|Hedy Lamarr: litigation-|
Larry's first venture into patent management literature, True Patent Value: Defining Quality in Patents and Patent Portfolios, was published in the summer of 2013 [details here; reviewed on IP Finance here]. Since then, no doubt buoyed by the positive experience, Larry has come out with two books in relatively quick succession. The first, Litigation-Proof Patents, generated the immediate reaction of this Kat that there is no such thing as a litigation-proof patent -- but the book has much more to it than the title suggests. The second, Patent Portfolios: Quality, Creation, and Cost, is immensely practical. Unlike Litigation-Proof Patents, which also addresses people who write patents, Patent Portfolios speaks principally to those good folk who are supposed to do things with them once they've been granted. Both these titles are noted below.
Litigation-Proof Patents: Avoiding the Most Common Patent Mistakes came out as a red-covered paperback back in October 2014 (Larry colour-codes his books. True Patent Value is blue, Patent Portfolios is green). It is available via Amazon here.
This tome, at 223 pages, is the perfect companion for a transatlantic flight and will still leave time to eat, sleep and watch a movie. The book is a handy size, the text reads as though it has been practised on an intelligent but busy audience, the print is large and clear, the footnotes are infrequent, interesting and non-intimidatory and the tabulated information is lucidly laid out. The content of the book carries a bias towards a US readership, but that does not mean that it has no message for the wider world.
Larry's scheme for this book is simple. Its theme is that there exist ten cardinal errors that are made with regard to patents, and that there is a correlation between one's ability to avoid making those areas and one's chance of avoiding unwanted litigation over them. While principles are articulated. Larry is at his happiest when discussing individual instances and specific patents. Picked out for special attention are three key patents: (i) the World War II frequency-hopping patent of actress Hedy Lamarr, (ii) the patents for the Monopoly board game, (iii) Apple's“slide-to-unlock” mobile phone patent. Through his examples and teaching, Larry seeks to give patent evaluators a better means of establishing whether patents under review suffer from value-destroying mistakes -- and we all know, though rarely like to admit, that the most painful mistakes in patent practice are the ones we inflict upon ourselves and have no one else to blame for.
This book asks and sets out to answer three questions: (i) what is an excellent patent portfolio? (ii) how is it possible to obtain an excellent patent portfolio? and (iii) what is the cost of obtaining an excellent patent portfolio? Naturally, a book of around 300 pages is not going to provide a set of definitive answers that cover all technologies in all jurisdictions and under all economic conditions. However, the making of effective references to specific portfolios, some of which are a good deal more excellent than others, enables the reader to gain a measure of skill in ready-reckoning in sizing up a bunch of patents and deciding whether they present a balanced cohort of related rights, a random rabble of unrelated ones or something in between. The reviews of the Check Point, Fuji Photo, Silanis and Qualcomm patent portfolios and their points than can be drawn from a comparison of them are by themselves a good enough reason to read this book.