Knowing the steps of patent applications isn't enough to claim the ownership rights to your inventions. If doing that bare minimum was all inventors needed, Nikola Tesla would own the bragging rights of inventing the telephone over Graham Bell.
You see, you need more than theories to have your filed patents granted. There are several complications between having a genius idea and SUCCESSFULLY registering it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
That gap is what a patent attorney can plug. Filing patents is their bread and butter, and they can lead you through the rough edges.
So yes, you need a patent attorney. You shouldn't even be contemplating that. Instead, you should focus on hiring the right one and how soon they can help you.
Luckily, we can help with the latter concern. This article contains tips on how to hire the RIGHT patent attorney.
Let's delve in!
Hiring The Right Patent Attorney For Your Inventions In 5 Steps
Distinguish Between An IP Attorney And Patent Attorney
We understand that the two terms are similar. After all, your invention is intellectual property, IP. And that's what you'd patent.
However, an IP attorney might not be the best aid for you and your ideas. Any lawyer can claim to understand and even practice IP laws. That's more of an umbrella category.
But how many patents have they (the acclaimed IP attorneys) SUCCESSFULLY filed? Where and when? Most importantly, are they even registered with USPTO?
Before investing your money, time, and precious ideas, check that your top choices have license credentials. Check with USPTO if your preferred attorney can ACTUALLY file and prosecute patent applications.
That right there is the TRUE definition of a parent attorney - licensed and knowledgeable.
Still on "knowledge," a patent attorney should know more than just how to patent a product. He should understand other vital aspects of IP.
In particular, your patent attorney should understand the following:
●Freedom to operate analysis
●Patent infringement analysis
●Patent valuation and sales
Trim Your Preferred Patent Attorneys Down To The Ones Who Understand Your Field
After drafting the TRUE patent attorneys, you still need to find the cherry with the RIGHT technical knowledge.
Ideally, all patent attorneys have some science-technical background. That is one of the basic requirements to pass the patent bar.
Even at that, scrutinize your preferred patent attorneys further. Stick to the ones with technical expertise in your field. Why?
In the end, a patent isn't just about written legal duties. It also includes technicalities about the invention.
So, to get results, you need a patent attorney that fully understands your product at the most technical level. They should be able to explain the invention to a greenie.
Side note: Harvey Specter (from Suits) won numerous cases for McKernon Motors because he understands car engines in and out. His enthusiasm shines through whenever he talks about the topic.
Now, that illustration is fictional. Nevertheless, we recommend choosing a patent attorney with the same level of understanding about your product.
But how will you know if a patent attorney thoroughly understands your niche?
- Check the firm’s and attorney's website
- Meet the exact attorney that will represent you
- Engage the patent attorney in a conversation to weigh their knowledge
Check The Attorney History With USPTO
In addition to an attorney's technical expertise, you should be sure they have an excellent standing with the authorities.
Does the patent attorney have a smooth history with USPTO? What is their success ratio? When a patent application was rejected, did the attorney conduct examiner interviews? How many? What's the success rate?
The list of likely questions can go on. But now, at least, you understand the basic requirements.
But there's another vital question: why should you care about the history of a patent attorney or firm with USPTO?
An attorney/firm with a solid reputation with USPTO increases your chances of successfully filing your patents.
Check The Attorney's History Of Foreign Filing
If you only want to restrict your product to within the US, don't bother about foreign filing. But you never know; you might upscale down the line and move to the global market.
So, it is crucial to choose an attorney with good standing with foreign authorities as much as the USPTO.
In that case, start with the following questions:
●What jurisdictions (outside the US) does the attorney have a working relationship with? Does any fall within your area of interest?
●Can the attorney file a patent for you in an unfamiliar jurisdiction?
●How many foreign patents does the attorney file per year? What's the success rate?
Ask About Billing Arrangements
Understandably, money matters are delicate. As a result, we advise inventors to handle it last when they want to patent a product.
Don't soil the entire patent process by discussing billing first. Put it last when the fine details are understood and sealed.
That said, how should you handle the billing arrangements?
●For starters, don't ask for a draft until you personally know what is required for your patent application.
●Will the patent application be a hit success without stress? Will you hit a snag?
●Ask for the anticipated cost, and instruct the attorney to come up with three quotes. Working with a range can give you closure.
Overall, the longer your patent application drags, the more money you'll spend. That is, even more, the reason why you need to hire the right parent attorney. Choose an expert to help you get results as soon as possible and save money.