By Nouf Ali S AlGazlan, PhD Researcher at The City Law School

Law students are always asked to be ‘more critical.’ But what does this really mean? Patrick Goold’s ‘A Critical Introduction to Intellectual Property Law’ is a good example of a book that enables students to deeply engage with philosophical concepts and refine their critical thinking skills. At the book launch last week, on June 11, 2024, a diverse panel of experts engaged in an interesting discussion on the role of interdisciplinary research in Intellectual Property.

The panel consisted of Lord Justice Richard Arnold (Chair), Professor Estelle Derclaye (Nottingham), Professor Justine Pila (Oxford), Professor Martin Kretchmer (Glasgow), Dr Enrico Bonadio (City), and Dr Patrick Goold (City). The panel first introduced their thoughts on the book and then there was an open discussion. A summary of each panel member’s main points is provided below.

Dr. Enrico Bonadio commended Patrick’s decision to empower students as active participants in the learning process. He noted that Patrick achieves this through the inclusion of thought-provoking scenarios and questions that allow for diverse interpretations. According to Dr. Bonadio, this approach fosters critical thinking and enhances the quality of discussions. He drew parallels between this approach and Patrick’s teaching methods, where students are encouraged to critically analyse legal concepts and provide judgements resembling the decision-making process of a judge.

Dr. Bonadio also praised the accessibility of Patrick’s book, highlighting its ability to convey complex topics in clear and understandable language. This, he notes, enables a broader spectrum of students to engage with the material without compromising its depth. Lastly, there were comments on the interdisciplinary nature of the book, which integrates legal principles with economic and philosophical considerations. Patrick’s background in philosophy enriches the text. As a result, readers are motivated to think about the broader ethical and societal impact of Intellectual Property Law.

Professor Estelle Derclaye, on the other hand, looked at the importance of understanding the historical, philosophical, and economic underpinnings of Intellectual Property Law. She also praised the book for providing this comprehensive perspective and shared the importance of empirical studies in shaping Intellectual Property policies, as well as the book’s ability to engage students on the many viewpoints on Intellectual Property. This, in her view, will help students be well-rounded legal professionals.

Professor Martin Kretchmer praised the exceptional clarity and simplicity of the book. He also raised thought-provoking questions about the need for interdisciplinary perspectives to address the current issues in Intellectual Property Law, particularly in the context of e-lending.

Lastly, Professor Justine Pila spoke about the evolution of Intellectual Property education, highlighting, again, the interdisciplinary nature of present teaching approaches. She realises the challenges in balancing, on the one hand, the inside perspective of legal doctrine, and on the other hand, the outside perspective from interdisciplinary research.

Justice Arnold ended the discussion with a few comments generally, and on the book. More generally, Justice Arnold thinks that intellectual property law is inherently interdisciplinary. On the book, he praised Patrick on the thoughtful arrangement and raised interesting questions: Do students really want to think critically? The book launch ended with several questions from the audience, ranging from student engagement and teaching methods, to emerging trends in Intellectual Property Law.

The book launch was a success. Thanks to Patrick, students will now understand what it truly means to be ‘critical’, at least in Intellectual Property Law. So, whether you’re a student aiming to improve your critical thinking skills or an academic looking to foster such skills in others, this book is worth exploring.


It should also be noted that 50% of Patrick Goold’s royalties from the book will be donated to charity: Create.