For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Trade Marks in Europe: a Practical Jurisprudence

Life is full of mysteries and curiosities. Some of these mysteries are from the world of nature (eg why does buttered toast always fall buttered side down?), but for other mysteries the explanation lies in the mind of man, not in the laws of physics. One such mystery is the appearance of the word "practical" in the title of Spyros Maniatis' Trade Marks in Europe: a Practical Jurisprudence. Spyros, a Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Queen Mary, University of London, is a serious, quietly-spoken and thoughtful teacher of his subject who does not overstate his case. The IPKat is sure that the idea of putting the word "practical" into the title must have come from the publishers, since this analysis is functional rather than practical: it shows how the interaction of legislation, litigant and court has combined to develop strands of thought, rather than offering the sort of fare that practitioners' tomes such as Kerly and Morcom provide (incidentally, this book cites none of the practitioners' works - they are arguably irrelevant to an exercise of this nature).

Spyros has done something that has long needed doing, by reading carefully the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Communities and her lively little sister the Court of First Instance, letting those courts' rulings speak for themselves and pinning their doctrines to specific provisions of European Community and national law to which they are relevant.

Left: The Budweiser trilogy gets 23 pages all to itself

The decisions are not one-dimensional either - reference is also made to the Opinions of Advocates General and to the travaux, both of which often betray more internal consistency and coherence than do the final judgments. By way of a bonus there is also a chapter on contemporary US Supreme Court jurisprudence - but its content is not conceptually integrated into the rest of the book and the IPKat feels it would have been strategically better to work it up into a companion volume on its own terms, rather than leaving it tucked away at the back of a book on European trade mark doctrine.

Frustratingly for all of us, the Court of Justice keeps on churning out decisions, some of which are easier to apply to the facts of the problems we face than to understand in terms of their doctrinal coherence. From the fact that Spyros' book describes itself as the first edition, we may take comfort that further help will soon be at hand.

Sisyphus (right), training for the really tough job - reading ECJ cases and making sense of them

Bibliographic details: hardback, published 31 December 2006. lxi + 747 pages. ISBN 10 0-421-92000-9, 13 978-0-421-92000-2. Prices £165, or 260 euro. Rupture factor: low to medium. Details of the book online here.

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