Patent It Yourself (14th Edition--Fall 2009)



By David Pressman, Patent Lawyer


The first version of Patent It Yourself (McGraw-Hill 1979) was called "an outstanding self-help guide" by the prestigious Library Journal and "very worthwhile" by Dr. Buckminster Fuller. Since then it’s been rewritten, expanded, tripled in size, and republished by Nolo in their easy-to-understand style. It has been selected by the MacMillan and McGraw-Hill Book Clubs. Over 300,000 copies have been sold!


Patent It Yourself has once again been rewritten, expanded, and fully updated for the 14th Edition (Fall 2009). It is now more than ever the most definitive and complete do-it-yourself patent book ever written and the only up-to-date one available. It’s written in plain language in easy-to-grasp sections with copious examples and explanations. Also it has detailed instructions for trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, software, etc. Further it has new and comprehensive forms, the latest fees, rules, laws, and over 450 pages (paperback). It includes a sample patent application, a patentability argument, a master flowchart for handling a response to the Patent and Trademark Office, a license agreement and other legal documents, lists of other useful books, a glossary of technical words, cartoons, and all needed forms (including proprietary, consultant’s, and joint inventor’s agreements). Moreover it includes comprehensive, expanded checklists and inventor’s commandments, additional and improved charts and examples, foreign-filing instructions, and a huge index. Further it has the latest on business and software patents, the "GATT" and "AIPA" changes, including the new 20-year term, full instructions, including a checklist for filing a PPA (Provisional Patent Application), and full instructions for the new RCE (Request For Continued Examination). The Index has been expanded to about 3000 direct and intuitive entries to enable you to look up virtually anything with ease.


Doing It Yourself: If you can describe your invention with drawings, and can follow step-by-step detailed instructions, Patent It Yourself is a must! It will enable you to prepare, file, and obtain your own patent at a cost of about $1200, rather than the $5000 to $10000 most attorneys charge (at $100 to $400 an hour!). Also you’ll learn how to do the job correctly and in accordance with your wishes. Moreover you’ll learn how to invent, how to choose the proper form of coverage (patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, etc.), how to secure initial rights, how to file a Provisional Patent Application, how to market your invention, how to foreign file, whether to use "invention developers", how to maintain your patent, and how to profit from and license your creation. It has full instructions on filing and handling your patent application online with the Patent and Trademark Office’s new EFS-Web system. Further it will answer any question you have, or tell you where to get the answer, without incurring a costly attorney’s bill.


Using An Attorney: Even if you use an attorney, you’ll still find Patent It Yourself invaluable. It tells you what’s going on and what you should be aware of at every stage of the process (including pitfalls which even attorneys can miss) and how to check and improve your attorney’s work in writing claims, arguments, advantages, etc. Also it tells you how to find "discount attorneys" who charge half of what downtown attorneys charge. It’s written by a practicing patent attorney, electrical engineer, college instructor, and author of the "Patents" section of the World Book Encyclopedia. He’s had over 40 years’ patent and licensing experience—as a patent examiner and corporate and independent patent attorney.



1.      Intro. To Patents & Intellectual Property (Trademarks, Copyright, Trade Secrets, etc.)

2.      The Science And Magic Of Inventing

3.      Documentation and the PA

4.      Will Your Invention Sell?

5.      What Is Patentable?

6.      Search And You May Find

7.      What Should I Do Next?

8.      How To Draft The Specification And Initial Drawings

9.      Now For The Legalese—The Claims

10.  Finaling And Mailing Your Application

11.  How To Market Your Invention

12.  Going Abroad

13.  Getting The PTO To Deliver

14.  Your Application Can Have Children

15.  After Your Patent Issues: Use Maintenance, And Infringement

16.  Ownership, Assignment, and Licensing Of Inventions


Appendices: 1. Abbreviations, 2. Resources: Govt. Pubs., Patent Websites, and Books Of Use and Interest, 3. Glossaries: Technical Terms and Patent Terms, 4. Fee Schedule, 5. PTO Phones and Internet Sites, 6. Quick-Reference Timing Chart, 7. Tear-Out or Copyable Forms, 8. Forms On PTO Web Site, 9. Comprehensive Index


Purchasing: You can buy Patent It Yourself from most large bookstores (Barnes and Noble, Borders; call first), directly from the publisher ( [hard copy or download] or visit the Nolo Press Bookstore at 9th and Parker in Berkeley, CA), or from Amazon (


Updates to the 13th and 14th eds. are at