The third edition of this popular title, is an essential resource for patent lawyers and attorneys. Written by some of the most eminent IP practitioners in the UK [though one of the three has relocated to the United States, as if there weren't enough patent lawyers there in the first place], 'The Modern Law of Patents' offers a fresh and comprehensive exposition of the law relating to patents in the UK and Europe.That's all. There's also a remarkably laconic flavour to the publisher's purchasing information. Under the heading 'Availability' there comes the single word 'Available' and, for 'Format', the data is simply 'Print'. After decades of discounting the fulsome praise that publishers heap on their latest intellectual property titles, this Kat found himself mourning its absence and pining for all the usual superlatives about the book being a "ground-breaking title", a "must-read", "vital", a "timely addition to the literature", and the like. Only the bit about being "essential" was there. This unbecoming modesty is grim news for this Kat, whose next publication is being brought out by the same publisher later this year.
One might almost suspect that LexisNexis wasn't hoping to sell too many copies of this lovely but highly expensive tome so that they could save them for themselves. This approach to marketing rather reminds this Kat of a conversation he had some years ago with an IP owner that had tried to instruct a Magic Circle firm but failed. "Basically", he said, "they told me they didn't do that sort of work; even if they did, they were far too busy to do it for me, and then they told me that I couldn't afford them anyway".
Of the book itself, much can be said. The text is, as far as the authors (and this Kat) can ascertain, current to 15 July 2014. That such a large and complex volume can be turned round so speedily is a remarkable feat which speaks volumes (ouch!) for the degree of cooperation which the authorial triumvirate must have achieved with the publisher and with one another. While the book is vast, it's only fair to concede that the text stops a bit further than half way, at page 1,346, the remaining 1,000+ pages being consumed by appendices and index.
Curiously, given the major changes that have irrevocably changed the landscape of patent law in Europe, the authors describe this edition as more of an evolution than a revolution, probably because the main changes in the form of the unitary patent and the unified patent court are more in the nature of add-ons than anything else. This Kat has just done some dabbling in the vast text and finds it pleasurably clear (more than can be said for many of the European Patent Office Board of Appeal decisions he sees, which sometimes seem to have all the fun and all the interest surgically removed from them before they are issued). He wishes this massive tome, and its authors, all the best for the future and looks forward to seeing future editions.
Bibliographic data: hardback, cclix (yes, that's 259 pages of contents, tables and sundries before the book even starts) + 2,361 pages. Price £325. ISBN 9781405787376. Rupture factor: substantial. Book's web page here.
* In not-very-alphabetical order they are barristers Ashley Roughton and Phillip Johnson, plus solicitor and veteran IP guru Trevor Cook. By all accounts the largest part of the burden of putting this work together fell on Phillip Johnson's sturdy shoulders. Well done, Phill!