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American Bar Association

ABA Section of Business Law


Business Law Today

Speaking volumes
Reviewed by Reviewed by Marcia Tuten Greci, PhD
A solid reference on basic patent issues
Patents for Business: The Manager's Guide to Scope, Strategy, and Due Diligence
By M. Henry Heines
Praeger Publishers
2007, 195 pages, $54.95
ISBN 0-275-99337-X

Written as a guide for non-patent practitioners, Patents for Business: The Manager's Guide to Scope, Strategy, and Due Diligence, by M. Henry Heines, is a good introduction to the whys and wherefores of patent practice. The book starts with an introduction to the importance of due diligence and continues to describe patentability, claiming strategies, searching strategies, as well as strategies for defending and exploiting patent portfolios. The book concludes with a discussion on nonpatent strategies for protecting intellectual property, including interim protection for inventions such as nondisclosure agreements and provisional patent applications. Patents for Business also includes a glossary of common terms used in patent practice, which should be helpful as a quick reference for the nonpractitioner and practitioner, alike.

This book is recommended as a starting point for a businessperson faced with the challenges of starting and/or managing a patent portfolio. This businessperson would find the clear, concise definitions and explanations of patent strategies useful at providing background, leading to further, detailed discussions with a patent practitioner. A reading of the book also would enable a more in-depth analysis with a patent practitioner because a basic understanding of the important issues would already have been provided to the non-patent practitioner.

The book is also a useful reference as a refresher for a businessperson faced with a patent issue with which he or she is unfamiliar. For example, some patent issues, such as patent interferences, are often uncommon and may seem overwhelming to non-patent practitioners. The approachable explanation of interference practice included in Patents for Business will aid in the initial understanding of the issues involved in the event an interference should arise.

Patents for Business does not give detailed explanations of the various patent issues and strategies discussed, but that was not the intention of the author or the book. The author achieves his stated goal of providing ". . . a sophisticated and thorough, yet accessible, resource that the manager will use again and again as patent matters arise." By providing the introductory patent information many non-patent practitioners need, Heines's book fills a niche in a market in which many books are directed to patent practitioners and gloss over the basics of patent law.

At $54.95, Patents for Business is a practical investment for business managers and other non-patent practitioners to use in the development and management of their companies' patent portfolios. An understanding of the issues presented and explained in the book will enable readers to more fully participate with their patent lawyers in making the decisions necessary to build strong, sustainable patent portfolios, thereby increasing the overall value of their businesses.
Greci is a patent attorney in the Greenville, South Carolina, office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. Her e-mail is marcia.greci@nelsonmullins.com.

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