The seventh and latest edition of Russell-Clarke and Howe on Industrial Designs -- has now been published by Sweet & Maxwell and is currently sitting on the IPKat's desk. This work, a much-needed rewrite of the 1995 sixth edition, has been produced in no-nonsense fashion by Martin Howe QC, one of the leading lights in heavyweight IP set 8 New Square.

Martin Howe: his no-nonsense approach doesn't make design law any easier, but it does make it easier to navigate

Anyone involved in design protection in the United Kingdom will know how extraordinarily complex the law currently is. With Community registered and unregistered design rights, UK registered and unregistered rights, artistic copyright and both Community and UK trade mark registration all relevant to aspects of design protection, even a simple object like a drinks bottle or a key-fob can raise problems that transcend the convenient boundaries that mark out the different intellectual property rights.

This hardback contains nearly 1,000 pages, of which only around 40% represent the author's legal analysis rather than the now nearly obligatory blocks of prelims and appendices that bulk out most modern law books. As it happens, design protection is a subject in which appendices are actually quite helpful -- the fact that lawyers must be familiar with two operative versions of the Registered Designs Act 1949 and the difficulty in picking out relevant parts of the UK copyright legislation give testimony to this.

The IPKat notes that it can be difficult to persuade legal practitioners to part with their money for anything to do with design right: it is often perceived as a "minority interest" and even IP practitioners who specialise in design law generally derive only a minority of their income from it. This is why books, conferences and seminars on the subject have all struggled to attract a good and profitable market. This is a shame, given the increasing relevance of the newly-expanded design law to everyday commercial exploitation of new products and the increased volume of IP practice likely to follow in its wake. He hopes this book will succeed: given the effort that has gone into producing it, it certainly deserves to.
BY DESIGN, NOT BY ACCIDENT ... BY DESIGN, NOT BY ACCIDENT ... Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 Rating: 5

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