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JILT 1997 (3) - Jim McLean

Guy Tritton's

Intellectual Property in Europe

First Supplement

Sweet and Maxwell, 1997 £29.00,
65pp, ISBN 0421 59420 9

Reviewed by
Jim McLean

This is a Book Review published on 31 October 1997.

Citation:McLean J, 'Guy Tritton, Intellectual Property in Europe - First Supplement', Book Review, 1997 (3) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). <>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <>

Such is the pace of developments in intellectual property law in Europe that the author of any book on the subject has to be working on the update even as the work is completed.

Guy Tritton's 'Intellectual Property in Europe' was published in 1996 and stated the law as at 1 October 1995. This First Supplement brings us up to the early part of 1997. That it should appear so soon should dispel any reluctance to invest in hardback books in such a fast moving topic. It raises an expectation that second and subsequent supplements cannot be far behind.

The title 'Intellectual Property in Europe' is broad and daunting. But the author made his purpose clear in the preface to the original print '... an atomised country by country view of intellectual property can be a rather repetitious and arid exercise...I felt that it was better to examine the founding treaties, conventions and legislation and emphasise any substantial differences in their implementation in contracting states.' The reader will not find here a nation-by-nation comparative study. Instead the author focuses primarily on laws and sources of law having a pan-European significance.

The work falls into the category of law book which collates and renders coherent the interaction of sources, cases, legislation and conventions. This and the sheer magnitude of its scope limits the extent to which it can be discursive. The commentary alerts the reader to the issues and indicates how they are being approached by the courts and the legislation. But space does not always permit the kind of discussion which is often appreciated by a practitioner seeking a solution to a problem.

For example, the salient features of the Technology Transfer Block Exemption are given but there is no expansion of the discussion of field-of-use restrictions contained in the main work. That section contained the observation that an 'obligation, patent or know-how licence which restricts the exploitation to one or more technical fields of application will generally fall outside Article 85(1)'. The original Patent Block Exemption did indeed set out in the 'White List' precisely that obligation. The original Know-how Block Exemption, however, tolerated a restriction of exploitation to '... one or more technical fields of application ... or ... one or more product markets'. The current combined Know-how and Patent Exemption now mentions 'product markets' as well as 'technical fields'. Discussions of the issue raised by the consolidation of the terminology may have to await a work with a narrower scope.

At the other end of the scale the work does not set all European laws in a world context. International conventions to which all Member States are party are themselves sources of European Community law and will affect the development of that law and of implementing national laws. This Supplement contains an interesting and succinct discussion of the contrast between first-to-file and first-to-use approaches to trade mark law and links these to the Paris Convention provisions on well-known marks. Perhaps the next one might contain something similar about the relationship between European law and the TRIPS Agreements.

Nothing in these last observations is intended to take away from the overall conclusion that we have here a very comprehensive and useful work which does what it sets out to do.

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