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On top of all the blogs, law journals, and case updates that I read each day, I also make sure to set aside time to read one Intellectual Property or Tech law book each month.  When I find a book that might be useful for clients, I’ll post a quick review:

Intellectual Property: The Tough New Realities That Could Make or Break Your Business by Paul Goldstein, Stanford Law School.

GoldsteinThe Amazon description:

“The definitive guide to intellectual property for business managers.

How can a product of the mind—an innovation, a song, a logo, a business secret—become the subject of precise property rights? No idea is entirely original; every innovative business borrows, sometimes extensively, from its competitors and others. So how do we draw the line between fair and unfair use?

Billions of dollars ride on that question, as do the fates of publishers, software producers, drug companies, advertising firms, and many others. It’s also a key question for individuals—for instance, if you quit your job after mastering the company’s secrets, what can you do with that information?

With the growth of the internet and global markets, having a smart IP strategy is more essential than ever. Intellectual Property is the ideal book for non-lawyers who deal with patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyrights—all essential business issues that have changed rapidly in the last few years.

Every business decision that involves IP is also a legal decision, and every legal decision is also a business decision. Lawyers and managers need to work together to navigate these murky waters, and this book shows how.”

My take:

Paul Goldstein is a frequent author on intellectual property topics.  In fact, he’s written all types of books…fiction novels, treatises, textbooks and “General Interest” works like the book above.  I recall using one of his IP textbooks back in law school.

Intellectual Property: The Tough New Realities That Could Make or Break Your Business provides a nice ground-level view of intellectual property.  Each area of IP law (patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret) is placed into historical context, helping the reader understand the current state of the law and to identify trends for the future.   Goldstein provides the principles and rationales behind our laws, to help the reader understand the ongoing struggle to define the boundaries of IP protection.  The book also details the influence of heavyweight industries (biotech, software/electronics, movie studios and music labels) in expanding and contracting IP law via lobbying and strategic litigation.  Besides being useful to anyone with an interest in basic intellectual property law, this book can also be helpful to experienced IP attorneys in that it can suggest new ways to express complicated IP concepts in layman terms.

“The central lesson of this book is that every decision involving intellectual assets is ultimately a legal decision, and that every legal decision is at bottom a business decision. If intellectual property is economically too important to be left to lawyers, it is also too legally charged to be left to managers.”