The Job of a Patent Attorney
If you want to obtain a patent for your invention, you must consult and hire the services of a patent lawyer.
The journey of a patent lawyer
Patent agents or patent lawyers, after obtaining a degree in science or engineering (chemical engineering for example), are those who passed the patent bar. In some countries (like Australia and New Zealand) they have to undergo a series of technical workshops accredited by the Professional Standards Board.
Experienced patent lawyers have undergone apprenticeship training. Writing, filing, and defending patent applications or patent registrations require years of training in the patent laws.
Legal services and representation
Patent lawyers possess knowledge about patent laws, rules and other technical procedures involving patent applications; they know how the patent office works; they are admitted as lawyers in one of the states in the U.S.
Their job is to represent you in United State Patent Office; they are responsible for filing patent applications and oppositions to patent registrations. Furthermore, they also represent you in court if you want to sue another person for patent infringement (or in case you are sued). Court proceedings are hard to understand, especially for laymen. Hence, you need patent lawyers to represent, file and defend your legal action in court. Patent lawyers possess degrees in science or engineering. Therefore, you can also consult them on how you can enhance or improve your invention. They can also help you with your research on your invention.
Patent lawyers make your patent application easier and hassle free. They are responsible for following up your patent applications with the proper government agencies. Once you hire a patent lawyer, you are required to give him general or special power of attorneys and other authorization papers.
Actually, the patent office will not communicate to you any concerns that they might have regarding your patent application. They will instead communicate them to your representative (i.e. your patent lawyer). In this way, you can ensure that your patent application process will be finished as soon as possible. Hence, make sure that you regularly communicate with your patent lawyer.
There is also what is called the “Attorney-client privilege”. All lawyers, not only patent lawyers, are required to maintain a confidential relationship with their clients. This is to ensure that the client will trust his attorney and disclose all the facts necessary and essential for his legal steps and actions (in your case, the facts and other information required for your patent application.). Hence, inventors are assured that their patent lawyers will not make a disclosure of any information that will endanger their patent application.
Tips in finding the best legal services for patent application
In finding a good patent lawyer who can help you with your patent application, you must choose those who are articulate enough and those who can deeply understand your invention and its technical features. For example, if your invention pertains to medicine, you may want to look for a patent attorney who has a degree or background in medical technology. It is always an advantage but is not really necessary to obtain a patent.
Set boundaries and discuss any expectations with your patent lawyer. If there are any concerns that you might have regarding your patent application, don’t hesitate to communicate them to your patent lawyer.
Do you have a friend who knows many lawyers? Ask him for referrals. If you want to save money, look for patent lawyers in small cities. Patent lawyers in the West Coast, for example, demand higher legal fees than those in the Midwest. Keep in mind though that the patent application process is generally govern by federal laws. Hence, your location would not really matter.
Don’t count yourself out yet because you are still an expert in the technology of your invention. You must know by heart the advantages, disadvantages and features of your invention. Don’t expect that your patent attorney will do all the job. Search for prior patents and know how they differ with your invention.
Know the pros and cons of working with large law firms and independent practitioners. Independent practitioners demand cheaper legal fees compared to large law firms. In large law firms however, you will be able to work with seasoned and experienced patent lawyers. Take into account all the factors and see for yourself what kind of legal service can best accommodate your patent application.
Check out Lawyers.com. In this website, you can customize your search by entering your desired parameters and geographical location. You will be given a short list of qualified lawyers as well. Google these lawyers and know their reputations with regards to law (not only patent) practice so you can determine whether they are accommodating and whether they really are experts in patent law practice.
However, be wary of unscrupulous patent lawyers. Avoid patent lawyers who insist an In-house search. They have their own patent searching system which can make it appear that there are no existing patents or pending patent applications for your invention.