The Post-AIA Patent Professional’s Handbook gives patent support professionals – legal assistants and paralegals – a reference that addresses their unique role within a patent practice.  Existing practical patent books are generally aimed at one of two audiences: do-it-yourself, pro se inventors or practicing patent attorneys. This Handbook is tailored specifically for the patent professional working in a patent law office, corporate patent department, or university technology transfer office setting.

The Handbook spans 29 chapters and is arranged and indexed logically so that a reader can quickly access the information. Starting with an explanation of patent basics, the Handbook moves on to explain how to do business electronically with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Sections on establishing user accounts and accessing the PTO’s patent information website include numerous screen images to help the reader understand how to navigate the PTO website. 

The bulk of a patent professional’s typical workday is filled with patent application preparation, filing and prosecution tasks with the goal of helping move a patent application through the examination process at the PTO.  The Handbook provides a section for each step in the process from preparing a patent application to filing and advancing the application through the PTO to issue as a patent. The Handbook has numerous checklists that will serve as an invaluable aid to novices and a reinforcement of best practices for more experienced staff.

In addition to routine preparation and prosecution tasks, the Handbook covers subjects that are often difficult for staff to navigate, such as information disclosure statements, appeals, and petitions. While information disclosure statements are commonly prepared documents in a patent law practice, they can often be the source of questions and a bottleneck in the workflow within an office. The Handbook provides clear guidance and tips for handling common roadblocks in filings such as these.

The Handbook gives less coverage to some infrequently encountered procedures such as reexamination and reissue. However, it is a solid reference work that addresses a patent professional’s most common tasks in detail and can help provide answers without the need to interrupt an attorney.

By helping to avoid attorney interruptions, the Handbook should quickly pay for itself. It can also serve as a training tool for new staff or staff cross-training from another discipline.  Also, the Handbook fills a gap in the body of practical patent literature and should be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of any patent attorney or patent professional.