THIS is a work of considerable pretensions. We see by his preface that Mr. Edmunds claims to have produced a comprehensive treatise, dealing exhaustively with Patent law and practice, and when we mention that the book runs, in this its first edition, to upwards of 900 pages, our readers may be disposed to think that the author must have achieved his purpose. On a closer inspection, however, the formidable proportions of the work become greatly diminished. We find that the actual text of the book is only some 425 pages, the remaining 515 pages being supplied by statutes, Patent rules, international regulations, voluminous forms, and an index. We have always understood that a legal text-book ought to be in form as concise, and we might almost say as condensed, as possible, consistently with the importance of the subject-matter. Mr. Edmunds does not appear, however, to pay much regard to this wholesome rule. We rarely remember to have seen a legal text-book more gratuitously padded out than the work now before us. To take one illustration, the author devotes nearly 200 pages to printing the Patent Acts 1883-1888, twice over, for what good purpose we are at a loss to understand. The notes which are appended to what we must, under the circumstances, call the first edition of the Patent Acts 1883-1888, are of considerable value, but we cannot approve the system of cross references, by means of which the author seeks to incorporate, under various sections of the Acts, passages from the preceding text. By this device, Mr. Edmunds seems to have attempted to combine in one volume two inconsistent methods of text writing—the method which constructs a book by noting the sections of an Act, and the method which, relegating the statutes to an appendix, makes the body of the text a continuous treatise. There is much to be said for each method. Mr. Lawson's admirable work on Patent practice is an excellent illustration of the first; and the now old but well-known work of Mr. Hindmarch on Letters Patent is a felicitous adoption of the second. But we do not think a cross between the two can ever be satisfactory. Considering how fully Mr. Lawson's work meets the needs of practice, and how much more convenient it is in point of size than the book now before us, we think Mr. Edmunds would have done better to have devoted himself to the production of a treatise on substantive law only. A new work on Patent practice was not required by the legal profession, but a new work on substantive Patent law has long been a public desideratum; and we think the present author, with his industry and evident ability, might well have supplied that want. We are afraid, however, that that want still remains to be supplied.
The Law and Practice of Letters Patent for Inventions; with the Patents Acts and Rules annotated, and the International Convention, a Full Collection of Statutes, Forms, and Precedents, and an Outline of Foreign and Colonial Patent Laws, &c.
By Lewis Edmunds, of the Inner Temple, Esq., Barrister-at-Law; assisted by A. Wood Renton, M.A., LL.B., of Gray's Inn, Esq., Barrister-at-Law. (London: Stevens and Sons, Limited.)
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