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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

IP Licensing: coming to a bookstore near you

Once again the IPKat's fabled objectivity comes under pressure as he posts news of the availability of a new book about which he can scarcely fail to chortle. It's the Research Handbook On Intellectual Property Licensing, edited and indeed masterminded by Jacques de Werra (Professor of Contract Law and Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Law School, University of Geneva, Switzerland).  Jacques is much admired and respected by this Kat both for his effort and his organisational skills, which are reflected in the new tome.  Quite apart from that, fellow feline Neil, whose first word was probably "licence" (no doubt pronounced "license", given his American antecedents), any number of Katfriends are among the contributors. These include and are not limited to Robert Gomulkiewicz, who not only writes on open source llicences but has actually written such a licence himself, veteran scholar François Dessemontet, quietly-spoken and deeply analytical Lorin Brennan, trade secrets guru John Hull, and Mr Pettifog's alter ego the irrepressible Mark Anderson.

Publishers Edward Elgar describe this book with admirable and unusual brevity:
"The Research Handbook on Intellectual Property Licensing explores the complexities of intellectual property licensing law from a comparative perspective through the opinions of leading experts.

This major research tool analyses the features of specific types of licensing agreements and also addresses other practical issues which apply across different types of licensing transactions, such as the treatment of licensing in bankruptcy [and you won't find much in the way of popular literature on that topic, so hats of to Mark Reutter for tackling it] and the use of arbitration for solving licensing disputes. The Handbook ultimately provides a scholarly contribution to the development of global intellectual property licensing policies.

Including transversal and comparative analysis, this Handbook will appeal to intellectual property licensing practitioners, lawyers and intellectual property and contract law academics".
Having both written and edited pieces on intellectual property licensing and transactions in general, this Kat is acutely aware of the difficulties faced in many areas of licensing law.  One is that, being contract-based, IP licensing is embedded in a wealth of practices, precedents, pre-contractual protocols and post-contractual routines that all too rarely see the light of day.  Many IP licensing arrangements do not go wrong, so are not reflected in a dispute resolution process; of those that do go wrong, a preponderant majority will be mediated, arbitrated or resolved beyond the gaze of anyone who is seeking solid legal data.  In this respect, even US jurisprudence is not a great deal richer than many other jurisdictions, despite that country's affection for litigation. Notwithstanding this, and perhaps because most forms of specialist IP licence seem to have originated in the US anyway, US writing continues to be influential.  However, the editor has spiced this volume with enough perspectives from Europe and Asia to ensure that the reader is treated to a genuine spread of legal cultures.

Bibliographic data: xviii + 499pp. Hardback ISBN 978 1 84980 440 0,  ebook ISBN 978 1 78100 598 9. Price £150 (online £135 from the publisher). Rupture factor: mild. Book's web page here.

Disclosure: Jacques' book is part of Edward Elgar's Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series, of which this Kat is the series editor. Other books in this series are

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