Before continuing, please be aware that I am not a patent attorney and the information I’m about to offer is not legal advice. I have personally been the recipient of more than 20 issued patents, though. I’ve spent over $500,000 on these patent applications along this voyage.
Through these experiences, I’ve gained valuable insights that can assist you in efficiently managing your patent process and potentially saving you money.
Just like in any field, not all patent attorneys are equally skilled. Some are more proficient than others. However, remember that simply paying more money doesn’t guarantee better results. What truly matters is the information you give your patent attorney. The quality of their work relies on the details you provide.
This strategic approach ensures you’re getting the best value out of your collaboration. What do I mean by value? It’s about securing a patent that aligns perfectly with your business objectives.
Begin your journey by reaching out to individuals you trust and respect. Ask them about their experiences with patent attorneys and if they have any recommendations. Gathering referrals from reliable sources is an excellent way to initiate your search.
After you’ve found some potential options, make sure to ask them about their past work. Find out how many patents they’ve helped their clients get. You can even double-check this information using the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database.
By blending recommendations from people you trust with facts you can check, you’ll be able to choose a patent professional with confidence.
It’s crucial that whoever you decide to work with creates patents that are easy to read and comprehend. In my experience, patents that are straightforward and understandable hold immense importance.
It’s important to choose a patent attorney who is comfortable with discussing your invention with patent examiners. These discussions can happen when you receive office actions – feedback from examiners that might require adjustments to your patent application.
These office actions can be costly. However, if your patent attorney is skilled at conversing with patent examiners during these discussions, it can lead to cost savings. Fewer office actions mean less money spent overall.
Consider The Firm Size
When you choose a big patent firm, you’ll likely need to spend more money. Here’s why: In larger firms, they often have a team of people working on your invention.
Let me explain. From what I’ve seen, these big firms often have less experienced folks write up your patent application to save costs. Then, a more experienced person reviews it. This is a common practice and isn’t necessarily bad, but it means you might not get a super-senior person to write your patent.
This is one of the reasons why these big firms often ask for more money. Sometimes, the quality might not be super high even though you’re paying a lot. I should note though, that I’ve worked with firms like this, and my patent application turned out really well. But yes, it was expensive.
On the flip side, there are solo patent practitioners, who don’t work for big firms. They’re independent. Solo patent practitioners typically give low-cost services, and I’ve found that the quality of their work is also fairly good. However, I want to emphasize that you must be involved in the process, regardless of who you select. You should have a clear understanding of what you expect from them.
Also, remember this: Patent attorneys in big cities often ask for more money because their expenses are higher. If you search for patent attorneys in smaller cities or quieter regions, they often charge less. So, collaborating with them might end up being more budget-friendly.
So, in simple terms, choosing a big firm might cost more because they have a team working on your patent. Smaller firms or solo practitioners can be cheaper, but it depends on your involvement and where they’re located.
An Alternate Way: Choosing A Patent Agent To Save Money
If you’re seeking an alternative approach to managing your patent process more affordably, consider opting for a patent agent. These professionals provide a similar range of services as patent attorneys. The only difference is that they can’t represent you in court battles. However, they’ve passed the bar at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), making them experts in patent matters.
I’ve personally chosen to work with patent agents for many of my inventions due to their lower costs. But remember, just like with attorneys, you should always ask for an upfront estimate of their fees. Inquire about the full expenses, including office actions. Seek clarity on any potential adjustments or changes in the process. This information helps you plan your budget more effectively.
I’ve discovered that if the cost exceeds the initial estimate by more than 10%, many patent agents are willing to adjust their billing. Initially, I used to call my patent attorney for every little question, which added up quickly in terms of expenses.
Now, I’ve learned to be more cost-conscious. If I have a question, I send a concise email after doing my own research. Keep in mind that you may frequently find helpful information online rather than relying on your attorney or agent, saving you both time and money. However, some questions may still require their expertise, but for the most part, emails have proven to be a more efficient and cost-effective communication method.
It’s crucial to understand what already exists before patenting your invention. This existing information is called “prior art.” The prior art includes anything that’s similar to your invention and has already been made public. Knowing about prior art is vital because it can prevent you from getting a patent if your idea is not unique.
I strongly advise you to learn how to search for prior art yourself. It’s also a good idea to have someone else, like a third party, help you search. This helps ensure that your invention stands out and is different from what’s already out there. If you find prior art that’s similar to your idea, you can adjust or redesign your invention to make it truly unique and patentable.
Align Your Patent Claims With Your Business Goals
Another important tip to remember is to make sure that the descriptions in your patent match the things you want to protect about your invention. Write down all the important parts of your invention and make sure the descriptions in the patent cover those parts. This helps make sure your patent is working towards what you want to achieve for your business.
Why Choosing A Larger Patent Firm Can Be Advantageous
One great thing about going with a bigger patent firm is that they can assist if you run into any legal problems, like lawsuits. Also, if they’re experienced in dealing with legal cases, it can influence how they create patents.
This became really helpful when I ended up in federal court. The patents they had written for me played a significant role. Moreover, because they were responsible for all my patents, they were open to handling my lawsuit without immediate payment. I’m not sure if this is usual, but it was how it worked out for me.
You might not have to choose a patent attorney or agent based solely on where they are located. While many inventors believe in-person meetings are essential, I’ve found that it’s not always necessary. With various communication methods available, you can explore professionals beyond your city’s boundaries.
So, to wrap it up, getting a patent might seem like a big deal, and it can cost you some money. But if you follow some smart steps, you can make things easier on your wallet. Ask people you trust for advice, and make sure you and your patent professional understand each other well and know what you want. Remember, your patent person should be on your side, especially during stressful times. By doing these things, you can navigate the patent world without breaking the bank.