The team is joined by Guest Kats Rosie Burbidge, Stephen Jones, Mathilde Parvis, and Eibhlin Vardy, and by InternKats Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo, Hayleigh Bosher, Tian Lu and Cecilia Sbrolli.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Book review: Intellectual Property Law

The sixth edition of Intellectual Property Law, by Tina Hart, Simon Clark and Linda Fazzani, was published late last year by Palgrave Macmillan. The authors' backgrounds cover both practice and academe: Tina Hart, previously Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Derby, is Director of Postgraduate Academic Courses at the University of Huddersfield; Simon Clark, currently head of Intellectual Property at Berwin Leighton Paisner, is probably best known as the secretary of BLACA (the British Literary and Artistic Copyright Association), while Linda Fazzani was a Consultant at the same firm, where she headed the Intellectual Property and Information Technology Group.

The Kats decided that the most appropriate way to review a student text might be to put it into the hands of a real, live student -- so that's what they did.  And now Queen Mary, University of London, postgrad Rebecca Gulbul takes up her pen, and this is what she writes:


My first impression was that the book’s format is like a typical student textbook. It is well organised and easy to navigate. The Table of Contents shows that the book is divided into four parts: Patents and Confidential Information; Trade marks and Passing off; Copyright and Designs; and Competition Law. The last part does not deal with an individual intellectual property right, but with the interesting relationship between intellectual property rights -- which are either total or qualified monopolies -- and competition law which is all about ensuring that competition exists between market players.  There is also a Table of Cases and Legislation, which references all the pages where a case or section of an Act has been mentioned. Further, the Index at the back of the book makes it easy to find information on any given topic. A particular feature of the book is that there are no footnotes. While this provides for a more fluid reading, sometimes the text can be quite dense and lengthy.


The book is directed to undergraduates and postgraduates students and also aims to be a reference point for some professionals. In fewer than 300 pages, this book comfortably discusses all of the basic concepts and principles underpinning intellectual property rights, as well as many relevant issues connected to each right.

The manual is user-friendly as the language is clear and easy to understand. Topics are discussed in a logical order. The use of subheadings helps to separate different sections and each is discussed in turn. Although the book is mainly concise, some chapters have lengthy paragraphs, and these blocks of text are sometimes difficult to read through. This may be partly due to the absence of footnotes.

"Untroubled by too
much text ..."
Each topic is introduced through a historical account of the laws and provisions relevant to the relevant right. Numerous examples of cases are included which illustrate the position taken by the court. The case extracts are long enough to convey the court’s reasoning, without troubling the reader with too much text. Excerpts of relevant legislation are included, and put the explanations into context. The authors have also included some quotes from legal articles and inserted some comments and observations of their own: these ensure that the reader has a good understanding of the topic.

At the end of each chapter, there is a bullet-point style summary listing the main concepts to remember. Some chapters are also accompanied with exercises, which take the form of questions or case scenarios, for self-assessment and to consolidate the reader’s understanding. Although answers to these are not provided, the questions deal directly with the material covered within that chapter and it is easy to refer back and find the solution to the questions. Since the book does not provide a deep analysis of particular issues, the authors have referenced a list of articles and websites at the end of each chapter, thus providing a starting point for further research.

Overall opinion

"A good overview of the field ..."
The book offers a good overview of the field of intellectual property. The language is simple to read and the explanations are easy to follow. It is far from being merely descriptive, since practicality is discussed as well as academic reasoning. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get to grips with all the various intellectual property rights and the issues surrounding them. The book considers recent problems and debates, thus engaging the reader and providing a fresh approach to the subject. It is a good introductory book to intellectual property, but can also be used for reference, and provide a springboard for further research.
Thanks, Rebecca! Further details of this book can be found here.

This Kat wishes that books on IP (not to mention journals) had more exciting, less descriptive titles.  Intellectual Property Law is not a bad name for a book on the subject, and no-one could say it was misleading, but it doesn't rivet the attention as much as, say, The Prince and the Praline or The Truth About Tortoises: What Lies Under the Shell -- titles which make you really want to buy them if only how they relate to patents, trade marks, copyright and all the rest.  In a way, titles of most IP law books are as dull and unmemorable as names of pharmaceutical products, but that's a subject for another blogpost ...

1 comment:

Roufousse T. Fairfly said...

The cause of the lack of fantasy might be that all the better names are already taken, e.g. as "Patenting for dummies" and "Rembrandts in the attic".

How about an anagram? Would you be tempted to pick up "Curial polenta, telly twerp" at the bookstore?

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