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JILT 1998 (1) - Megan Macgregor 1

Alison Firth, Shelley Lane, Yvonne Smyth (Eds)

Readings in Intellectual Property Law

A Selection of Articles from EIPR and Ent. L.R

Sweet & Maxwell 1998, £30.00
v + 560 pp, ISBN 0-421-580-208

Reviewed by
Megan Macgregor
Napier University
me.macgregor@napier.ac.uk


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This is a Book Review published on 27 February 1998.

Citation:Macgregor M, 'Alison Firth et al, Readings in Intellectual Property Law: A Selection of Articles from EIPR and Ent. L.R ', Book Review, 1998 (1) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/bookrev/98_1macg/>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/1998_1/macgregor1/>


1. Introduction

The editors of this compilation have produced a selection of articles to support teaching intellectual property law at undergraduate and postgraduate level. In the Preface, Mesdames Firth, Lane and Smyth explain that the selection process involved trying to 'strike a balance between the different areas of intellectual property law as it appears on the pages of the European Intellectual Property Review and its sister publication, the Entertainment Law Review'. Both the EIPR and the Ent.L.R. are published by Sweet and Maxwell and it would be fair to say that this publication would have benefited from the use of a wider range of commentaries drawn from other periodicals. Alternatively a reading list could have been appended at the end to enable students to find other useful reading materials.

2. Commentaries

The articles themselves are all thought provoking. Most intellectual property texts strive to make a complex area of law comprehensible to the uninitiated. For students attempting to complete coursework or dissertations at Honours level and beyond there is often a paucity of material available in university law libraries. Many institutions simply cannot afford subscriptions to specialist law journals and for them this volume represents good value for money. For the student, all intellectual property life is here in sufficient depth to encourage a more analytical approach to examination questions and essays. The book itself is divided into 8 sections:- General Aspects of Intellectual Property, Copyright, Designs, Passing Off, Trade Marks, Patents and Related Rights, Breach of Confidence and Remedies.

Some of the keynote articles have appeared elsewhere but are still well worth a look. Justice Laddie's 'Copyright: Over-strength, Over regulated and Over-rated' by Mr Justice Laddie, for example was included most recently in the Hume Papers on Public Policy: Volume 5, No. 3 'Innovation, Incentive and Reward : Intellectual Property Law & Policy'. Anyone who is seriously interested in the regulation of intellectual property rights in general, and copyright in particular should take time to carefully consider the points that he raises. Some of the contributions relate to issues which have not received much of an airing in other publications. David Bradshaw's 'Fair Dealing and the Clockwork Orange Case: A Thieve's Charter' is a very welcome contribution as reference to this case is often omitted from other intellectual property books.

There are, however, some curious omissions from this volume. Gary Lea's reply to Mark Sherwood-Edwards article 'The Redundancy of Originality' ( which appeared in (1995) 3 Ent. LR) summarises the main points of Mr Sherwood-Edwards' arguments but the article itself is not included although it appeared in the same publication. Similarly, in the Trade Marks section the lively debate between Peter Prescott and Anselm Kamperman Sanders sparked by the Wagamama case is extremely entertaining but the original section by Mr Kamperman Sanders which provided the fuel for the fire ((1996) 1 EIPR 3) is not in this collection. If the editors are trying to encourage students to take an analytical approach to legal reasoning in this area, previous work being referred to by contributors should whenever possible be included.

There are no contributions dealing specifically with Scots law. This is disappointing particularly as Bravado Merchandising Services Limited v Mainstream Publishing (Edinburgh) Limited 1996 SLT 597, 1996 SCLR 1, OH was one of the first cases decided under the Trade Marks Act 1994 Clare Elliot's article 'Wet, Wet, Wet :- Sweet Little Mystery Remains' (Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, February, 1996, page 63) could happily have been included in this collection, but would have been excluded as it does not appear in either the EIPR or the Ent.L.R.

3. Conclusion

While the book goes some way towards filling an obvious gap in the available literature it would have been even more valuable if the editors had included seminal articles from other journals. It is extremely useful to have articles which are otherwise difficult to access in one place and if a wider range of materials had been collected for this purpose, this book would have been a market leader.

The cost of the book, although reasonable for a law library is unlikely to tempt most undergraduates. It is suspected that at this price few students will actually buy the book, choosing instead to consult it in the library or worse, to photocopy the relevant sections for private study at home. On behalf of students everywhere, publishers are cordially requested to lower the cost of useful texts. In the case of this collection a cover price of £15.00 - £20.00 would have been very reasonable. Lower unit costs would be likely to increase sales and, consequently, the audience that books like these deserve to receive.

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