all available at

If you are a journalist and would like to urgently get in touch with Professor Derclaye and she has not replied to your email yet, please contact her secretary Mr Niall Ruane at +44 (0)115 748 4604.

Prospective PhD students

Enquiries from prospective students are welcome.

Information about the School of Law PhD programme and how to apply can be found here:

Information about scholarships can be found here:

Information about the University of Nottingham Commercial Law Centre can be found here:

Research Summary

Copyright and related rights, including the database sui generis right

Design rights

Intellectual property overlaps

IP and happiness / wellbeing

IP and the environment / climate change

Selected Publications

  • DERCLAYE, E., 2012. Eudemonic intellectual property: patents and related rights as engines of happiness, peace, and sustainability Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law. 14(3), 495-543
  • DERCLAYE, E. and LEISTNER, M., 2011. Intellectual property overlaps: a European perspective Hart.
  • DERCLAYE, E., 2009. Patent's role in the protection of the environment: re-assessing patent law and its justifications in the 21st century International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law. 40(3), 249-273
  • DERCLAYE, E., 2008. The legal protection of databases: a comparative analysis Edward Elgar Publishing.

PhD supervision

I am interested in supervising students who want to work on the following, non-exhaustive, areas:

  • trademarks, designs, copyright, patents, and related IP rights including unfair competition
  • empirical and/or historical approaches to any intellectual property right topic

Information about the School of Law PhD programme and how to apply can be found here:

Information about scholarships can be found here:

Current students,

Ioanna Lapatoura, Could Blockchain Technology be an Alternative Method in Combating Intellectual Property Infringement? A Case Study of the Fashion Business Model (co-supervised with Professor Paul Torremans)

Ashley Galant, Radical Art Practice: Copyright and the future of Public Collections (co-supervised by Mark Rawlison and Nicholas Alfrey)

Former PhD students:

Park, Jae Il: Non-Producing Entities (NPEs) and an Injunctive Reliefs in Patent Infringement Lawsuits (co-supervised with Professor Paul Torremans) - completed 2012

Radonjanin, Andrea: IP Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions and Traditional Knowledge of the Modern Communities (co-supervised with Professor Paul Torremans) - completed 2014

Leepuengtham, Tosaporn: The Protection of the Intellectual Property Rights in Outer Space Activities (co-supervised with Professor Paul Torremans) - completed 2014

Aluko, Ola: Implementing the WIPO Development Agenda Country Specific Recommendation: A Comprehensive Approach (co-supervised with Professor Paul Torremans) - completed 2015

Alghanim, Bashayer: The scope of Copyright law protection of computer programs study on Private international Law: Kuwait and England (co-supervised with Professor Paul Torremans) - completed 2015

Jacques, Sabine, The right to parody? A Comparative Analysis (partly sponsored by by the Music Publishers Association (MPA), PRS for Music and the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), and co-supervised with Professor Paul Torremans) completed 2016

Garstka, Krzysztof: Infringement of intellectual property rights, privacy and freedom of speech on the Internet: Striking a balance between all stakeholders and finding a pan-European solution (partly sponsored by Google and co-supervised with Professor Paul Torremans) completed 2016

Thattaporn Lekhawatthanapong: The Public Interest Defence in the UK Copyright Law and International Copyright system (co-supervised with Professor Paul Torremans) completed 2017

Chave, Lynne: In Good Shape? A comparative evaluation of the registration of 3D product forms as designs and trade marks under EU and US Law (co-supervised with A. Tosato) completed 2018

Wilson, Kenneth: Open Access and the Academy: An analysis of some salient Copyright and Related Legal Interfaces (co-supervised with P. Torremans) MPhil, completed 2019

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