In Patents for Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology: Fundamentals of Global Law, Practice and Strategy, Philip Grubb and Peter R. Thomsen provide a solid introduction to patent law topics in some of the largest countries, with an emphasis on Europe, Britain, and the USA. Given the importance of global trade and patent protection for products that cross borders, anyone interested in protecting, licensing, or using technology will have a need to understand the basics of patent laws of their home country as well as those abroad.

The book is divided into five parts, beginning with a background on the modern patent system which continues through to attempts to harmonize patent law between countries. While much of this matter is not critical to the main focus of the book, it provides context for how and why the patent systems look like they do today and speculates on the future.

The second part is a primer on patent law and procedure, and is the longest part of the book. It variously focuses on the laws in Europe, Britain, and the USA. While it covered all the basics of patentability, how to file a patent both nationally and through the PCT, prosecution, and enforcement, I felt that already having a good background in patent law was essential to really understanding the contents. Nonetheless, this section is extremely valuable to a patent practitioner because it provides a good understanding of the similarities and differences of other patent systems.

The third part focuses on inventions in chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological fields. As an organic chemist I found this to be the most interesting part of the book. It explained the complexities of patent law as it relates to claims for chemical compounds, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. Given the name of the book, I would like to have seen even more information in these chapters.

The fourth part explains the practical aspects of drafting and prosecuting a patent. The last part covers commercial exploitation of patent rights. It compares ownership in different countries and methods to use patents in a commercial context, such as excluding competition, use as bargaining chips, and patent trolls. This part also generally describes how to catch an infringer, and also how not to get caught (from the standpoint of how not to infringe a valid patent not how to get away with infringement).

Overall Grubb and Thomsen cover a huge number of topics, some in more detail than other. At times the book seemed to assume too much knowledge of patent law. Despite this, there are two extremely valuable and unique parts of the book. First is the explanation of patent laws in several countries and how they differ. The second is patent law as it relates to chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological inventions. The authors have provided not just theoretical information but practical information that can be used by practitioners and inventors alike.

About the Authors

Philip Grubb is an Intellectual Property Consultant; formerly Intellectual Property Counsel, Novartis International AG; Adjunct professor, Franklin Pierce Law Center, Concord, NH.

Peter R. Thomsen is a European Patent Attorney and CEIPI (University of Strasbourg) tutor as well as a lecturer at ETH Zürich, and is currently working as Global Head IP-Policy and Sr Manager IP-Litigation at Novartis International AG.

Patents for Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology: Fundamentals of Global Law, Practice and Strategy is available through Amazon.

Today’s post comes from Guest Barista Scott Conley, a registered patent agent in Frost Brown Todd’s Cincinnati office.

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    Thanks — this looks like a great primer on patents and patent litigation; the comparative patent law sections seem particularly interesting, and also helpful as things continue to go global. Additionally, I’m especially eager to read the pharma and biotech passages.
    http://smallbusiness.aol.com/2010/05/10/how-to-file-a-patent/