Author of Chisum on Patents, a text first published in 1978 and regularly updated to incorporate changes in US patent law and practice, Donald Chisum is also the sole author of the Patent Law Digest. He was professor of law at the University of Washington and at Santa Clara University, and directed the Santa Clara Summer Institute on International and Comparative Intellectual Property in Munich, Germany.
Chisum is co-founder of the Chisum Patent Academy, which was established in 2009 to offer intensive training in patent law. In 1989 he received the Jefferson Medal Award for an outstanding contribution to the constitutional goals of the patent and copyright systems. From 1989 to 1992 he served on the board of directors of the American Intellectual Property Law Association.