Saturday, April 12, 2008

In Praise of: David Pressman's Patent it Yourself

I'll admit that I occasionally feel like I should get a commission from Nolo Press when I'm at work at the Government Information Center reference desk. I hate to favor a particular publisher or series in my work, but I can't help pushing the Nolo books because they deliver the goods.

My favorite, of course, is David Pressman's Patent it Yourself. It's pretty rare that someone asking about patents doesn't walk away without seeing this book.

The long and short of it is that this guy's answers to patent questions are going to be better than mine. (Plus he's a lawyer, so he can give advice in his book.)

In the spirit of John Coltrane and Oprah Winfrey, here are a few of my favorite things about this particular title:

  1. Scope This book covers the mechanics of patenting: the preliminary search, the application, drawings, claims, the prosecution, amending, and the fundamentals of the law. We have plenty of books about inventing that have some of the above information mixed in with licensing, marketing, and other stuff that's not related to the patenting process. That this book sticks to the nuts and bolts of patents makes it appealing to a much wider audience.
  2. Language Pressman writes well; he's technical but still understandable. He walks that fine line between too technical and patronizing successfully.
  3. Illustrations The book has plenty of good images -- actual patents, screen shots of search tools, forms, flow-charts, graphs, sample documents. It does not use the tired imagery -- caveman cartoons, light bulb clip-art -- found in many other guides.
  4. Authority Pressman has worked as an examiner for the UPSTO and as a university professor. He knows patents.
The several copies we have here circulate pretty widely, but there're usually a couple paper copies in stock, an electronic copy that you can use at home (library card required), and we always have a reference copy that you're welcome to use in the library.

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