In today’s cut-throat marketplace, it is critically important to protect your invention. That usually means filing a patent application as soon as possible – and under the current patent law – before your competitors file to patent your invention. Finding the right patent attorney to help is just as important.
The patent application process is complicated. It can be confusing and frustrating for inventors to navigate the Patent Office requirements. In fact, the U.S. Patent Office itself even tells inventors not to attempt the complex process of filing a patent application on their own. The Patent Office even says “While a patent may be obtained in many cases by persons not skilled in this work, there would be no assurance that the patent obtained would adequately protect the particular invention.”
Instead, it is important to work with a qualified patent attorney. Otherwise, you could lose important legal rights to your invention.
If you have an invention, it’s time to talk to a patent attorney right away!
Need for a patent attorney. . .
Some inventors simply do not have the money to hire a patent attorney and will attempt to file their own patent application. The Do-It-Yourself patent application is almost always a bad idea. Mistakes are common. At best, the do-it-yourself filer ends up hiring a patent attorney to correct the mistake. This often costs more than it would have cost to hire a patent attorney from the start. At worst, it is too late to correct the mistake. The inventor loses some or all rights to patent their invention. Learn about one common mistake in our patent attorney video.
What are your options when it comes to hiring a patent attorney?
1) Hire a large general practice law firm with a patent attorney on staff.
Most large corporations and some well-financed start-ups can afford to hire a large law firm. Patent attorneys at big law firms may charge $500/hour or more. Add to this that big law firms typically charge not only for their attorneys, but also for their paralegals, administrators, etc. And some big law firms charge for overhead (copies, phone calls, mailings). It adds up fast, and you can quickly be staring at a legal bill for tens of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, most inventors and small businesses cannot afford to hire a big general practice law firm.
2) Work with a medium-size patent law firm.
Medium-size patent law firms may charge less than a big general practice law firm. But these law firms still typically have one or more senior attorney who oversees a staff of entry-level attorneys, patent agents, draftsman, and paralegals. In addition to being charged for everyone’s time on a project, it is often difficult to speak with the senior attorney who is busy coordinating other projects. When you do get to speak with the senior attorney, they often charge an hourly rate approaching that of a big law firm.
3) Work directly with the right patent attorney.
A small patent law firm or individual patent attorney typically charges much less than most big law firms, and often charges less than senior-level attorneys at medium-size patent law firms. In addition, you can work directly with the patent attorney handling your case. When you have a question about your invention, your patent attorney will have a deeper understanding of your invention and your business goals, and therefore will be in the best position to give you sound advice.
What to expect from the right patent attorney.
Perhaps you have never worked with an attorney before. Even if you have, working with a patent attorney is different than working with other types of attorneys (e.g., personal injury, divorce, criminal law attorneys). Since you have probably never worked with a patent attorney before, here is a brief overview of what you should expect from an experienced patent attorney:
· Professional insight from someone who understands the patent process. Filing a patent application is the first step in protecting your invention. Make sure to do it right.
· Someone who understands your invention, including its strengths, differentiators, and opportunities to commercialize as a product.
· Someone who can work collaboratively with your team.
· Someone who takes an interest in your invention – but not an ownership interest. Compensate your patent attorney for providing services. But this should not include any compensation from the success of your invention.
Benefits of working with Trenner Law Firm. . .
· An up-front total cost quote for what it will cost for your project. For example, a patent law firm should have a standard cost for a patent search and to prepare/file a provisional patent application.
o At Trenner Law Firm, we offer all our services on a flat-fee basis.
· There should be no hidden fees. If you are talking to other attorneys, be sure to ask if all costs are included. Some law firms will charge extra for their paralegal’s time on a project, phone calls to answer your questions, email communications with the client (that’s you!), etc.
o At Trenner Law Firm, there are no hidden fees. We do not charge extra for any of the above.
· Work directly with the patent attorney you hire.
o At Trenner Law Firm you won’t be handed off to a staff attorney or patent agent.
· The right patent attorney will answer all of your questions, quickly, and give you all of your options so that you can make informed decisions.
o Trenner Law Firm responds to client inquiries by phone or email as quickly as possible. It is our policy to try and respond within one business day, and often we will get back to you the same day.
Making the decision to invest a large amount of time and money to protect your invention so that you can take it to market is challenging. But hiring the right patent attorney doesn’t have to be a daunting task.