You have an invention, and you want to find a patent attorney to help you protect your ideas. How do you find the right patent attorney for your project?
Here are 8 tips to finding the right fit:
· Take some time to develop a summary of your invention, for example:
What technology does it involve? Who are your competitors, and how crowded is the field? What aspects of your invention need to be protected? What does your invention contribute to your field?
This will help you determine what type of attorney you will need. Intellectual property covers many areas, including patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret. You will want to find an attorney who can meet all of your needs.
· Ask for recommendations from other inventors or local inventor groups.
You can find local inventor organizations at the USPTO website here: Organizations for Inventors.
· Search the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) records.
The USPTO maintains a roster of all registered patent attorneys and agents at: Persons Recognized to Practice in Patent Matters. You can search the roster by name or geographic location.
· Make sure your prospective attorney is in good standing at the USPTO by searching their disciplinary history at: The USPTO Office of Enrollment and Discipline or by calling (571) 272.4097.
· Make sure your prospective attorney is in good standing with their state bar. Patent attorneys have to maintain ethical and continuing education standards both before the USPTO and before the state bar in which they are licensed.
· Contact more than one attorney, so you can compare.
Once you have two or more attorneys on your list, you will want to make sure they are a good fit for your needs. Some initial questions to ask the attorney include:
· Do they have experience working in your technology area?
Patent attorneys often develop areas of expertise around their education backgrounds and client experience. Different technology areas have different considerations. Ask if they have drafted patent applications in your technology area, and what types of clients they currently serve.
· Do they have experience with inventors like you?
Are you a solo inventor? A start up technology company? An established company building your portfolio? Each of these scenarios provides its own unique considerations for patenting.
Finding the right patent attorney for your project can take some time, but it is well worth the investment. Do some investigation and trust your instincts when making a final decision. Your relationship with your patent attorney should be a long and fruitful one.
Karrie Weaver practices intellectual property, trademark, patent, and trade secret law.