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.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Books again ...

Intellectual Property and Private International Law has now emerged in its second edition.  Under the scholarly aegis of University of Nottingham-based Professors James J. Fawcett and Paul Torremans, this work has been aided and abetted by a stellar team of "thanks-to" supporters which includes, gratifyingly, several regular readers of this weblog.

In the thirteen years that have elapsed since the first edition, the world of IP-PIL has changed beyond all recognition as international agreements, substantive intellectual property law, national and regional judicial rulings and the rules of civil procedure have all changed in responses to their own often overlapping constituencies.  What, one might ask, has remained the same?  Apart from the title of the topic, the one real constant in the ever-changing sea of legal solutions is the nature of the problems faced by litigants and their advisers in securing, protecting and enforcing their market positions where one or more national border must be crossed in order to achieve the desired aim.

Since this book is part of the Oxford Private International Law Series (it's a big series, with 22 titles already in print), it seems prudent to take a look at what the publisher, Oxford University Press, has to say about it:
"Intellectual property has traditionally been regulated on a territorial basis [True -- but most of the current generation of IP lawyers aren't old enough to remember a time when issues like cross-border injunctions have not been on the agenda, and it is arguable that quaint curiosities such as the Madrid Agreement's 'central attack' doctrine are referable to a supra-territorial view of how IP rights should be regulated]. However, the protection and commercial exploitation of intellectual property rights such as patents, trade marks, designs and copyright occurring across borders are now seldom confined to one jurisdiction. This book considers how the introduction of a foreign element inevitably raises potential problems of private international law, ranging from establishing which court has jurisdiction and which is the applicable law to securing the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.

The Internet has brought a significant increase in the scale of this phenomenon and valuable new chapters have been added to this edition to reflect this [This is the book's selling point: a detailed and dispassionate application of private international law principles to the internet -- which is as much a moving target as the law itself]. Nationally protected trade marks are now used globally on websites and copyright material is distributed, communicated and copied in a world without borders [it doesn't have corners either, notes Merpel, struck by the connected nature of the little world we all inhabit]. Patents have already been licensed on a transnational basis for several decades. All this raises questions of jurisdiction and applicable law. The well-respected and expert author team address such questions as; which court will have jurisdiction to deal with the issues arising from intellectual property rights and their exploitation in an international context? And which national law will the court with jurisdiction apply? Private international law questions increasingly arise and the two disciplines that previously operated in different spheres are increasingly obliged to co-operate ...."
This Kat was profoundly impressed by this work, or at least by the bits he could easily understand -- since he is primarily an IP lawyer and reading private intellectual law is, for him, a bit like reading a foreign language. He is willing to bet that it won't be another 13 years before the next edition either, with exciting developments like the Court of Justice ruling in Case C-523/10 Wintersteiger ahead of us.

Bibliographic data: lxvii + 986 pages. Hardback. ISBN 978-0-19-955658-8. Current to June 2010. Rupture factor: severe.  Web page here.



While on the subject of book reviews, here's a book that can't easily be reviewed -- or even read -- since it's a big fat compendium of handy intellectual property laws at international, regional and national (UK) level. Yes, it's two whole years since the 9th edition of Butterworths Intellectual Property Law Handbook emerged, courtesy of LexisNexis, and now we have the tenth.  IPKat team member Jeremy is naturally far too modest to mention the name of this book's Consultant Editor, who is known to be something of an intellectual property enthusiast.  Merpel says, the best thing about the 10th edition -- apart from the newly-added content -- is the fact that it retails for £6 less than its predecessor.  £116 for over 1,900 pages of law isn't a bad deal these days, and the slender paper on which it is printed makes it relatively light to carry, even though "handbook" is perhaps a bit of poetic licence.  Two other things that made this reviewer's eyes light up when he espied the new edition for the first time on his desk at Olswang LLP were (i) the fact that the boringly plain cover of earlier editions has been replaced by a sort of polka-dot themed pattern and (ii) the appearance of the legend "10th edition" in big, clear type on the spine, which means that the risk of picking up an outdated edition and using the wrong version of a statute or set of regulations is thereby diminished.  Thank you, LexisNexis, for adding this small but vital piece of functionality.

Bibliographic details: xvii + 1,914 pages. Paperback. ISBN 978-1-4057-6338-7. Rupture factor: moderate. Current to July 2011.  Web page here.

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