Training A Puppy
Selecting the right patent attorney is one of the most crucial decisions an inventor faces, and can spell disaster or success from the beginning. Patent attorneys must be more than just attorneys who hang a shingle, have passed the bar and are licensed to practice. They also need an engineering or computer science degree, something technical.
To be a valid patent attorney, a lawyer must also have registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Good patent attorneys are usually very uniquely suited to a particular field and as a result are very difficult to locate. Some lawyers boast and advertise patent knowledge, but are short on experience. Patent agencies, such as InventHelp, have much more experience. It is your job to find one who has been down the path before.
Things to ask a patent attorney are:
– How many clients have you filed patents for?
– How many patents have you obtained?
– Can you give me some references of these people so I may speak to them first hand and get their review of their experience?
Find out their patent number and see for yourself that it is real and actually happened. If the reference is willing to share what the cost of the attorney’s services were in filing for and obtaining the patent, by all means take advantage of that and confront the attorney with the results and ask if your situation might be similar in cost, less in cost or even more, and why.
Don’t let the price of the suit and the shoes impress you. They were bought with the hourly fees paid by people like you. Lawyers typically get paid whether they win or lose, and winning to you means obtaining your patent.
However, you shouldn’t let a reference who didn’t successfully obtain a patent for a client signal a completely negative outcome. Some invention ideas are simply not eligible for a patent, and a good patent attorney should help spot that soon and not “milk” the client or lead them along. Sometimes a modification to a process or invention can make it unique and patentable whereas in the start it is not.
A good patent attorney should not be afraid to answer your questions, and you should be full of them. Lawyers are typically not in a hurry if they are charging you by the hour. Some attorneys will work on a fixed fee amount for the entire job, but you should find this out up-front.
If they are on the clock and you start discussing the upcoming baseball season during your visit then… you’re being charged to discuss baseball.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. Spend an hour with a lawyer and you get charged for an hour spent with the attorney, unless you have agreed to a fixed fee or other arrangement.
Perhaps most important of all, the only stupid question is a question not asked. That goes for you AND your attorney. You know your invention inside and out. You have probably lived and breathed it for months or even years. Your attorney has not and a good one will ask what seem to be rudimentary questions in a solid effort to help you succeed.
Finally, it must be said that not all patent attorneys or agencies are equally qualified to protect and represent the interests of your patent. Some attorneys and agencies, like Invent Help, have more experience, industry contacts, and expertise relevant to your patent than others, and it helps to search for the former whenever possible. This will eliminate the common obstacles that inexperienced patent attorneys are ill-prepared to navigate and ensure as much billable time is spent on your patent (as opposed to administrative/bureaucratic things) as possible.