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Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing at the U.S. Patent Office 15th Edition

73 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1413313826
ISBN-10: 1413313825
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Editorial Reviews


"Entertaining and simple prose makes even the most arcane patent office procedures and policies understandable." (Science News 20080201)

"If you want to cut through the patent red tape and possibly save thousands of dollars, Patent It Yourself... has all the forms and instructions needed to patent a product in the United States." (The Washington Post 20080201)

"It is the most definitive, complete and current do-it-yourself patent book ever written and it is written in easy-to-understand laymen's terms." ( 20080201) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Originally from Philadelphia, San Francisco Patent Attorney David Pressman is a graduate of Penn State University (BSEE) and George Washington University Law School (JD) where he was on the Law Review. He has over 40 years of experience in the patent profession -- as a patent examiner for the U.S. Patent Office, a patent attorney in corporate and private practice, a university instructor, a columnist, and as author of the Patent and Trademark entries to the World Book Encyclopedia. He is an expert on patent filing, prosecution, and licensing and his books have charted the path for over 250,000 inventors. Patent It Yourself is the most highly recommended guide to patenting an invention. David is also co-author of The Inventor's Notebook (with Fred Grissom), How to Make Patent Drawings Yourself (with Jack Lo), Patent Pending In 24 Hours (with Rich Stim), and Patents For Beginners (with Rich Stim).


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Product Details

  • Series: Patent It Yourself
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: NOLO; 15 edition (May 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1413313825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413313826
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I wrote Patent It Yourself because, some years ago, I saw many good how-to legal books on divorce, forming a corporation, etc. but none on getting a patent. Like other Nolo authors, I felt that law should not be a mystery to laypersons and that most people should be given the tools and instructions to do most legal tasks themselves if they want or can't afford a lawyer. So I wrote Patent It Yourself to share my knowledge, dispel the mystery of patents, and provide a good guide for inventors. A member of the California and Patent and Trademark Office bars, I have had over 45 years' experience in the patent profession, as a patent examiner for the U.S. Patent Office, a patent attorney for Philco-Ford Corp., Elco Corp., and Varian Associates, as a columnist for EDN Magazine and, and as an instructor in intellectual property at San Francisco State University. In the World Book Encyclopedia I wrote the Patent, Trademark and Copyright entries. While not a successful inventor, I have two patents issued. I spend most of my time writing, but I also dabble in electronics, programming, inventing, an playing the trumpet. While I practice as a patent lawyer in San Francisco, I'm originally from Philadelphia. My undergraduate major was Electrical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University and I went to law school at the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University, where I was on the Law Review and received a Juris Doctor degree. An afficionado of words and their meaning and effects, I am a student of general semantics, but I also am very interested in health and vegetarianism. My mother, Mildred Phillips, was also a writer, having composed lyrics for numerous published songs, including Bill Haley's "Mambo Rock."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 125 people found the following review helpful By B. Milliron on March 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
4 years ago I read this book and filed a patent application. Today I have an acceptance letter from the PTO in hand. You might think of that as a success story and justification of the book's premise that you can patent your own inventions. The truth is not so pretty however. What I've been granted is a "vanity patent". My examiner forced me to specify and specify so that all useful protection was gone by the time she finally acquiesced into granting the patent. So I paid a substantial amount of money and put in a herculean amount of effort into what amounts to a worthless piece of paper, which is now considered prior art against any future efforts to write a patent with real claims.

The book spends 75% of its time explaining the application writing process but devotes only a few short chapters to the actual patenting process. It provides a dozen or so handy arguments to use if you are rejected on 102 or 103 grounds, which makes it sound so simple. I used every argument in the book then researched several more from the MPEP. All were rejected out of hand as "unconvincing" to the examiner. All reasonable arguments with legal precedent. This book presents a myth that the examiner is reasonable and the process straightforward as long as you have a truly novel invention. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The examiner is NOT your friend and they have no obligation to be reasonable. In fact they have every incentive to be unreasonable. An abandoned application is preferable to a patent with strong protections because the latter may end up in court and a judge might decide the patent was overbroad, a risk the examiner would rather not take.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nolo is the first stop for business advice books, and for good reason. Their books are usually accurate, up to date, and easy to understand. NOLO also offers many great resources on their web site. This book does not include a CD-ROM.

This is a large and very detailed book on patent law and process, and a thorough review would require months of time and several pages. That said, I found it to cover the topic very well on most issues, and found only a few nitpicks which would matter only in certain cases.

Since most of the material is well done, I will concentrate on the nitpicks. This is not intended to slight the other marvelous material in the book, just to give a heads-up in areas I find lacking.

First, I find the authors somewhat biased toward corporate interests as opposed to society and the small inventor. This is evident in sections like the sidebar on page 420 discussing "patent trolls" and "submarine patents." They are generally dismissive of the existence and practice of these two things, and indeed use definitions from Wikipedia, not exactly a sound source to reference. Granted, those two terms may not be in Black's Dictionary, but seriously, Wikipedia? In a book on patent law? Not guaranteed to generate confidence.

By way of explanation for those who don't yet know, a patent troll is a person, group, or company who buy and hoard patents to use as leverage or commodities rather than to exercise the patent itself. They may also be buying it to bury it or prevent significant advancements from disrupting their current business. In some countries, there are even provisions in patent law which prevent the issuing of "disruptive patents.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Sachmo on April 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book offering a great overview of the entire patent process.

Despite the title, it is still difficult to patent something entirely by yourself without at least a little help from a lawyer, but this book will demystify the entire process and help you more clearly understand what a patent is, what protections it will offer, and what is actually involved in patenting something.

After reading this book you will have a good understanding of:
- What exactly a patent is, how it is enforced, what is patentable, etc.
- How to keep an inventor's notebook and maintain legal rights to your idea before you are ready to begin the patent process.
- How to conduct a patent search yourself
- The trade-offs between filing a provisional patent immediately or filing an regular patent when you are ready
- How to write the specification section, and the basics of drawings and claims
- How to respond to PTO office actions
- Peripheral patents that may arise during the prosecution phase of your patent
- Basics of Licensing and Infringement

It covers a few more things which you can browse in the table of contents, but the issues above were IMHO the most useful pieces of knowledge to be gleaned this book. The writing style is excellent and is filled with quotes from famous inventors and personal anecdotes about patents that Pressman worked on.

If you walk into a patent attorney's office, you'll be able to engage in a high level of discussion with your attorney which is crucial. Your attorney may know the ins and outs of patents, but he or she will NOT understand your invention.
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