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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but some nitpicks
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...
Published on January 18, 2010 by Jon Norris

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110 of 120 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DON'T Patent It Yourself
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...
Published on March 29, 2010 by B. Milliron


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110 of 120 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DON'T Patent It Yourself, March 29, 2010
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. An examiners performance reviews are based on how much they are able to force you to narrow the claims, and no argument is more convincing than their own long term survival at the PTO.

This book contains a lot of useful information for the inventor, no doubt, and maybe when it was first written it was possible for an inventor to patent it himself. Those days are long gone. If you want a piece of paper showing your widget has been patented, go ahead and file yourself, you'll get something through. But if you actually intend to enter the commercial marketplace HIRE A PATENT ATTORNEY. You'll save yourself a several hundred bucks and years worth of fruitless effort and aggravation. Even better is to not do either, get commercial backing and let the money men hire the patent attorney.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but some nitpicks, January 18, 2010
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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."

Submarine patents are patents that people suddenly spring on a market claiming infringement after protracted periods of no action. In looking through the book for information on statute of limitations for infringement actions, I found it difficult to locate that information. It is mentioned briefly on page 418, but not in any other section on dealing with infringement, and not indexed at all. I would have liked a more concentrated discussion of this, as it is a serious enough piece of litigation to be more visibly addressed.

On page 421, it is stated that a person is not allowed to make even one copy of a patented device, as that would be infringement. I must admit I was under the impression that a person could indeed make one copy to test and validate the device, and that this was an intended part of society's rights under patent law. Apparently this notion is not correct.

This again makes me think the authors are biased, as they seem not to address the whole notion of society's rights and the intentions of our U.S. Patent system. They also do not address much of the patent system's history or the changing nature of patents and their uses. Probably since this is meant to be a guide to actually working the patent process, they felt it unnecessary to go into such things.

Compulsory licensing by the government is only very slightly mentioned in a small sidebar on page 419. Since this is a significant topic in a country where the government contracts out to so many manufacturers, it should be given far more coverage than it is.

Also related but not covered at all are the government's "march-in" rights, and the ability to take a private patent "black," removing it from public scrutiny. March-in rights mean that the government can come in and take ownership of a patent, ostensibly for "national security" concerns. They may or may not compensate the patent holder, and may place them under strict non-disclosure agreements (gag orders) regarding the entire situation, even that it happened at all. I think this is a significant subject to broach for potential patent holders.

Speaking of non-disclosure agreements, the authors do mention them but seem to think they are not all that useful in most cases. They do not discuss non-circumvention agreements, which are an absolute necessity in dealing with large entities like corporations, universities, and government agencies. In certain areas of technology, these are very important documents to have.

All in all, a good book despite my nitpicks. I found some very interesting things which would inform any discussion on patent reform (which is desperately needed), and the book is certainly a must have if you are considering a patent.

Other than those few nitpicks, another good NOLO book I heartily recommend.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book for Anyone Considering Patenting Something, April 6, 2010
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. Even if you provide your attorney with all of the information regarding your invention, its still probably better that you clearly understand how a patent is structured and what the specifications and claims are supposed to disclose.

Using this book you will get a more well written patent than otherwise.

The reason why I would say that it is still necessary to use an attorney is because this book is not quite detailed enough in the claims section. To be fair, there are massive volumes written solely on how to draft claims and this book will refer you to them.

Also, a little bit more could be written regarding the rules and regulations of patent drawings. Pressman has another book that steps you through it, but the PTO rules should have probably been included in this book even if it was another chapter. FYI, the rules for drawings are available on the PTO website.

Still, don't let these 2 minor issues prevent you from getting this book.

It will give you knowledge, confidence, and save you thousands of dollars by helping you conduct a search and draft everything but the claims.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Got my first patent, using only this book, January 9, 2010
It's the truth. I had an idea I thought I could patent two years ago and I knew nothing about the patent process. I got this book, worked hard, waited, and recently received a patent for my idea. This book is incredible. It's comprehensive, well organized and, I'm proof, you can follow it from beginning to end and get a patent. This book is so well done I felt I needed to come here and share my experience and give it the five stars it deserves. Good luck!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inventors bible., November 19, 2009
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I purchased several books to help me navigate my way through the process of bringing my product to market. The books I purchased are 1)The Mom Inventors Handbook 2)Inventing on a Shoestring Budget 3)Inventor's Notebook: A Patent It Yourself Companion 4)Patent It Yourself, 13th Edition (this one). When this book popped up on Amazon Vine shortly thereafter, I exchanged the one I purchased for the "vine" book (since "Patent it yourself" was the most expensive of the lot). Well, I can see why it is. Patent It Yourself is the most comprehensive of the ones that I purchased and I think it is worth the extra money. I bought mine with the companion workbook and these are the two books I use the most and they work beautifully together. Highly recommended!

Is this review helpful? Please let me know. Vote. :-)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete book on the patent process, November 10, 2009
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I actually got this book for my father-in-law who creates things all the time and is always looking for the next "big idea." He's had some real winners and always stumbled upon the process in which to patent a product safely and without risk to your ideas.

This book is very complete, that being said it's very very long coming in at around 600 pages. And covers everything you would want to and need to know about how to patent your invention while saving money by allowing you to do most of it by yourself.

The book covers topics such as
-first, can you patent your ivention? Not everything can be patented!
-makes sure you understand the law around patents
-analyze the potential for your invention in a commercial environment (retail)
-help you do your own patent search (very nice!)
-file a provisional patent application
-helps you prepare the formal patent application
-helps you respond to patent examiners
-tells you how to amend an application.
-explains how to maintain and enforce your patent
-gives you ideas on marketing and licensing your invention

With these topics and so much more I highly recommend this book from NOLO. Be warned, it is lengthy, but in this case it seems to be very complete.

I highly recommend you purchase this book if you have an idea you want ot patent and are unsure of the steps you need to take OR if you want to save money in the patent process as this book will walk you through the steps very nicely.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well written, thorough - online forms restricted, April 22, 2010
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The content of this book (which i read in entirety) was very thorough, and i can say that i would not even know where to start by myself before having reading this book. Despite having submitted a patent application with lawyers in the past, I found the Nolo Patent It Yourself to provide a wealth of information for the do-it-yourself inventor. There are definitely parts that I will have to reread, but that is something i expected.

A couple negatives (why only 4 stars): The explanation of the timeline for foreign filing and the discussion of options for doing this were very confusing. The chart didn't really help at all. Secondly, although there are forms in the back of the book, these should be made available on the [...] website for amazon customers, which they are not. The amazon version does not allow you to access electronic online versions of the textbook, but if you buy directly from the nolo website, online forms and online version of the book are available... the book should have included a code so that people who buy from locations other than the nolo website could also access this material. This is why i deducted a star. It is a hassle to rip forms out of a book, when the service to print them online is already available.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved me hundreds of thousands, January 22, 2010
I've used Pressmans book, both an earlier edition and the current one, to guide the way I draft patent applications for my company. We still go through a lawyer, because we can afford to, but having the application written in proper format before giving to the attorney means that your legal costs will be much less, you will waste less time going back and forth with the attorney on drafts and expensive conference calls ($400/hr!!!), you will get an earlier filing date whcih could make all the difference in a dispute, and the inventor is more likely to find that each and every inventive step is fully claimed. Pressman does a great job; I'd love to see him make a variation of this book specifically for computer-related patents, but in general the rules are the same for everybody, so whether you sequence DNA or if you design bicyle chains, this book is for you. There's a companion book which shows you how to do patent drawings in great detail, which is especially useful if your invention is mechanical in nature.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helped Me Determine My Patents Would Be Denied, October 16, 2010
By 
Clint Pachl (Phoenix, Arizona) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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First, this is a massive book, well organized, and extremely thorough. I was amazed at the quality of this production.

Even if you do not want to patent, but are interested in the patent system, what can and cannot be patented, the types of patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, and unfair competition, I would highly recommend this book to you. Before I bought this book, I tried to get a clear picture and some answers on these topics online, but fell short. Most subject information on the web is not authoritative and incomplete. I finally gave up and bought this book. Not only did it deliver answers to all my questions, it gave me a thorough introduction to the mentioned topics. As a business owner, I think it is important to be familiar with these concepts in order to have an intelligent and efficient (saving $$$) conversation with a patent lawyer if needed. This topical overview of the patent system is covered in the first few chapters and is worth the price of the book.

The author also mentions that if nothing else, use this book to assist you in working with a patent lawyer even if you don't patent it yourself. You minimize all the hand holding from the lawyer, which could save you $1000s. I highly agree.

I originally ordered this book to determine if I should patent any of the three feature innovations on our target stands that we manufacture. Because of "prior art" (a concept I knew little about), we don't have a legal right to patent our innovations. Because we have been selling, to the public, our products for a little over a year, we essentially invalidated our legal right to patent because the existence of a product in the public domain for more than a year constitutes prior art; even if you're the original creator.

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the US Patent System. One of the reasons is that the little guy and small businesses many times don't have the financial capability to defend a patent from a larger competitor with deeper pockets. I think it is important what the author says about this issue:

(page 415 - Legal Options If You Discover an Infringement of Your Patent) "Unfortunately our legal system, especially in the field of patent enforcement, is mainly accessible to (and manipulated primarily by) organizations and individuals with deep pockets - those companies that can afford to hire expensive patent litigators and pay the costs of litigation. One disgruntled client who got a patent and found an infringement recently said to me bitterly, 'Even if it infringes, I can't afford to sue the company anyway. The patent system is mostly useless for small inventors.' While this is often true, it is also possible for little folk to obtain relief by using a contingent-fee litigator or by just implying that they will sue as described below. Nevertheless, the value of the patent system would be far more valuable if it provided a way for those with shallow pockets to enforce their patents."
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Out of date and surpassed by the USPTO website, November 20, 2009
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This book is really an introduction to the patent process. The author explains what protections and rights a patent gives you and explains the process and requirements for filing a patent and the differences between utility and design patents. However some of the content is a little out of date and the USPTO now has a very comprehensive and clear set of online documents and guidelines that now limit its utility IMHO.

There is a legal language that has to be used that is not common usage when writing a patent, which this book mentions this but does not give specifics. Fortunately you can pick this up when doing your patent search for prior art. If you have a patent that you feel has very broad scope you are should seek the help of a good patent attorney as they do have the knowledge and experience to craft the language to give you the broadest coverage. This book will explain what the attorney does and how best to help him so as to minimize your costs by minimizing the review and redraft cycles.
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Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing at the U.S. Patent Office
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