Sunday 19 May 2013

A Dictionary of Intellectual Property Law (A review)

Peter Groves recently* published the Dictionary of Intellectual Property Law. This book is an extremely useful compendium of all the mysterious IP terms which are commonly used by lawyers, in contracts, in judgments and in government consultations in the UK, Europe and USA. Each concept has a pithy description including cross references to other terms where this would be useful.

The dictionary even covers things you might not, at first glance, associate with IP law such as AdWords and zoetropes. Naturally, the IPKat gets a special mention!

 If you want a second opinion here are some of the (publisher selected) comments on the book when it was first published:

‘Confused between community patent review and community patents? Lost in a thicket of dockets, rocket or otherwise? Let Peter Groves’ Dictionary of Intellectual Property Law be your guide. Filling almost 500 often lighthearted, occasionally acerbic, but invariably fact-packed pages, the book takes you from the ActionAid Chip and the Air Pirates case through BIRPI, Cognating, Dockets, Evergreening; Jepson, Pedrick’s cat and Simkins; PHOSITA, Trundlehumpers, the verb “to Uncopyright” and X-Patents, all the way to Zwart maken. Essential reading.’ – David Musker, Partner, RGC Jenkins & Co.

 ‘Do not be put off by the word “dictionary”. This is a fascinating, witty and erudite little volume, packed with interesting and useful information on the whole gamut of intellectual property. It leaves one (this one anyway) hungering for more and wanting to delve more deeply into fields that have nothing to do with earning one’s daily bread.’ – Tony McStea, Senior Patent Attorney, Global Patents, Givaudan Schweiz AG

If you bought the book and it’s missing a key term or the definition hasn't helped to untangle to confusion, fear not. New definitions are suggested and refined on the IP Dictionary blawg ( where users can even suggest new terms for inclusion in the next edition.

This book should be of use for everyone interested in the world of IP law from the aspiring student, to the lawyer. It is written so clearly and comprehensively that it is hopefully also useful for artists seeking to better understand and enforce their rights.

The paperback edition is available online for around £20. The author, Peter Groves, amongst many other things, writes for the Ipso Jure blog (

 *OK, so not that recently, Feb 2011. But the paperback edition is much more recent!

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