Guide To Intellectual Property, by Tim Yearneau
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Having read a book by the author previously from Net Gallery, I asked the author to send the other book of his that was about a topic of obvious personal interest, namely intellectual property. As anyone who views my voluminous writing in a wide variety of genres or is aware of the activities of my life, I produce a large degree of intellectual property and where I am not producing it, I am involved in questions of publishing as well as performance rights, all of which tends to give me a great deal of interest in the subject . My view tends to be somewhat complicated, but that is because I am both a producer of intellectual property as well as a consumer of the intellectual property of others. Not all people will find this book practical, but if you are someone who has ideas that you want to explore, or a desire to market something or create something, you will likely have some interest in the subject of intellectual property and find some use in this particular guide.
As a guide this book is pretty short, at under 100 pages, and while it has a few typos and could stand to have a more exciting graphic design, it certainly accomplishes what it sets out to do with a high degree of competence as well as originality. The materials of this guide are divided into nine chapters after the author introduces his expertise as an instructor of the material. The guide opens with a discussion of patents and trade secrets (1) and then moves on to a discussion of copyrights (2). After this, the rest of the guide focuses mainly on trademarks, starting with the basics (3), then moving on to a history of trademarks and landmark court cases regarding them (4), a discussion of how they can be obtained (5), and how they can be lost (6) as well as protected (7), and some modern examples of them (8). After all, one cannot simply rollerblade over to pick up a coke from the machine next to the xerox, and one cannot use them while riding up the escalator with some cellophane and a thermos without looking at least a bit strange (rollerblade, coke, xerox, escalator, cellophane, and thermos all being brand names that I grew up using as generic nouns). The author then closes the guide with a discussion of licensing and litigation and includes how to connect with the writer as well as some appendices.
One of the aspects that gives this book a great deal of personality is the way that the author includes some real life examples licensed. He deserves some points for bravery by attempting to defend the RIAA’s controversial policy of suing people who downloaded pirated .mp3 files in the late 90’s and early 2000’s (right here!) while also praising their shift to encouraging internet service providers to police such matters better themselves. Perhaps the most intriguing stories, though, involve the trade secrets of the Coke and KFC formulas, and how Pepsi stood with Coca-Cola to bust intellectual property thieves because to act favorably to industrial espionage would be to admit a need to practice such skullduggery in order to prosper, which would be a fatal admission in the highly competitive beverage marketplace. This is a guide that offers its readers practical information (including the advice to hire competent help) while also providing some insight into the psychological aspects of intellectual property, and is overall an excellent work.
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