Guide to Finding Patent Attorneys
What is a Patent Attorney?
Patents are exclusive rights, granted by government bodies to inventors; a patent protects an individual’s creation for a limited time period in exchange for a public disclosure of an idea or invention.
The process of issuing patents and the requirements for securing a patent will vary based on location and international law. Frequently, a patent application will contain one or more claims to define the idea or invention. To be granted a patent, the idea or invention must be deemed as a new, useful or industrially applicable creation.
Patents offer the creator the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, distributing or selling the underlying idea or invention without permission. Therefore, patents secure the right to prevent other individuals or manufacturers from using the protected invention or idea.
There protections are regulated under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. This governmental organization offers patents to WTO member states for inventions or ideas relating to all fields of technology. The protected rights attached to patent offers exclusivity to its holder for a minimum of twenty years; however, patents may be equipped with changeable terms.
What is a Patent Attorney?
Patent attorneys are legal professionals who possess a particular knowledge, deemed necessary for aiding clients in the process of applying for a patent.
A patent attorney is a licensed professional; these individuals represent clients before the United States and Patent and Trademark Office. Patent attorneys, in addition to being licensed to practice patent law, must also be admitted in at least one territory or U.S. state. Therefore, patent attorneys must not only pass the USPTO registration examination but also secure licensing through a state’s Bar. Currently, there are roughly 45,000 patent attorneys in the United States; roughly 32,000 of these individuals are legally allowed to practice patent law.
A patent attorney will typically provide the following services to his/her clients: explain the exclusive rights granted by a patent; advice concerning appealing a decision rendered by the Patent Office (a patent attorney can appeal cases to a traditional court); provide advice concerning infringement issues (the patent attorney will decide whether to sue for infringement); provide advice regarding his/her clients actions and whether they can be, conversely, viewed as infringement; and elucidating on the patent application process, including providing advice on how to fill out and submit the application. Patent attorneys may not offer legal services that extend beyond the traditional activities mentioned above. A patent attorney also may not represent clients before the Trademark Office.
Searching for a Patent Attorney:
If you have created an invention that has an industrial application or have an idea that is both novel and compelling, you should talk with a patent attorney to discuss your options and the benefits associated with protecting your idea/invention. To effectively search for a patent attorney in your area please follow these steps:
1. Visiting the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office is the first step to finding a patent attorney in your area. Because every patent attorney must obtain a license to practice law from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the government body offers a full-fledged database to facilitate your search for representation. The USPTO database provides listings of all registered patent attorneys in the United States. Each listing will contain the professional’s contact information and licensing status. All searches will reflect the most up-to-date information.
2. https://oedci.uspto.gov/OEDCI/query.jsp when you visit the USTPO database, simply enter your location; the database will list all patent attorneys in your area.
3. After compiling a list of all licensed patent attorneys in your area you must conduct your own due-diligence to find the most effective patent attorney. To gather more information on patent attorneys, you must observe client testimonials, court documents and the individual’s website—or the website of his/her firm. Information gathered from these resources will illuminate the individual’s efficiency, experience, educational background and to some extent, his/her personality.
4. Utilizing Internet searches is the most effective means to gather biographical information on each patent attorney. Simply type in the individual’s name into Google or another popular search engine. The results should yield his/her firm. When you click on the link to the firm’s website you will invariably be provided access to additional information including: the individual’s experience with patent law, famous cases, testimonials and his/her educational experience.
5. In addition to reviewing biographical information, you should also observe client testimonials. These first-hand accounts are offered by past clients to rate the respective patent attorney.
6. If you follow these steps you should be able to amass enough information to effectively predict the respective patent attorney’s effectiveness.
Fees Associated with Patent Attorneys:
The fees associated with patent attorneys will vary significantly depending on a few factors: your location and the patent attorney’s experience are crucial variables that affect the total cost of hiring representation. Based on 2011 economic data, the majority of patent attorneys charge by the hour. The national median charged by patent attorneys was $240 per hour. More experienced patent attorneys will charge roughly $300 per hour while less experienced patent attorneys will charge below $200. Remember, location is one of the key variables that shift a patent attorney’s pay scale. Cities such as New York or Boston will typically charge 25% more than rural or less populated regions of the U.S.