The Legal Theory Bookworm recommends Patent Wars: How Patents Impact Our Daily Lives on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Patents are ubiquitous in contemporary life. Practically everything we use incorporates one or more patented inventions, and recent years have witnessed epic disputes over such matters as the patenting of human genes, the control of smartphone design and technology, the marketing of patented drugs, and the conduct of "patent trolls" accused of generating revenue from nuisance litigation. But what exactly is a patent? Why do governments grant them? Can patents simultaneously encourage new invention, while limiting monopoly and other abuses?
In Patent Wars, Thomas Cotter, one of America's leading patent law scholars, offers an accessible, lively, and up-to-date examination of the current state of patent law, showing how patents affect everything from the food we eat to the cars we drive to the devices that entertain and inform us. Beginning with a general overview of patent law and litigation, the book addresses such issues as the patentability of genes, medical procedures, software, and business methods; the impact of drug patents and international treaties on the price of health care; trolls; and the smartphone wars. Taking into account both the benefits and costs that patents impose on society, Cotter highlights the key issues in current debates and explores what still remains unknown about the effect of patents on innovation.
An essential one-volume analysis of the topic, Patent Wars explains why patent laws exist in the first place and how we can make the system better.
And from the reviews:
"Patent Wars is a big-picture look at how patents impact the cost and speed of technological innovation - and thus our everyday lives - written by a legal scholar who understands the patent regime down to its nitty-gritty details. Thomas Cotter weaves together compelling stories and sound economic reasoning for an enlightening introduction to some of patent law's most contentious and high-profile controversies." - Kevin Emerson Collins, Professor of Law, Washington University Law School
"Patent disputes increasingly dominate the news and affect our daily lives, from access to life saving drugs and diagnostic tests to battles over mobile phones and other vital platform technologies. Professor Thomas Cotter provides a sophisticated, balanced, and readable survey of the patent system that will illuminate patent specialists, scientists, engineers, students, and the general public alike. By demystifying the most salient patent controversies, Patent Wars offers valuable insights into the important roles that patents play in the Information Age." - Peter S. Menell, Koret Professor of Law and Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, University of California-Berkeley
"The patent system touches almost every life in innumerable ways, yet it remains opaque and mysterious. Written by a renowned specialist in the intellectual property field, this book explains, in crystal clear language, both the basics of this system and the way it continues to impact crucial contemporary technologies, from DNA to cell phones. Thomas Edison famously invented (and patented) the light bulb, but after you have learned from the entertaining and deeply knowledgeable Professor Cotter, you will never again be in the dark when it comes to this most interesting and important part of the law." - Rob Merges, Professor of Law, University of California-Berkeley