My novel, Patently in Love (now called Girl On The Run) is set in a patent attorney firm. So, naturally, I contacted @IPKat. For those outside of the world of intellectual property, the IPkat blog is a very popular blog about all things patent, trademark and copyright. I’ve read the blog for years but never had anything worthwhile to contribute, so I was delighted to get a mention on it.
Soon after, I found out that another book featuring a patent attorney hero, a thriller this time, had been released on the same day. This prompted me to go and look for other books with patent attorney heroes. Turns out there are a number of them.
Here’s a list, in no particular order (Thanks to the Patently O review list and Google):
Errors and Omissions by Paul Goldstein – A legal thriller featuring copyright law
A Patent Lie by Paul Goldstein – A legal thriller featuring a Markman hearing
Undue Diligence by Paul Haughey – A legal thriller featuring patent trolls
The book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber – A literary/historical detective story involving copyright
Notes of a Patent Attorney by Brian C Coad – I haven’t a clue what this is about. I think it’s a compilation of stories – maybe whimsical, maybe fantasy – the Amazon listing isn’t clear
The patented formula for a multi-armed man by Unno Juza – Japanese Sci Fi/political satire (?)
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson (Calvin’s Dad is a patent attorney – he’s not the main character, but he’s definitely a hero)
The Schmetterling Effect by Ivan Cotter – Adventure thriller
Girl on the Run (formerly Patently in Love) by Me – Romantic comedy – er… not a thriller
It looks like most of these are thrillers. This is probably because most patent attorneys have a background in science and most retired patent attorneys are men (assuming the writing is a hobby, indulged in once the pressures of work have melted away). I think I’ve got my reading list sorted for the rest of the year.
Of course there are patent attorneys who write novels which do not involve IP – Michelle Paver (author of the Wolf Brother series) is the most obvious example, but I’m sure there are others.
It’s not surprising that IP attorneys and examiners would turn to writing. After all, these are people who have to painstakingly explain the difference between ‘comprising’ and ‘consisting of’ on a regular basis. (If you’re not used to them, patent claims can read like cryptic crossword clues).
Just for fun, I thought I’d try writing a set of claims for my story. But then I found this online: http://www.plotpatents.com and decided to give up and go to bed.