By Susan Stiles
Patent Professional’s Handbook is a training and reference guide for administrative support staff that work for a patent attorney or agent. The book provides an overview of the patenting process, including summaries of the various documents that may be filed during prosecution. The summaries provide a decent understanding of why various documents are filed without getting into the legal arguments or theory that is more appropriate for the patent attorney or agent.
The book details the various types of patent applications and other filings that need to be made during patent prosecution, such as IDS’s, amendments, assignments, priority documents, and others. There are details on how to deal with applications after allowance, including payment of maintenance fees and the like.
The book covers how to conduct business with the PTO including how to file various papers. There are details on hand delivery, fax submissions, mail submissions, and electronic filing. The book does get a bit redundant in detailing the same procedures over and over for filing many different types of documents.
The book includes a number of checklists and charts that can be used by an administrative professional at various points in the process, such as when filing an application, an IDS, or an amendment, or when reviewing a notice of allowance. There is a glossary of terms that can be helpful to newer professionals.
The handbook clearly took a lot of time to prepare. It includes a large number of addresses, phone numbers, and web page links associated with the PTO. I am worried that if the material is not updated regularly that much of the material will quickly fall out of date. The risk of that happening is especially great at this time as the PTO is changing many rules and procedures to comply with the America Invents Act.
AIPLA offers a legal secretaries and administrators course, but I am not aware of any other reference book like this that is directed specifically to non-attorney administrative support personnel. The book is quite detailed and can be used both as a training tool and a reference guide. It does a good job in both respects and for those purposes, I would recommend it.
The author has informed me that she is currently working on a 2012 edition that should alleviate my concerns about the material becoming dated. This edition should be available in the coming weeks or months.