Writing Chemistry Patents & IP

Waller, Francis J.  Writing Chemistry Patents and Intellectual Property: A Practical Guide; John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ, $79.95 (hardcover)  256 pp.  ISBN: 978-0-470-49740-1.

Based on an ACS Short Course (Practical Approaches to Patents and Other Forms of Intellectual Property), this book is aimed at a fairly wide audience.  The author has extensive experience as a scientist and inventor (46 patents) with du Pont and Air Products and Chemicals.  The book’s audience includes those totally uniformed about intellectual property (IP), new employees in chemical or chem./tech organizations where patents are important (both academic and industrial), the interested general public, and those writing their own patent applications (with the collaboration of a patent attorney, of course).  The book could possibly be used as a text for scientists or engineers.

Chapters describe the history of patenting; relevant vocabulary, terminology, and definitions; the differences between trade secrets and patents; provisional and non-provisional US patents; reasons patent applications are rejected; reasons for invalidation of patents; techniques of writing patent applications based on analysis of eight US patents; format of claims; the need for confidentiality agreements; practical information on copyrights and trademarks; global patent filing strategy; information on patenting for academic scientists, including whether to publish or patent; IP resources (primarily books); and future developments.  Several chapters pose questions, and responses are provided.

Overall, this is an excellent book, recommended for several audiences including undergraduate and graduate students, as well as “rookie” industrial chemists.  However, the importance of prior art searching is only briefly mentioned, and the recommended information resources listed are mostly books.  There is scattered and brief mention of Google searching but no mention of Google Patents.  For more information on searching the reader is referred to two other books.


Robert E. Buntrock
Buntrock Associates
Orono, ME