Lessons: International Law

This lesson is second in a series that takes a look at formation of agreements governed by the U.N. Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The CISG provides a uniform set of rules for international sales contracts where the parties are located in different signatory countries. There are 11 separate provisions on contract formation under the CISG. This lesson sets out the basic requisites for determining whether an offer exists, when it is accepted and how to address a battle of the forms if the CISG applies. The general attributes of domestic contracts and other CISG contracts are covered in other lessons.

45 minutes
CON75

This lesson is third in a series that takes a look at performance of agreements governed by the U.N. Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The CISG provides a uniform set of rules for international sales contracts where the parties are located in different signatory countries. There are 11 separate provisions on contract formation under the CISG. This lesson sets out the basic obligations of sellers and buyers, as well as looking at the ICC's Incoterms and how they affect the seller's obligations. The general attributes of domestic contracts and other CISG contract issues are covered in other lessons.

1 hour
CON76

This lesson is first in a series that takes a look at the basics of agreements governed by the U.N. Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The CISG provides a uniform set of rules for international sales contracts where the parties are located in different signatory countries. While some of the rules parallel those under the common law and Article 2 of the U.C.C., many are different. This lesson sets out the basic requisites for determining when the CISG applies and evaluating contracts governed by the CISG. The general attributes of domestic contracts and other CISG contracts are covered in other lessons.

1 hour
CON74

Climate change mitigation refers to methods to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and/or to reduce the growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This lesson looks at the international framework for addressing climate change mitigation, as established in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its protocols.

This lesson assumes that the student has a basic familiarity with climate change but little or no exposure to the UNFCCC. The lesson consists of 15 questions.

30-45 minutes
ENV32

This lesson gives the basics of copyright and trademark research, including historical background, statutes, regulations, cases, secondary sources, international materials, and current awareness tools.

45 minutes
LR51

The definition and location of customary international law is a difficult research task. This lesson begins by defining customary international law and placing customary international law into context through historical examples. Two research strategies for locating custom will be introduced. The first strategy is to locate pre-defined custom using a source that discusses state practice that has risen to the level of custom. The second and more complex strategy involves searching directly for evidence of customary international law.

30 minutes
LR56

This lesson gives an overview of the basics of the European Union's trademark system. The emphasis is on issues of registration and infringement. It often uses a comparative approach, with the U.S. system as a foil. It takes users through both the national systems (via the Trademark Harmonization Directive) and the Community Trademark system. Familiarity with U.S. trademark law is assumed.

1 hour
TM26

In this lesson, you will learn about the International Court of Justice, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. After an introduction to the Court, you'll learn about some of the print reporters of the Court's decisions and online sources for these opinions. Finally, there will be a discussion of print and online digests of the Court's decisions.

20 minutes
LR66

This lesson explores how trademark law deals with two specific categories of marks: foreign (non-English) words and people's names. It addresses their ability to function as marks as well as how they should be assessed when determining infringement. The lesson assumes a working familiarity with the "distinctiveness" requirement, the fair use doctrine, and the likelihood of confusion test for infringement. The lesson can be used to (1) provide an overview of one or both of these specialized areas of trademark law or (2) as a means to confirm understanding of the core principles after a class on the subject.

50 minutes
TM20

This lesson will cover how to research the constitutions of countries besides the United States.

1 hour
LR116

This is an introduction to researching the law relating to inter-governmental and non-governmental agencies. IGOs and NGOs have significant input into international law and finding their resources can be integral to research in international law.

40 minutes
LR80

International environmental law covers many subjects. For the most part, however, international agreements on environmental subjects, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) must be implemented through the domestic law of signatory countries. For example, the United States implements CITES through the federal Endangered Species Act.

This lesson provides an introduction both to CITES and to the Endangered Species Act's implementation of that Convention. No prior knowledge of CITES is required; however, this lesson assumes that you are familiar with the ordinary workings of the Endangered Species Act. If you are not familiar with that statute, you may want to complete the CALI lesson entitled "ESA Basics" before continuing with this lesson.

In addition, if you are completely unfamiliar with principles of international law, you may want to complete the CALI lesson entitled "Introduction to International Law for Environmental Law Students" before continuing with this lesson.

30 to 45 minutes
ENV14

This lesson gives a brief introduction to some of the basic concepts in foreign legal research, such as foreign legal systems, availability of materials, and research strategies.

30 minutes
LWR32

This is an introductory lesson for international human rights law and research. The lesson contains four parts. Part I is designed to provide the user with a basic understanding of the development of human rights. Part II introduces the user to the United Nations and regional human rights structures. A researcher must be aware of the structure of the complaint and enforcement systems in order to locate and understand the significance of human rights materials. As a result, a significant amount of time is devoted to this section. Part III contains a discussion of resources available to assist users developing a contextual understanding of human rights issues. The lesson concludes with an overview of resources available for substantive human rights research.

Although humanitarian law or the law of armed conflict is occasionally discussed as a branch of human rights law, this topic is beyond the scope of this introductory lesson. Additionally, this lesson is not intended to cover international criminal law research regarding violations of human rights norms, such as the prohibition on genocide.

75 minutes
LR76

This Lessonette® interactive tutorial will introduce American environmental law students to general principles of international law, with some examples of how such principles create and influence international environmental law.

30 minutes
ENV13

This lesson is an introduction to patent issues under TRIPS, an important international agreement that impacts the national patent laws of all member countries of the World Trade Organization. This includes over 170 countries, including not only industrialized countries, but all developing and least developed countries. Because TRIPS imposes restrictions on national law in all countries, understanding TRIPS is important to understanding what changes to patent law is possible - in the United States and beyond. Some familiarity of US patent law is required, but a full patent law course is certainly not necessary.

45 minutes
PAT07

The purpose of this CALI lesson is to guide students who are not experienced in researching private international law questions.

45 minutes
LR77

This lesson will give you some background about Regional Organizations, collections of countries, organized by region, engaged in collaborative work toward some common goal. You will learn to find the documents of some of the most important Regional Organizations on the web.

45 minutes
LR90

This lesson deals with the basics of trademark registration under Section 44 of the Lanham Act. It includes discussions of eligibility under this provision, the value of foreign registrations, issues of priority, and the necessity for use prior to and after registration. It can be used either to learn the subject or for review, but does presume general knowledge of the bases for registration under Section 1 of the Lanham Act.

45 minutes
TM21

This lesson provides an overview of the history and structure of the European Union, followed by an introduction to researching European Union documents. The European Union is a truly unique structure which represents over half a century of cooperation between select nations. As the sole supranational legal order in the world, the European Union offers a truly unique model of study to legal scholars and practitioners.

1 hour
LR89

This lesson is a follow up to the European Union-Trademark Basics lesson. It presents additional information concerning two topics: "Unusual" marks and Exhaustion of trademark rights (with regard to the latter, there is a comparison with U.S. law in the lesson). At a minimum, users should be familiar with U.S. trademark law and should either review the Basics lesson or be generally familiar with EU trademark law. This lesson may be best used for review and additional learning.

45 minutes
TM27

This lesson is a general introduction to resources for researching Tribunals and Truth Commissions.  The lesson will focus on online and print sources relating to tribunals and truth commissions with a specific focus on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The lesson is divided into four parts:

  • Introduction to Tribunals
  • ICTY
  • ICTR
  • Truth Commissions

The sources highlighted in this lesson is a selective list from the many sources available on this topic. For additional assistance in locating sources at Columbia's Diamond Law Library, please do not hesitate to contact the reference librarians at the Reference Desk.

45 minutes
LR83

This lesson provides an advanced exploration of patent issues under TRIPS, an important international agreement that binds most countries, including developed and developing countries. This lesson aims to provide students with information concerning pressing issues. It is appropriate for students who have completed the Introduction to TRIPS lesson, as well as students who have some prior exposure to TRIPS, such as students who have studied the agreement in a class on International IP.

45 minutes
PAT10

This lesson will show you the basic tools for finding United Nations materials. It first gives an overview of how the United Nations is organized. It includes descriptions of each of the principal organs of the U.N. and an overview of the United Nations document numbering system. It then shows several online tools for United Nations research: the U.N.'s web site; the U.N. Documentation Centre; Official Document System; AccessUN; and UNBISNet. It ends with an introduction to a few web sites for very current information about the United Nations.

45 minutes
LR65

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