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Narratives in Academic and Professional Genres

Series:

Maurizio Gotti and Carmen Sancho Guinda

This book received the Enrique Alcaraz Research Award in 2015.

Through Narrative Theory, the book offers an engaging panorama of the construction of specialised discourses and practices within academia and diverse professional communities. Its chapters investigate genres from various fields, such as aircraft accident reports, clinical cases and other scientific observations, academic conferences, academic blogs, climate-change reports, university decision-making in public meetings, patients’ oral and written accounts of illness, corporate annual reports, journalistic obituaries, university websites, narratives of facts in legal cases, narrative processes in arbitration hearings, briefs, and witness examination accounts. In addition to exploring narration in this wide range of contexts, the volume uses narrative as a powerful tool to gain a methodological insight into professional and academic accounts, and thus it contributes to research into theoretical issues. Under the lens of Narratology, Discourse and Genre Analysis, fresh research windows are opened on the study of academic and professional interactions.

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ISMAEL ARINAS PELLÓN How do you Read a U.S. Patent? Motivation for Descriptions of Intellectual Property and its ‘Metes and Bounds’ - 473

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ISMAEL ARINAS PELLÓN How do you Read a U.S. Patent? Motivation for Descriptions of Intellectual Property and its ‘Metes and Bounds’ 1. Introduction I find it hard to picture U.S. patents as a paradigm of corporate story- telling.1 Neither can I see managers and inventors incorporating sto- ries into patents to improve how they communicate knowledge (Denning 2011: 181). As a matter of fact, patents are essentially de- scriptions of intellectual property – and rather tedious ones. Patents can be compared to deeds in real estate, and property is a rather mo- mentous matter for the corporate world. Currently, there are more than eight million patents issued. In 2011, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) received 535,188 patent applications and granted 247,713 (51% were from non-U.S. applicants).2 Patents can be sold to avoid bankruptcy (Spector/Mattioli 2012);3 they can be licensed to third parties;4 they can be used by wicked firms known as patent trolls5 to extort money from unsuspecting manufacturers; and they can 1 Corporate Storytelling is defined by Denning (2004: 2) as a narrative that links business factual events in a causal sequence “translating dry and abstract numbers into a compelling picture of a leader’s goals.” 2 Statistical data offered by the USPTO available on 3 Journalists report that Eastman Kodac Co. tried to sell around 1,100 of its pa- tents to avoid bankruptcy. 4 According to Spector/Mattioli (2012) Eastman Kodac Co. tried to finance it- self in the last years through...

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