“A patent lie” – a book tip from the IP world!

In Insights, Uncategorized

28 August, 2008

Today we have a somewhat unusual contribution on our IP blog: a good book tip for you who work as an IP consultant! Patent attorney Christian Arkelius has read “A Patent Lie” by Paul Goldstein:

A Patent Lie is a legal thriller that transforms intellectual property practice into a tale of murder and conspiracy. I enjoyed this book, mostly because it makes us patent attorneys become heroes for once!

Here is an abstract from the publisher, Doubleday Publishing:

Forced out of his high-powered Manhattan law firm and stuck in a dead-end solo practice, Michael Seeley […], cannot say no when his estranged brother, Leonard, head of research at upstart biotech Vaxtek, Inc., flies in from California to beg him to take over the company’s lawsuit for patent infringement of its pathbreaking AIDS vaccine after the sudden death of the lead trial lawyer. The financial and moral stakes of the case are staggering, and Seeley suspects that murder cannot be ruled out as a hardball litigation tactic of big-pharma adversary St. Gall Laboratories.

As Seeley travels between San Francisco and Silicon Valley to prepare for trial, dark facts surface concerning the vaccine’s discovery by Vaxtek scientist Alan Steinhardt and its alleged theft by St. Gall researcher Lily Warren. Ethical quandaries deepen into mortal danger as the trial, under the stern prodding of federal judge Ellen Farnsworth, rushes to its unexpected end. A timely and fascinating look at how the law operates at its most arcane yet financially consequential, A Patent Lie is further evidence that Paul Goldstein is an emerging master of the legal thriller.

In my opinion, this is not a perfect novel. However, it is indeed well-written and it can be read by everyone, i.e. not only IP lawyers and patent attorneys. Nevertheless, I do think that this book will be most appreciated by readers who are themselves patent practitioners. A Patent Lie explains in a novel what a patent is, why patents are important, how an invention such as an AIDS vaccine can be protected and how a US patent litigation works. Therefore, I personally think that this book is worth reading by e.g. trainee patent attorneys who are in the beginning of their careers. Although the book is focused on the US patent law and practice, it could also give trainee patent attorneys in Europe a “feeling” of what life as a patent attorney could be like.

Christian Arkelius, Patent Attorney

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