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, 2 April 2014

Something to read: four new IP titles

With the Easter/Passover break looming large, many readers will soon be either taking time off from work in order to recharge their physical and mental batteries or boarding large planes for long journeys to distant venues for important conferences.  In either case they may be looking for something to read, so here's a look at some recent titles ...

TRIPS And Developing Countries Towards a New IP World Order? is the title of a neat and handsome volume edited by the redoubtable triumvirate of Gustavo Ghidini , Rudolph J.R. Peritz and Marco Ricolfi.  For the record, Gustavo, Professor of Intellectual Property and Competition Law in the University of Milan, directs the Observatory on Intellectual Property, Competition and Communications Law; Rudolph, a Professor in the New York Law School, directs its IProgress Project, and Marco -- Professor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Turin, is also of law firm Tosetto Weigmann & Associati.

The publishers of this work, Edward Elgar Publishing, have this to say about it:
"TRIPS reflects the dominant view that enforcing strong intellectual property rights is necessary to solve problems of trade and development ['dominant' is an interesting choice of word: dominant, perhaps, but certainly not 'predominant' if one aggregates the many doubts and qualifications that were expressed about strong IP protection by many TRIPS and wannabe-TRIPS countries in the 1990s, doubts and reservations that have since been articulated with greater strength and clarity ...]. The global ensemble of authors in this collection ask, how can TRIPS mature further into an institution that supports a view of economic development which incorporates the human rights ethic already at work in the multilateralist geopolitics driving international relations? In particular, how can these human rights, seen as encompassing a whole ‘new’ set of collective interests such as public health, environment, and nutrition, provide a pragmatic ethic for shaping development policy? Some chapters address these questions by describing recent successes, while others propose projects in which these human rights can provide ethical ground for influencing the forces at play in development policies".
You might have thought that this was a book in which the contributors engage in discussion and analysis of policy rather than law and practice.  Indeed, in the world of TRIPS this is how it is nowadays: legal norms and mechanisms are shaped by wider considerations involving development policy, economics, health and so on. Once the framework and its flexibilities are established, legal practice and procedure grow upon it like barnacles on the hull of an ocean-going liner. However, there is law a-plenty here: the chapter by Annette Kur and Marianne Levin on the IPT Project and TRIPS reform proposals could hardly be anything other than a legal chapter, and there's plenty for lawyers to think about in the chapters covering commercial agreements between the US and Latin America (Horacio Rangel-Ortiz) and compulsory licensing (Charles McManis and Jorge Contreras). Once again, an index of TRIPS and other legal provisions would have made the book much more user-friendly, at least for readers who want to find out what different contributors might have said about the same articles without having to read right through the book to do so -- but the book has lots of pluses and will be a source of plenty of good ideas and information for its readers.

Bibliographic data: vii + 327 pages. Hardback ISBN 978 1 84980 485 1; ebook ISBN 978 1 84980 494 3. Price £90 (online from the publisher, £81). Rupture factor: small. Book's web page here.

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Patent Law in Global Perspective, edited by Professors Ruth L. Okediji and Margo A. Bagley, is a big, bold book from Oxford University Press's New York desk. Ruth is William L. Prosser Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School while Margo is Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. The pair have assembled a band of A-List contributors and, while it is sometimes said that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, it's good to know that the old dogs lined up in this publication can still teach us a thing or two.

The OUP web-blurb for this book is unusually short, probably because it doesn't need to be long:
"Patent Law in Global Perspective addresses critical and timely questions in patent law from a truly global perspective, with contributions from leading patent law scholars from various countries. Offering fresh insights and new approaches to evaluating key institutional, economic, doctrinal, and practical issues, these chapters reflect critical analyses and review developments in national patent laws, efforts to reform the global patent system, and reconfigure geopolitical interests".
Like most omnibus collections, this volume has a subject area but no single theme: it's divided into five Parts, each of which contains a number of essays for which some degree of linkage can be found even if none is immediately apparent.  The five zones of interest are Global Patent Law and the Political Economy of Harmonization [with some refreshingly non-EU perspectives to stimulate the jaded palates of those who have existed exclusively on a diet of European patent harmonisation literature for the past couple of years], Global Approaches to Subject Matter Standards and Patentability [with a punchy piece by Margo Bagley on 'Barbarians at the Gate' and a thoughtful afterthought from former Kat Matthew Fisher on enablement and written description], Patents, Institutions and Innovation Pathways [the least sexy Part but arguably the most interesting], Exceptions and Limits to Patent Protection and TRIPS Compliance, Patent Enforcement and Patent Remedies. OUP and the editors, not to mention the contributors, deserve a collective Katpat for their efforts since they have put together a lovely book -- a pleasure to hold, a joy to read.

Bibliographic data: Hardcover, xxxiii + 734 pages. ISBN: 9780199334278. Price $150.  Rupture factor: not inconsiderable.  Book's web page here.

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Intellectual Property, Innovation And The Environment is yet another collection of papers published by Edward Elgar Publishing, this time under the editorial direction of Peter S. Menell and Sarah M. Peter is Koret Professor of Law and Director, Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, while Sarah is Assistant Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law.  Reads the web-blurb:
"This topical volume brings together seminal papers which explore the interplay of intellectual property, innovation and environmental protection. It traces the emergence of intellectual property as an environmental protection policy lever and examines the interaction of market failures at the intersection of technological progress and environmental protection. Further, it discusses concerns that have been raised about the use of proprietary rights in the service of environmental protection. Finally it considers alternatives to intellectual property, such as subsidies and prizes, which seek to encourage advances in environmental protection technologies".
If this volume gives you a sense of déjà-vu, there may be a reason: it's a 'greatest hits' compendium of 16 articles which have already been published between 1977 and 2012 [Merpel cheekily wonders how many of them she could track down online and read free of charge, but that's another story].  The Environment mentioned in the title is presumably the environment of the United States, since there doesn't seem to be much content or focus that lies outside the US.  That's not to denigrate the individual contributions, all of which have earned their inclusion -- but this Kat does feel that researchers, students, readers and publishers alike are apt to forget that, where the IP law is different, its economic and environmental impact is different too.

Bibliographic data: xi + 727 pages. Hardback. ISBN 978 1 78195 160 6. Price: £240 (online price from the publisher £216). Rupture factor: quite perceptible. Book's web page here.

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The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights: a Commentary, also published by Edward Elgar Publishing, has been put together by the Australian team of Justin Malbon, Charles Lawson and Mark Davison. It's a well-crafted, non-pompous work and one which greatly commends itself to this Kat. The authors effectively let the text of the law itself lead their discussion, guiding the user through it with an economy of expression and with genuinely helpful references rather than the bibliographic blunderbusses with which some modern writers tend to pepper the topic for fear of being thought to have missed one from the list. It's well indexed and easy to navigate too.  According to the publishers' web-blurb:
"This Commentary on the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) provides a detailed textual analysis of TRIPS – a pivotal international agreement on intellectual property rights. ...

This reference book is a major authoritative work that is clearly organised and presented, allowing users to navigate quickly to commentary on any element of TRIPS. The book begins with a context-setting section, providing guidance on interpreting TRIPS. It considers the salient elements of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the WTO Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes, and the preamble to the Agreement Establishing the WTO. The book then follows the seven part structure of TRIPS, and provides an article-by-article analysis of each of its 73 provisions and specifically addresses the interpretation of key phrases in each article".
And that is what you get.  This Kat thinks that this will be his first port of call when researching TRIPS and WTO IP issues in future.

Bibliographic data: lv + 875 pages. Hardback. ISBN 978 1 84542 443 5; ebook ISBN 978 1 78100 604 7. Price £225 (online from the publisher, £202.50). Rupture factor: you bet! Book's web page here.

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