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.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Crime and Punishment, IP style

Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property: a Handbook of Contemporary Research is the brainchild of its editor, Christophe Geiger, known to many members of the IP community as Director General and Director of Research of the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI), University of Strasbourg.  It seems somehow absurd that an area of law as commercially valuable and politically sensitive as intellectual property has been as little exposed to criminal law as it has been, not just in terms of the law itself -- is there other any area of law in which the disparity between astronomically high civil relief and generally derisory penal sanctions is so great? -- but in terms of the serious thinking that underpins the great doctrines of criminology and their application to the times in which we live.  In this context is it unsurprising that this Kat, even if he were not the editor of the series of which this book forms an important part, would be purring with pleasure to see its publication?

Where is the jurisprudence concerning IP criminal sanctions in terms of retribution for wrongs done, deterrence against the crime as yet uncommitted, of norms and anomie, of recidivism and reform?  Not in this book, for the most part, since this is not that sort of a book.  The list of highly distinguished authors, which again contains many household names in IP circles, is constructed of intellectual property specialists writing about various criminal dimensions of IP rather than being populated by the writings of criminal law specialists dabbling in the largely (for them) uncharted areas of IP.  That is probably this title's strength, since a book which is primarily sociological and psychological in its content would be in danger of rendering itself inaccessible to the readers for whom this work is primarily intended. The time for that book has not yet come for most IP practitioners and policymakers, who are currently more concerned with the scope of IP criminality, the skills needed in order to set about criminal enforcement and the sort of legal, financial and logistical problems they must overcome if they are to do their jobs properly.

Publishers Edward Elgar ("A family business in international publishing": this slogan has not yet been registered as a trade mark ...) have this to say on the book's web page about this collection of essays:
"This wide-ranging Research Handbook is the first to offer a stimulating and systematic review of the framework for criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights. If counterfeiting constitutes an ever-growing international phenomenon with major economic and social repercussions, potentially affecting consumer safety and public health, the question of which are the appropriate instruments to enforce IP rights is a complex and sensitive one. Although criminal penalties can constitute strong and effective means of enforcement, serious doubts exist as to whether criminal sanctions are appropriate in every infringement situation [in this context, witness the disappointingly unfocused debate to which Europe has been treated regarding criminal sanctions for patent infringement, from which one might have concluded that two entirely separate debates were being conducted, one relating to respectable industries and the other relating to bandits and brigands]. Drawing on legal, economic, historical and judicial perspectives, this book provides a differentiated sector-by-sector approach to the question of enforcement, and draws useful conclusions for future legislative initiatives at European, international and national levels.

Offering a broad survey of the field, and a sound platform for further research, this legal and cross-disciplinary study by leading scholars will prove insightful for professors, researchers and students in intellectual property, criminal, competition, consumer protection and health law".
As might be expected from Christophe Geiger's team of all the talents, there are plenty of good chapters to seek one's teeth into. As usual, "it would be invidious to single out any single chapter", but ... An unexpected pleasure was David Lefranc's historical excursus into French IP criminal law, from the Ancien Régime, through the French Revolution and on into the Nineteenth Century. How the French got to the Loi HADOPI, contributed by the editor himself, was also much enjoyed -- and there's a great deal to learn from in the other, well-sourced and readable chapters.

Bibliographic details. Hardback, xiv + 416 pp. ISBN 978-1-84980-146-1. Price: £145 (reduced to £130 if you buy it directly from the publisher). Rupture factor: mild. Web page here.

Other books in the series
Coming soon in the same series

No comments:

Subscribe to the IPKat's posts by email here

Just pop your email address into the box and click 'Subscribe':