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Paul Haughey, an IP partner at Townsend and Townsend and Crew in San Francisco, has a new appreciation for how hard it is to write. After all, it took him some 20 years of off and on writing to finish his first novel. “You may have great ideas,” says Haughey. “But you put it on paper and it doesn’t look as good as it did in your head.” He describes his book, “Undue Diligence,” as an intellectual property thriller, which may or may not portend a new sub-genre within legal fiction. The story unfolds much the same way as the recently settled BlackBerry case, in which NTP sued Research in Motion for patent infringement, nearly wiping all those ubiquitous BlackBerry devices off the face of the planet. Haughey’s tale explores so-called patent trolls’ “abusive use of patents to extort money and hold up legitimate products.” But more is at stake in the novel than the commercial viability of a handheld device. Patent attorney Joe Nile’s client, Telekinetics, has developed a medicine that could save thousands of lives imperiled by a viral epidemic that is threatening to engulf the world. The product is threatened when a “patent troll” convinces a clueless jury to ban further sales. Ultimately, Nile is forced to work for the patent troll who has destroyed his client, doing “due diligence” in preparation for the troll’s IPO. While it is unlikely that “Undue Diligence” � which Haughey has a published through an online publication-on-demand company � will land on any best-seller lists, the book’s topic is certainly timely. With Supreme Court patent cases, potential PTO rule changes and pending congressional reforms in the news, a patent-related thriller could well land on the summer reading lists of some patent attorneys.

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