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.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

No rumpus if you use a Compass

Never one to be daunted by gigantic tasks, the IPKat had no qualms about saying "yes" when being asked if he could make some pertinent comments concerning Procedural Law under the EPC-2000: a practical guide for patent professionals and candidates for the European qualifying examination. This title is the latest offering by the patent candidates' friends, Andrea Veronese and Peter Watchorn. Italian-born Andrea has been a search and substantive examiner at the European Patent Office since 1997 but is apparently none the worse for the experience. Peter, the English half of the team, has searched, examined, opined, advised, instructed and drafted at the EPO ever since 1989 -- so he probably knows a worthwhile thing or two about the system.

According to the blurb on the website of the book's German publisher Kastner,

"The EPC was updated at the diplomatic conference held in Munich in the year 2000 and this revised EPC came into force on 13th December 2007. The changes were far reaching and formed a paradigm shift in the way the European Patent Office operates from a legal point of view [hmm ... but not always from a spectator's point of view, sniffs Merpel].

Procedural law under the EPC-2000 is intended to be a reference work for patent professionals and candidates for the European Qualifying Examination, when studying the revised Convention. The book is designed to guide the reader through the "thickets of the law", and to help him or her to find all of the information he or she needs to process an application, patent, opposition, appeal, or any other request before the EPO.

The book is written in a practical way and deals thoroughly and systematically with the different topics, but is also structured to fit all parts into "the bigger picture" [that's why it has to be "a bigger book"]. It is hoped, that after getting accustomed to its format, readers will find the book a useful tool in their study and daily work".
The book's format is not a problem in terms of getting accustomed. Anyone who can master the excellent and unusually helpful table of contents will soon understand what lies between the covers, and the two-column structure is easy to handle once you've decided that it's easier to read down the page than across it. Aided by the good organisational sense of two practical authors, the reader should find this tome pretty easy to handle. Any difficulties, alas, lie in the sheer volume of procedural detail that drives the EPC itself -- and which sometimes leaves the outsider wondering whether there are those within the EPO who view the complex interaction of deadlines, notices, payments, facilities and responsibilities, checks and balances as an object of aesthetic beauty and the main justification of the European patent granting system.

The IPKat feels that there are two types of car enthusiast: those who like to get behind the wheel and drive, and those who like to open up the bonnet and work out how the whole thing works. This book is definitely for the latter category. This review remembers the early days of the EPO, when Gunther Gall would speak of the need to temper procedural rules with flexibility and common sense and to bear in mind the real world objective of the patent grant. What, it may be wondered, would he make of this awesome edifice of procedure.

Having said all this, when you've browsed around this mighty tome for a little, you realise what a time-saver it is. All necessary materials are brought together in chronological order, duly sourced and lightly laced with repetitions to spare the user either the risk of Candidate's Thumb, from constantly ploughing back and forth in search of text which has more than one natural home, or the need to populate the book with a bristling array of replaceable adhesive notelets.

To summarise, this is a really useful publication not just for the European qualifying examination candidate but for the qualified practitioner too. The authors are to be congratulated on their efforts -- and on the results which those efforts have brought about.

Bibliographic data: ISBN 978-3-937082-90-5. Soft covers. Several unnumbered pages + xxii + 600 + (index) 2. Rupture factor: severe. Einzelpreis € 75.00

Authors' EPC-compass website here
Book's web-page here

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