How to Select the Right Patent Lawyer


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A patent lawyer can help handle patent applications in order to try to get the patent approved and intellectual property protected. However, it is critical to the success of this process to choose the right patent lawyer. Some steps that can lead to this eventual success include:

Expertise

One of the most important aspects of selecting the right patent lawyer is to look at the expertise that each one has. If the patent lawyer has succeeded in securing patents for similar inventions and ideas, he or she may be able to secure the next patent. If the patent lawyer has minimal experience in this field, he or she may not be prepared to represent you.

In order to secure a patent, a patent lawyer has to be diligent in preparing the patent application correctly. How well the patent is written will dictate the value of the patent. If the meaningful ideas are not encapsulated in the patent application, other people may be able to steal the idea and profit off of it with little recourse possible for the original inventor. When considering various patent lawyers, ask how many patent applications the patent lawyer has submitted and how many have been approved.

Reputation of the Firm

In addition to the patent lawyer’s own expertise, it is important to consider the reputation of the firm. Junior associates and support staff may assist with the process, so it is important to understand the reputation of the firm as a whole rather than to look exclusively at the patent lawyer. A firm with a good reputation will likely go the extra mile to perform necessary research and to review the patent application to ensure its approval. In contrast, a firm with a reputation of not calling clients, rushing to get applications out the door or trying to make every patent follow the same boilerplate language may be a risk to an inventor who only desires to protect his or her ideas.

Price

While price is an important consideration in most decisions, this one factor should not be exclusively determinative. Individuals who go with the cheapest option may wind up paying more in the long run if the patent is denied and the inventor must start over. A poorly written patent can often cause the inventor to lose time and money if the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s patent examiner denies the patent.

Background

Sometimes information in the patent lawyer’s background may be particularly relevant. For example, he or she may have education or experience in engineering or science. You may wish to retain someone who has a background in the same general area in which your patent would apply so that you know the patent lawyer has a better understanding of the invention. A lawyer with a relevant background will be able to better understand the invention if he or she is familiar with the industry.

Desire to Research

Many patent lawyers may not have extensive experience in a particular industry. Patents are designed for all types of industries. However, the patent lawyer must be willing to become knowledgeable in this arena even if he or she is not familiar with the invention’s concept so that he or she can better explain the invention in the patent application.

Individual Attention

Another important aspect of an attorney/client relationship is that the patent lawyer takes the extra time to develop a relationship with the client. He or she should be engaged in the process and listen to the details regarding the invention. Individual attention is very important in intellectual property cases because the lawyer will ultimately be responsible for explaining the invention in a way that others can understand, so he or she must understand the invention’s nuances.

Staying in touch with a client is important. Go over any reviews listed for the patent lawyers you are considering. If other clients have complained that they do not return calls or basically ignored them during representation, you can expect the same type of treatment.

Be sure that you ask during lawyer interviews if the lawyer you are speaking to will be the one handling the patent process. If the work is given to a less experienced lawyer, you need to be aware of this information to make an informed decision.

Lawyer Interviews

Before deciding on a particular lawyer to represent you in the patent process, conduct lawyer interviews in which you meet prospective people whom you may give the job. Prepare a list of questions. Consider how you feel with each prospect and narrow down the list as you go.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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