Book Review

Special Topics in Intellectual Property; Twiss-Brooks, A., Ed.; ACS Symposium Series 1055; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2010, $150.00 (Hardcover).  128 pages.  ISBN: 9780841225947.

(Disclaimer:  the reviewer wrote one chapter of this book and reviewed, pre-publication, one of the other chapters.  His pre-publication knowledge of the remainder of the book was limited to article titles.)

This book is based on the symposium, "IP to IP: Intellectual Property for Information Professionals," organized by Leah Solla, Andrea Twiss-Brooks, and Pamela J. Scott and presented at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Wed. Aug. 19, 2009, Washington, DC.  Of the six papers presented in the symposium, five appear as chapters in this book, and five additional chapters on related topics have been added.  The book includes an index and contact information for authors of chapters. 

In the introduction, Pamela Scott outlines the scope of the symposium (and therefore, the book) as the intersection of the fields of intellectual property (IP) and information science, in which the key players are lawyers, other IP specialists, educators, searchers, librarians, and consultants.  Readers of this book, as well as most of those in attendance at the symposium, are likely acquainted with the authors and editors.

Renate Chancellor leads off with "Copyright in the Information Age," describing copyright from the viewpoint of librarians, who often find themselves squeezed between the needs of publishers and those of their clients.  Lawrence Robins follows with a chapter, "Copyright Basics," an excellent primer on copyright from the legal standpoint, including ownership, rights, and things that can and cannot be copyrighted.  Although both authors cover Fair Use, neither seems to discuss the recent and often contentious issues surrounding Open Publishing and Open Access.  The next chapter, also by Robins is entitled, "A Guide to Trademark Selection, Clearance, and Use" and discusses a number of topics, including registration, priorities, and searching.  These three chapters provide valuable information and background on those aspects of IP not covered nearly as well as patents.

Robert Buntrock follows with "Careers in Intellectual Property."  In this chapter he expands his contribution to Chapter 20 in the Chemical Information Sources Wiki ("Careers in Chemistry," http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Chemical_Information_Sources/Careers_in_Che...) and stresses the need for educational background in chemistry and other sciences for these careers.  Pat Newcombe then presents a chapter, "Interviews with Professionals in the Field."  She interviews eight IP professionals: three patent attorneys, two patent educators, a patent agent, a patent searcher, and a technology specialist.  Via Q&A, they recount the nature of their work, applicability of their education, methods of maintaining their skills, advantages/disadvantages, and future developments.

The book closes with four chapters on educational aspects of intellectual property.  Lucy Akers describes "Continuous Learning," including mentoring, online services, universities, libraries, associations, patent offices, and certification.  John Calvert writes "Educating the Inventor Community" from the viewpoint of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Edlyn Simmons describes "The PERI Patent Information Course," with which she has long been associated.  PERI (PMA Education and Research Institute) provides courses sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, and Simmons describes the course’s background and curriculum.  Robert Stembridge concludes with "Education and Certification of Patent Information Professionals in Europe." 

This book should be a resource for IP professionals, especially those dealing with the information and education aspects of the related fields.  Those new to or contemplating entering the field will find this book especially valuable.  At $1.17 per page, this book is an expensive purchase, especially for non-subsidized individuals, but it is a good product and could be valuable to a wider audience.  However, one should question the impact of very expensive symposium books, which are so highly priced as to limit the market.  In all fairness, the price will make the book less attractive for individual, as opposed to library, purchase.

Robert E. Buntrock
Buntrock Associates
Orono, ME
buntrock16@myfairpoint.net