If you have an idea or invention you want to protect, you need to file a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). One of the best things you can do to make sure you have success is to hire an intellectual property attorney to guide you through the process. There are also things you can do to make sure your experience with your intellectual property lawyer is a good one. It is worth noting that today’s patent laws were developed back in the 17th century. These laws have been with us since the country was founded.
- Never forget that your patent lawyer works for you. When people are working with intellectual property attorneys, they sometimes lose sight of this fact. Before you hire an intellectual property law firm, you should talk about your expectations, work on what deliverables you can expect, and set your boundaries. You should also be sure you understand the law firm’s billing process and policies. Lastly, you need to get along with your attorney so take that into consideration when you are talking to different attorneys.
- Talk to people you know. If you know people who have applied for a patent and they hired a patent lawyer, ask them how they found the lawyer they went with, what the experience was like working with them and if they think they did a good job. The best way to get decent products or services is to get recommendations from people you know and trust.
- Make sure you hire an intellectual property attorney who knows your business. If they do not understand the kind of business you are in and what you do, they will not be able to fully understand what you have created and to file a successful patent application.
- Do not be afraid to look outside of your region. The good news about patent law is that it is not region specific. Your patent coverage will extend to the entire United States. This means you can work with your intellectual property attorney from a long distance and still be successful. The main thing is to talk to the right attorney who knows the ins and outs of what you do and has a great track record with successful patent applications.
- Decide if you would be better served with a small or large firm. There are pros and cons of each. Larger law firms may be able to provide more soup to nuts help. They may also have more clout along the way. That is not to say smaller law firms cannot help, you just need to decide what you need and who can best provide you with that.
- Be very forthcoming. When you are looking for help from a medical or legal professional, you should always be as honest and forthcoming as you can. You are the expert in what you have developed and created but even the most experienced patent lawyer cannot see into your head. You need to give them as much information as they need to help you get your patent. This is not a time for passivity.
- Make sure you have all of your paperwork in order. Anything you receive from your law firm needs to be itemized and in writing. This will prevent any problems along the way and then at the end. Scan in all of your bills or keep paper copies and compare them to the documents you received when you first hired the law firm. You will need this if you feel they are overcharging you.
- Do your own research. The more you know about the process to get a patent application in and approved, the better your experience will be. You may even want to record the conversations you have with anyone at the law firm. You get billed every time you talk to your lawyer so limit that to only the most pressing matters.
It is very important to keep in mind that your relationship with your intellectual property lawyer does not end when you get your patent application approved. You may also need to work with them to protect your patent after it is approved or to expand its protections as things change.