For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

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Friday, 14 September 2012

Something else to read: three more IP books ...

University Intellectual Property: a Source of Finance and Impact, edited by Graham Richards, is a recent publication from Harriman House.  Available both in paperback and e-book format, it constitutes an attempt to focus much of the contemporary and generalised discussion about the protection, development and commercial exploitation of intellectual property on one specific source: innovation which emerges from the university.  According to the publisher's web-blurb:
"The traditional role of the university has been to teach and conduct original research, but this situation is changing. As governments judge universities on new criteria - including the 'impact' they have - and as universities are driven to search for finance from new sources, those that run universities are increasingly looking to exploit the intellectual property created by their researchers to help deliver this impact and income. How this should be done, and whether it should be done at all, is subject to much debate.

The key issues are:

- What constitutes intellectual property?
- Do academics or universities own IP?
- Does the commercialisation of IP impact academic freedom?
- How can IP best be exploited and who should be financially rewarded when it is?
- What assistance can governments and other bodies provide?

This book investigates these issues. After a review of how the current situation came to be, the views and experiences of a range of experts are presented, including those of a former high court judge, a senior lawyer, a patent attorney and professionals involved in technology transfer. The contributors examine whether the roles of higher education institutions have changed, what academics and universities should be doing, and how technology transfer can be made more effective and efficient. To conclude, a provocative look at the ethics of the situation is presented".

There is no doubting Professor Richards' qualification to investigate the subject. His "previous" includes Oxford's Isis Innovation Ltd as well as his own spin-out company, Oxford Molecular, and he also wrote Spin-Outs: Creating Businesses from University Intellectual Property, brought out by the same publisher three and a half years ago (here). He is not merely the editor of this book but the contributor of five of its chapters (the others are written by Sir Robin Jacob, Ian Bingham, Patricia Barclay, Roya Ghafele, Alexander Weedon and Catherine Rhodes).  He urges balance, particularly between commercial expectations and reality and between academic freedom and academic serfdom, and plainly takes the view that it is better to work out how to make the best of current legal, commercial and financial realities than to start by trying to change them.

Bibliographic data: vii + 154 pages. ISBNs 9780857192271 and 9780857192325. Recommended retail price £30 (£15 from the publisher). Rupture factor: none. Book's web page here.


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China Court Cases on Intellectual Property Rights, edited by: Zhou Lin, is a solid and handsome book from Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.  Given the recent and oft-remarked explosion of IP litigation in the world's largest jurisdiction, this Kat had expected the book to be a fairly superficial overview of litigation trends, with occasional references made to actual decisions for the sake of clarity or apparent precedent.  Nothing could be further from the reality.  The sole contents are painstakingly detailed descriptions of the facts, legal submissions and judicial reasoning of 16 cases drawn from a wide spectrum of intellectual property.  As the book's web-blurb explains:
"This book presents, in extraordinary detail, sixteen landmark cases that profoundly affect the protection of intellectual property rights in China. Written by six prominent Chinese legal scholars and jurists – including judges who themselves participated in these decisions – each case is fully described and analysed: the parties and their representatives, the basic facts, the facts ascertained by the court, the evidence presented by plaintiffs and defendants, the judges’ opinions with their arguments and reasoning, the unanimous conclusions, and the judgment, along with a wealth of deeply informed comment. ...

An introductory essay [this Kat couldn't find it anywhere in his review copy, in which there is a two-and-a-half page editor's introduction, followed by Case 1, Wang Meng v Century, on page 1] provides a detailed overview of the characteristics of China’s intellectual property law as it continues to develop, with attention to such factors as the specific laws enacted, the various courts and tribunals to which IP cases are assigned, the progress of a case, starting from filing to winding up, regulations, reform programs, and rules of evidence. The editor puts forward his own proposals – particularly in light of the so-called ‘interfering factors’ – on reform of civil trial style in intellectual property cases ...".
The case analyses are fascinating, but they are not an easy read.  The level of detail in each demands the reader's complete and focused attention, and the style is highly formal.  Also, this reviewer was disturbed at the fact that there was no clear statement that these are all old cases. Offhand he can't recall if there were any decisions at all that were handed down within the past decade, and several were rather older than that. Being so frequently reminded of the rapid rate of change in Chinese IP litigation, and the increasing sophistication which comes from the cumulative experience gained in practising it, he would like some reassurance that any lessons to be drawn from these decisions are as current now as they were a decade ago.


Bibliographic data: xix + 361 pages, hard cover. ISBN: 9789041134196. Price $174. Rupture factor: medium. Book's web page here.


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Intellectual Property Enforcement: a Commentary on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is the latest book by Michael Blakeney (currently Law Professor, The University of Western Australia and a long-time enthusiast when it comes to investigating and writing about international IP agreements.  ACTA is the most notorious of these, having raised the hackles of many people who have read it and, this Kat suspects, even more people who have not.  Anyway, despite its rejection by the European Parliament, to the obvious disappointment of those good folk in Brussels who were employed to negotiate it and steer it into harbour, ACTA still has a life -- and, while ACTA still awaits adoption in some quarters, this book records its early years from conception through to birth.  As the publisher's web-blurb states:
"This important book is the first detailed analytical treatment of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and its impact on intellectual property enforcement. The ACTA had been formulated to deal with the burgeoning growth in the trade in counterfeit and pirate products which was estimated to have increased ten-fold since the promulgation of the TRIPS Agreement in 1994.

The book clarifies how the ACTA supplements the enforcement provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, namely by: expanding the reach of border protection to infringing goods in transit; providing greater detail of the implementation of civil enforcement and; providing for the confiscation of the proceeds of intellectual property crimes. As the book illustrates, a significant additional innovation is the introduction of provisions dealing with enforcement of intellectual property rights in the digital environment.

This book will strongly appeal to intellectual property rights policymakers, legal practitioners, academics and students [with a lifelong involvement in IP, this Kat has a suspicion that he knows what strongly appeals to students -- and he doubts that books on ACTA are about to supplant their usual preferences ...]".
This Kat sympathises with the author and the publisher for picking a topic which was becoming spectacularly toxic just at the point at which it was being published.  Whatever merits it may have, ACTA is a tainted brand, the Ford Edsel of the IP treaty scene.  He hopes that readers, or at least the libraries which service their interests in academic and legal circles, will take the opportunity to dip into some scholarship in an area in which we may not be seeing too many titles published on this side of the Atlantic. Oh, and here's a note to the publisher: most of the book consists of an Article-by-Article appraisal and analysis, and this could be reflected in the running heads so that a reader who opens the book somewhere in the middle can glance to the top of the page and know which Article he had landed in the middle of.

Bibliographic data: xi + 394 pages, hardback. ISBN 978 1 84980 003 7. Price £125 (you can get it from the publisher online for £112.50). Rupture factor: medium. Book's web page here

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