When to Talk with Patent Lawyers: Keeping Your Ideas Safe
Are you and your business looking for an opportunity to patent an idea or an invention that you’ve created?
Perhaps you’re wanting to learn more about the possibility of strengthening the legal side of your business. Maybe you want to make sure that you’re protected and want someone that will keep an eye out for companies stealing your idea.
Whatever the case might be, your brand should take the time to invest in a high-quality patent attorney that knows the ins and outs.
Here are several things that you should look for in patent lawyers. Be sure to consider all of these factors as you search for one.
1. Attorney-Client Cohesiveness
Even the most experienced patent attorneys at the top of their field won’t be able to understand an invention that you’ve created fully.
One of the biggest misunderstandings that clients (people such as yourself) have about the process is that an attorney will sort through all the information that you give them.
Many people dump a bunch of different sketches and information on their patent attorneys, expecting them to make sense of it all. However, you’re the one that invented it, so you’re the one that needs to explain how it works.
It’s your job to explain the invention, and it’s they’re job to form a legally-binding patent around it.
For that reason, you want to make sure that you get off to a good start the attorney you end up hiring. There will be many meetings to discuss the invention, so you’ll want to make sure you two communicate well.
2. Proper Experience
While it’s admirable that some people want to give an up-and-coming attorney a try, the patents of your business isn’t a good place to take that type of risk.
You need someone with the experience and the know-how to apply for your patents, as well as survey the market for different aspects you can patent.
The application process is a tedious beast, and you’ll want to make sure you have an attorney that lists out every possible detail.
Without a patent containing exhaustive detail, companies will be able to use some aspects of your idea without any legal repercussions.
Be sure to set yourself up with a trusted patent law attorney that knows the process, knows the system, and has the track record to prove it!
3. Diligent and Honest Answers to Your Questions
You should never hire the first patent attorney that you come into contact with. Be sure to give yourself plenty of different options before you reach a decision.
One of the best ways to filter down your options is to perform interviews between you and your top choices.
Make sure to have several questions to ask all of them, then write down their answers and consider all of the different notes that you have from each.
If you’re drawing a blank of the types of questions that you should answer, then here are several to get you started.
What experience do you have with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)? Do you have experience in patent prosecution? What kind of firms do you typically represent?
How do you bill the clients that you have? Do you have a list of references that I can call? How long have you been working with the USPTO, and what’s the relationship like?
4. Their Firm’s Reputation
Not all organizations are a direct sign of the customer experience that you’ll have with a specific employee.
For example, you could have a Jiffy Lube that has horrible online reviews, but one car mechanic with over 20 years of car maintenance experience.
However, when it comes to patent law, you’ll want to stick pretty close to the reputations you find of a particular firm. Their reputation and practice hold pretty true to the attorneys within the firm.
There are several ways to find the reputation of the firm that you’re interested in—one of the best methods being to look at online reviews.
While you can only take some reviews with a grain of salt, you can use the consensus of the reviews as your indicator.
For instance, there might be one glaringly-negative review, but if a majority of the rest are positive, you can assume it’s a good sign.
Let your interview with the attorney determine whether or not you can trust the negative review that you read online.
There are two ways that a patent attorney may want you to pay them: hourly or a flat rate. Depending on the size of your business, one might work better than the other.
If their firm bills by the hour, then make sure to ask them how much their hourly rate is. Ask the same for their flat rate, and also make sure to clarify how often that flat rate is expected.
Some firms will offer a free consultation to determine what aspects of your idea that they feel they would be able to patent.
Also, if you’re interested in filing an international patent, then be sure to bring that up in the initial interview. Make sure they have the capability and experience to file internationally, and they give you an estimate for doing so.
Find the Patent Lawyers for Your Need!
Now that you’ve seen several key things to look for in patent lawyers, it’s time to find the right fit for your ideas.
Remember, be sure to interview several attorneys. However, if there is one that you feel especially good about, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger!
Be sure to browse our website for more articles relating to attorneys, as well as other helpful information.