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.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Big, black and beautiful: the new CIPA Guide

It's big, it's black and it's hugely serious. No, the IPKat isn't talking about the cloud hovering ominously over the Eurozone; he means the Black Book, a.k.a. the CIPA Guide to the Patents Acts [Explanatory note for newcomers to this weblog and to IP: CIPA is the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.  While it is a UK-based body, its membership, the contents of its publications and the attendance at its impressive annual Congress testify to CIPA's commitment to a wider world in which those of us who are concerned in protecting, commercialising and sharing inventions are all connected to one another].

This Kat remembers his excitement at taking possession of the first edition in 1984 -- just before it was superseded by the second edition.  Published in 1980, that first venture into the world of section-by-section patent law, a sort of IP practitioners' equivalent of painting by numbers, was big enough to look like a significant addition to a junior academic's bookshelf, though it now seems quite puny in contrast with its successors.  This was not surprising since there wasn't much guidance that could be squeezed into it in those early days.  Much of the meat of the first edition was the Patents Act 1977 and the Rules which were then applicable. Even so, this Kat thought the section-by-section approach was definitely an easier format to assist his research than the subject-by-subject structure of his other trusty texts, Terrell and the ever-enjoyable Blanco White.

So what of the 7th edition? It has been compiled and constructed under the baton of two patent maestros, the IPKat's worthy friends Paul Cole (Lucas & Co) and Stephen Jones (Baker & McKenzie), two seasoned patent practitioners who have each been in the IP game for longer than even a well-extended pharmaceutical patent. This is what its fortunate publishers Sweet & Maxwell have to say about their new edition:
"... Its purpose has remained unchanged since first publication: “The broad aim has been to provide a manual for reference, if not daily, at least whenever any doubt arises on the provisions of the Act or Rules and above all on the practice under them” [It's good to see this application of the old adage of 'If it ain't broken, don't fix it'].

It is generally agreed that
individually selected patent
experts are the best ...
Since publication of the 6th Edition in 2009 the flow of significant new material has been relentless [not half! We have all been suffering from this -- and the flow goes on ...], including revisions to the Patents Rules, the Civil Procedure Rules and EU Regulations and landmark decisions of the UK Courts, the EPO Appeal Boards and the US courts, which is of increasing significance to UK and European practitioners. This new edition fully evaluates and incorporates these developments, helping practitioner's [Merpel say's the publisher's should take more care over where to stick their apostrophe's ...] to stay on top of the many changes. 
 Compiled by a team of 34 professionals including patent attorneys, solicitors and members of the Bar, individually selected ['Individually selected'? It makes a change from 'hand-picked' ...] for their knowledge of and insight into the subjects to which they contribute, this essential guide gives you all the tools you need to protect the rights of your clients ..."
The text now refers to over 3,300 decisions of the UK IP Office, the British courts and the EPO's various Appeal Boards. Part of its strength is that it summarises the effect of most of these decisions succinctly, with pinpoint accuracy, very often with reference to further reading in the form of articles and case notes in the CIPA's own journal -- a publication which also provides the most effective means of updating the CIPA Guide in between editions.

While the book is vast, the need to conserve space has encouraged the team of contributors to write in a manner which is agreeably lean without ever being abrupt or urgent. The fact that the writing is so consistent as between the sections written by different authors is also a tribute to the publishers' editing staff, who must have toiled long and hard -- just as the authors did when writing their commentaries in the first place.

Reading the lengthy list of abbreviations of the names of journals and law reports referred to in the Guide, this reviewer was startled at the apparent absence of any reference to the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice (JIPLP), which he edits. Fortunately this is not the case: content from that journal has indeed been included in the Guide, along with materials drawn from EPI Information (which has quasi-official status, this reviewer is reliably told), the IIC, EIPR and many other sources. 

In conclusion, this is a wonderful book: the team of authors and their editorial back-up have been individually selected for their respective katpats ...

Bibliographic data:  hardback. ccxxi [if you have run out of fingers, that's the Latin for 221] + 1,580 pages. ISBN: 9780414018631. Price £250. Rupture factor: substantial (lift with care; do not drop on foot). Book's web page here

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

No novelty lay in the section by section approach, it was simply copied from the blue book which is the CIPA guide to the 1949 Act and predecessor of the black book.

Jeremy said...

It was my first venture into a section-by-section book though :-)

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