If you are a creative person, it is important that you work to protect your intellectual property. In the United States, the number of patent applications filed each year doubled to 520,000 from 1998 to 2010. When you consider that there 400 patents per person were issued by the U.S. Patent Office between 1915 and 1916. That number had skyrocketed to 120,000 patents per person between 2010 and 2011. Globally, between 2012 and 2013, the number of patents that were issued went up by 9%. Approximately 2.6 million patents were granted worldwide during that time frame. If you have an invention that you want to protect, you may not know how to do it. Not everyone is an expert in patent and trademark law.
Do I Need a Patent Attorney?
There are a lot of good reasons to seek out the advice of an expert in patent and trademark law. They can help make sure the invention idea is ready for a patent application to be filed. They can help see any international applications of the product in question. They can help the inventor protect their product by not putting too many specifics or information that may open them up for theft.
Many inventors do not realize how complicated the process of filing a patent application is and how many ways they can be hurt by a poorly written application. It makes a lot of sense to at least talk to an expert in patent and trademark law if you have something that you would like to protect.
How Do I Find a Good Intellectual Property Lawyer?
Talk to the people you know. Do you know other people who have gotten their patent applications? What about trademarks or copyrights? Copyright, patent and trademark law is very complicated and each part is a little different but if you know someone who has worked with a law firm to protect their intellectual property, that law firm may be able to help you. It is always worth it to ask the people you know who have gone through the process of protecting something they have created.
Make sure the attorney you select has a lot of experience in this area. Like doctors specialize, so do attorneys. You need a lawyer who has a lot of patent applications that they have gotten approved. Ask them how many patent applications they have written. You may want to ask to see some samples of their work in this area but the proof really is in the pudding. These applications can be very technical and specific so the ratio of their success is more important.
Find a lawyer who has experience in your field. Patent and trademark law is complicated enough. If you find a lawyer who is familiar with your field and the technology that is associated with it, it will make their job easier. One source of information for finding this information is to go to the U.S. Patent Office’s website. If you look at patent applications for similar products, you can see what lawyer, if any, filed them.
The U.S. Patent Office is a good resource for finding patent lawyers. There are searchable database where you can look for attorneys all over the country. If you really want to be able to go in and talk to someone in your area, you can find someone who is local to you.
Beware, there are scams out there. If you do a search engine search you may find what they call idea marketing companies. According to the U.S. Patent Office, scams involving these kinds of firms will take at least $200 million from inventors. These firms prey on people’s desire to get protection for their intellectual property.
Talk turkey with the attorney. You need to find out how much they will charge. It is important to get the right price. The most expensive attorney may not be the best but the cheapest may cost you more in the long run. Use your best judgement when asking about costs.
If you do your research and talk to a few firms, you should be able to find a copyright, patent and trademark law firm that can help you protect yourself and your intellectual property.