Intellectual Property Culture: Strategies to Foster Successful Patent and Trade Secret Practices in Everyday Business, by Eric M. Dobrusin and Ronald A. Krasnow, Oxford University Press, 2008, softcover, 392 pages, $135, ISBN13: 978-0-19-533833-1, ISBN10: 0-19-533833-2.
Intellectual property (IP) encompasses patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and related intangible rights. This one-volume reference provides a thorough introduction to IP rights and strategies. The book’s stated purpose is “to help attorneys and executives build a business culture in which the development and management of intellectual property is as painless–and productive–as possible.” On these terms it succeeds completely, touching on all fundamental concepts of this important area of law, with an emphasis on patent protection.
The first several chapters cover how to create a vital intellectual property culture in an organization. Early sections include discussions on the reasons IP is important, training employees on handling IP processes and procedures, determining costs involved, choosing suitable IP counsel, and how to respect both your own and others’ IP rights. Later chapters cover strategies for developing, sharing, and transferring intellectual property and the importance of confidentiality and security in protecting IP assets. The final chapter contains extremely useful guides to international considerations. The book concludes with several case studies and appendices of sample agreements and policies.
The book is full of sound practical advice (such as “only get patents that you will walk into court and enforce,” and “good IP cultures will distinguish between innovation and patentability”). Methods for protecting various types of IP are discussed. Sections are devoted to both offensive and defensive IP management strategies. Licensing, determining royalty rates, and deciding when litigation is the appropriate course of action are explained at length. I particularly enjoyed the section on understanding the nuances of patent claim construction. The explanation of patent validity is also very enlightening. Chapters are peppered with interesting charts that detail some of the concepts explained.
The text suffers from numerous annoying typos and at least one unfortunately placed hyphen that renders a URL difficult to decipher. Important terms are sparsely defined; a separate glossary would have been helpful instead of referring the reader to Black’s Law Dictionary. The book is heavily footnoted with numerous references to significant case citations with explanations of their importance. These citations definitely enhance the text, but a separate index of cases would have been welcome. However, these minor transgressions do not significantly detract from this excellent work.
The authors have extensive intellectual property experience, evident in this publication. The book is an excellent overview of the complexities of successfully acquiring and protecting IP. It is recommended for any law student, attorney, or librarian who needs an introduction into understanding and managing this increasingly important practice area. It is also highly recommended for business executives responsible for intellectual property management and decision-making. Attorneys specializing in intellectual property or those with an existing background in IP will probably prefer more comprehensive, in-depth procedural treatises.
Reviewed by Donna M. Fisher (Dfisher@senniger.com), law librarian at Senniger Powers LLP in St. Louis.