6 Tips for Hiring a Patent Attorney in Austin

In 2022, 382,559 patents were issued, including utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. The average utility patent takes 25.2 months from filing to completion or when the applicant abandons it. 

Getting a potential patent approved is a detailed process that requires a unique arm of the law. You also need a good patent attorney vs. a convenient one to ensure the process has a positive outcome. 

So, if you have an invention or idea you want to get a patent for, where should you look for a patent attorney in Austin? You also want to know what to consider when hiring a patent lawyer. 

Read on to learn more about what to consider as you prepare to hire a patent attorney. 

What Does a Patent Attorney Do?

A patent attorney specializes in patent laws. This highly specialized field of law requires the attorney to have in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations connected to granting a patent. 

As an inventor, it would be your role to know your invention inside and out to discuss questions and even guide the attorney’s understanding of your product. 

Your patent attorney will guide your patent application through the process with the patent offices, ensuring all regulations and laws related to getting a patent were followed. 

As important as your invention is, many believe hiring the right patent lawyer is a fundamental part of protecting your invention by hiring the right attorney. 

1. Encourage a Self Investigation

As you consider hiring an attorney for your patent, you need a lawyer forthcoming about the road to getting a patent. They should be willing to encourage your role in the process, including the things you can address yourself without their involvement. 

You already know that the only inventions eligible for a patent are ones that don’t already exist. The first step in the process is doing due diligence to ensure your invention is the first of its kind. 

You can’t protect your intellectual property adequately unless you know what else is out on the market that might be a hiccup to your patent application. 

What products that might be like yours are on the market and create an issue? A reasonable patent attorney is going to encourage you to do your research. The more prepared you are from this step, the more you can address potential conflicts in your application.

2. Encourage an Art Search

Under patent law, there’s a term called art search. Basically, if prior art exists, it shows that your invention isn’t unique and wouldn’t pass the rigors of the patent application process. 

You want an attorney who will encourage you to do some deep digging of art search. Are there any references to anything like your invention in existing patents?

You might wonder if your patent attorney should do the work involving an art search on your behalf. A good patent attorney would say no. If there’s existing art, you no longer need a patent attorney. 

Do your part to ensure your invention doesn’t exist already. 

3. Practice With a Trust vs. Fear Philosophy

When hiring a lawyer, you need to know you’re working with someone invested in your invention. 

It’s natural for you to worry that someone else might beat you to the patent, and you miss your chance. Yet, it’s also essential to go through the steps and be sure you’ve done it right so your patent gets awarded. 

You want to work with a patent attorney who’s more interested in guiding you through the steps than rushing you. If they push you to skip steps or work to instill fear, if you don’t go fast, they might not be the right choice for you.

4. Upfront Cost Information

Anytime you hire a professional to provide a service, you must understand the costs upfront. 

Getting a patent can be a lengthy process where you’ll rely on the attorney often. You want to work with a patent attorney willing to clearly spell out costs at each step of the process. 

Once your patent attorney has assisted with the patent application, you’ll receive office actions from the patent examiner. These are reasons they’ve come up with not to issue a patent. 

Then your attorney will then need to go in and argue each action to show why the examiner might be wrong. It can require a fair amount of labor from the lawyer, so be prepared. 

5. Provisional vs. Nonprovisional Patent Applications

There are two ways to apply for your patent, and both might have merits depending on your situation. 

A provisional patent application (PPA) means you describe your patent without claims and seek a patent pending status for a year. This allows you to continue to investigate the value of your patent. 

Some attorneys will say you should jump to the non-provisional application. Again, they might suggest fear that you might miss your chance.

Make sure you hire an attorney who discusses your options and shows you how provisional patents and non-provisional are different and how each might work for you.

6. Address Office Actions

Patent law is unusual because you must take steps to prove your invention is worthy. 

The patent examiner will send back office actions. If you don’t want the patent process to drag on for a long time, your attorney must be proactive in addressing the office actions. 

They should be willing to set up a face-to-face meeting with the patent examiner to discuss concerns. This will help to expedite the process.

Hiring a Trademark Attorney in Austin

As you consider which patent attorney in Austin is your best choice, hire someone willing to take you through the process step by step. You want an attorney who will care as much about your invention as you do.

Let us help you with your patent. Contact us today to discuss your invention and see how we can help you.

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