Enhancing The Author Experience

In Legal Educational Publishing

In both the legal and educational worlds, a lot can change in a short space of time. Information typically needs regular and precise updating. So it’s needless to say that the process of authoring and editing educational materials for trainee lawyers is a complex and time-consuming one.

European and Dutch Patent Attorney Of Counsel, Harrie Marsman is the author of ‘A-Book: How to draft claims and the introductory part of a European patent application and pass paper A of the European Qualifying Examination’ (Third Edition). The title alone tells you everything you need to know about the density and importance of the information within.

For this blog post, we spoke to Harrie about the challenges of writing and revising complex legal education publications, and how the right publishing platform can make the job much easier.

The Background To ‘A Book’
PublishOne is really user-friendly, and intuitive. It makes it very easy for authors with a tremendous amount of information before them to automatically see changes, and make adaptations.

Harrie Marsman, Author, A Book & B Book

‘A Book’ is a complete guide to the first of 4 papers for students of European patent law as part of the European Qualifying Examination (EQE). The exams are designed to assess whether candidates have the correct knowledge and skills to represent applicants in the European Patent Office (EPO) proceedings. Paper A is a 4-hour exam which tests candidates’ ability to draft claims alongside their knowledge of the introductory part of a European patent application.

As both education and law evolve over time, so do the corresponding educational materials. Three factors influenced Harrie’s work on the second and third editions of the ‘A Book’. Firstly, in 2017 the previously separate exams on fields of Chemistry and Mechanics were merged into a single paper. Secondly, due to the global pandemic, the exam was conducted online rather than using pen and paper. Thirdly, the text needed to be revised in response to changes in the Regulations for the EQE, the Guidelines for Examinations in the EPO and the Case Law.

In addition to these factors, the original author, Erich Wäckerlin, passed away in 2018, so Harrie had to adapt the original copy without his input. This required extensive and in-depth discussions with tutors from the Center For Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) at the University of Strasbourg. The information needed to be highly accurate and up to date in order to support trainee patent attorneys with their exams. It also needed to be available in three languages: English, French, and German.

Authoring Complex Content
For me, PublishOne worked perfectly.

Harrie Marsman, Author, A Book & B Book

It goes without saying that with all the changes around the exams – the revised format, the switch to online testing, and the updates to regulations and case law – putting together the second and third editions of ‘A Book’ was a challenge.

When you’re revising and drafting huge volumes of technical information, it can be difficult to track changes and minimize human errors. Content has to be consistent throughout the text. For example, changes at the beginning will also need reflecting at other points in the book. Getting a clear and consistent overview of the entire text, and tracking changes, is much easier in PublishOne. It gives authors and editors complete transparency over the entire process, and a single source of truth. This means everyone working on the book always has access to the most current version.

Most writers have their favourite authoring and editing tools, such as Microsoft Word, but navigating long and complex documents and diving back into them to make further edits – sometimes years later – can be challenging. PublishOne enables anyone to quickly retrieve documents and see at glance previously made changes. It also eliminates the issue of having multiple versions of the same text going and back and forth on emails between editors and authors. At the same time, authors, like Harrie, are happy because they can use their existing authoring and editing tools within the PublishOne ecosystem.

Making Authoring Easier
The use of PublishOne made things quite a bit easier for me! 

Harrie Marsman, Author, A Book and B Book

Harrie is the first to confess that using new software is not his strong point. After all, his distinguished legal career was spent practising Dutch and European patent law – he wasn’t a software engineer. However, with PublishOne there was a minimal learning curve. All it took was a short video course, and he was ready to go. Not only that, Harrie is already planning to use the platform for the next edition of ‘B Book’ and future editions of ‘A Book’.

Interested to see how PublishOne can enhance your authoring and editing experience? Book a FREE demo.