Tuesday, November 09, 2010

IP Dragon's Book Review: Invisible Gold in Asia

Professor David Llewelyn (King's College London and IP Academy, Singapore) wrote an exceptional book that will appeal to both laypeople and IP professionals. Although Invisible Gold in Asia does not aim to be a scholarly book (for example there are no footnotes), the book could not be written by a non-scholar. For laypeople the book lays out the intricacies of intellectual property rights and their relationships to wealth creation, a topic incredibly comprehensive and therefore almost unmanageable, in digestible parts. For the IP professionals the book is a treasure of anecdotes worth knowing and sketches the whole field of IP in Asia, and thereby giving some crucial context even to IP professionals, since most of them cover only some part of intellectual property rights, and their focus is often geographically limited. Professor Llewelyn's educational capabilities are charged by years of teaching a critical mass of students. Therefore when he touches upon a complex subject, he goes just deep enough into the matter to convey the essence of the subject. When you read the easy flowing book, you will notice that Professor Llewelyn not only wants to illuminate the obscure world of IP, but he has a message as well: basically he wants to wake up everybody inside and outside of Asia that IP, will be of crucial importance for Asia in the coming years. Professor Llewelyn rightly divides two markets for the world of IP: the USA and the rest of the world. But the role of Asia and the role of IP in Asia will become ever more important. And he tries to make the reader aware that IP rights are not mere liabilities, but they could be valuable assets. The book is structured in two parts. In part I Professor Llewelyn is going on a tour de force as he gives an overview of all intellectual property rights and their different characteristics. He can do this like no other, see here. In part II he gives describes the Asian IP landscape: Japan, the Little Dragons/Tigers (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Singapore), China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Vietnam, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia. My favorite chapters where about the Little Dragons (or Little Tigers) and China. Professor Llewelyn sketches in a few sentences a mini-biography of some highly interesting Chinese companies with iconic brands and IP, such as Li Ning, Haier Group, Mengniu, Huawei, ZTE etc. Before the text Professor Llewelyn put a great maxim: "Don't make the mistake of thinking something is valuable merely because you can measure it. It is far better to work out what you can value and then see if you can measure it." That same maxim could not only be applied to IP, but to reading a book such as Invisible Gold in Asia as well.

If you want to get an overview of IP in Asia, this is the book to read. If you are an IP professional the book is the perfect present to give to clients, so that they can learn about the importance of IP, or to give to your spouse, or friends, so that they can get a clue about what you are doing.

Invisible Gold in Asia, Creating Wealth Through Intellectual Property, can be bought at Marshall Cavendish Business.

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