Drafting a provisional patent application can be a complex activity, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process. It is a process that requires a proper procedure and technical experience to ensure success. In most cases, inventors seek the services of a patent attorney to help in the process.
So, should you get a cheap patent attorney to help with the patent application process or go for quality without minding the fee? Well, having been in this field for a decade now, I will enlighten you on the cons of getting a cheap attorney and give you alternatives.
Should You Get a Cheap Patent Attorney?
No, you should not get a cheap patent attorney when seeking patent services. Most of the cheap attorneys lack the experience and expertise required in the patent application procedure, jeopardizing the whole process. Patent law demands precision, expertise, and proper knowledge. Therefore, a cheap and inexperienced attorney may miss out on essential information during drafting, increasing the chances of rejection.
There are individuals and patent services offering to prepare a patent application at a reduced cost. This could be a disaster waiting for you to fall for their trap. Some of these “attorneys” are not licensed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), meaning your application will automatically be rejected.
Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the attorney you hire to help you in the patent process is qualified and meets USPTO standards. There are various ways you can know a genuine attorney, such as verifying their credentials, client reviews, and successful cases carried out.
Understanding Patent Attorneys and the Roles They Play
A patent attorney is a legal professional with specialized qualifications for representing individuals(clients) to obtain a patent, whether it’s a utility patent or a design patent. Their main work is to help individuals and businesses secure and protect patents for their inventions. The attorney does this by guiding clients through the complex processes of application and protection of intellectual inventions.
An ideal patent attorney is experienced, knowledgeable, detail-oriented, and able to navigate the complex patenting application procedure. The attorney should also have a patent license with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure they abide by the government’s standards. If you can’t find any of these qualities in an individual claiming to be an attorney, don’t seek their services.
So, what does the attorney do during the patent application process? Here are some of their roles:
- Offering legal counsel: An attorney offers legal advice to their clients about patent laws, government regulations, and strategies for obtaining and protecting an intellectual invention. They will also inform you about the fee during the whole process. Most attorneys offer free legal consultation for the first 15 minutes before beginning to charge(if working at an hourly rate). However, this may also depend on your agreement with the attorney.
- Conducting Research: After a client has presented the information, the attorney will conduct thorough prior art research to determine the patentability of the invention. The research involves studying prior art and existing patents to assess the viability and uniqueness of the presented invention.
- Drafting a patent application: After completing the research, an attorney will draft an application, considering all the requirements. Some of the things contained in the application include a detailed description of the invention, drawings/diagrams, and technical aspects.
- Filing draft application: After drafting the patent legal document, the attorney will file it with the government agency(USPTO), ensuring accuracy and legal requirements.
- Offering prosecution support: Here, the attorney interacts with the patent examiners to advocate for the acceptance of the application. Some of the activities an attorney will carry out include addressing any objections or rejections, making the necessary changes to the document, and raising concerns whenever the process takes longer.
- Appealing: If an application is rejected, and you and your team feel that it was done due to misinterpretation, the attorney may appeal the decision without making adjustments to the document.
- Advising on portfolio management: After a successful application, the attorney may offer advisory services on how to manage and strategize the client’s patent portfolio. This includes evaluating the strengths and potential of different patents and advising on their maintenance.
- Offering litigation support: Another work of an attorney is to provide legal representation in case of patent infringement. The attorney will defend the patent regarding intellectual invention rights.
Factors to Consider When Hiring a Patent Attorney
Getting an attorney to help you in patent prosecution will help speed up the process and ensure everything is done correctly. However, there are factors you should consider before hiring an attorney to ensure everything is done the right way. Some of the things to consider include:
- Experience and expertise: The attorney you hire should be experienced and have relevant expertise in patent law that has resulted in a successful application.
- Qualifications and credentials: An ideal patent attorney should possess a law degree and admission to the bar. The attorney should also be registered with a government agency such as USPTO.
- Technical expertise: The attorney you hire should have general knowledge of the technology or industry related to your invention.
- Client testimonials: Check for positive client feedback, testimonials and references showcasing successful patent applications.
- Fee structure: Study and understand the attorney’s fee structure, plus any additional cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens if You Can’t Afford a Patent Attorney?
Now that the provisional patent application costs less, inventors can wait up to one year before filing the application. During this time, an inventor can continue selling the invention and hire a lawyer later if the idea becomes valuable to help in the process.
How Much Should It Cost to File a Patent?
An experienced attorney will charge between $8,000 and $10,000 to file a patent application. However, the cost may be higher than that, considering miscellaneous expenses. Therefore, for the whole process to run smoothly, an applicant should have between $15,000 and $20,000.
How Does the Attorney Charge Clients?
Most good attorneys charge per hour, ranging from $300 to $500 per hour. However, some attorneys are flexible and choose what suits their clients. The attorney may charge you the overall cost instead of charging hourly.
Getting an experienced lawyer who has general knowledge of the technology or industry related to your invention is ideal. It is better to hire an expensive attorney who understands the process. This will ensure the process runs smoothly, increasing the chances of accepting the application.