Patent Law Firm

Patent Law Firm

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Patent Law Firm

 

There are not too many patent law firms, as there are not too many patent lawyers.  Patent lawyers are subject to strict rules and examinations so this combined with the relatively specialized nature of patent law ensures that only the largest cities will have patent law firms.  Luckily, for the small town inventor, most functions of the patent law firm can be conducted online through secured connections or through the telephone.  Your patent law related needs will largely dictate the scope and cost of the patent law firm services.  Be clear of your needs before retaining services and you will keep your legal fees at an acceptable amount.

What are the qualifications of patent lawyers in the patent law firm?

The qualification of patent lawyers differs from typically lawyers in a number of ways.  For one, they must pass a specialized bar exam created and administered by the US government as well as at least one state bar exam.  This differs from other lawyers that only need to pass bar exams in their respective states to practice law in that state.  Patent lawyer that work in patent law firms must also be specialized in certain fields before they may evaluate potential patents related to that field.  As such, all patent lawyers have to demonstrate at least college level understanding in one or more typical categories of patents.  As you can tell, those having both this and legal knowledge is not common.

The difficulty of the specialized bar exam also keeps the number of patent law firms low.  Those testing must score better than 70% on the test, which has two parts, each three hours and composed of patent law matters.  Once the patent attorney passes this test, they may set up a patent law firm, as argue patent law cases and dispense advice on “patentability” of patent seeker’s inventions.

Where to look for a patent law firm

This website can help you find a patent law firm through the Find Attorneys function at the top of the page.  You may also compare attorneys and find the answers to common legal questions through this service.  Enter your query in the search box to begin.

Alternatively, you may use the US Patent Office directory of all registered patent agents and attorneys, at https://oedci.uspto.gov/OEDCI/query.jsp.  This directory is sortable and searchable.  Expect these patent law firms to be vetted and reliable, unless noted otherwise.

Do I need a patent law firm?

If you are dealing with a patent law issue then you certainly need to contact a patent law firm.  Only those that have passed the USPTO bar exam can defend your claim and will know the how to fill out the necessary paperwork properly.  Experienced inventors can work with the USPTO directly.  You, as a first time inventor, should contact a patent law firm for guidance through the process and paperwork.

What is the difference between patent agents and patent lawyers?

Patent lawyers have been admitted to the state bar in the United States and as such, can represent you in court regarding your patent claim.  Patent agents are trained by the USPTO and can help with the necessary document preparation, but cannot represent you in legal matters.  These legal matters include appealing a USPTO decision or suing for copyright infringement.

 

Evaluating Experience & Education

As discussed earlier the USPTO has stringent regulations on who may become a patent lawyer and work in a patent law firm.  These qualifications include:

- Admission to practice law in one or more states

- Equivalent of a science or technology bachelor’s degree

- Pass the USPTO examination with a score of 70% or better.

- Good moral character and reputation

Personality & Values

If you are carrying out a long distance relationship with your law firm, expect a clear line of communication and a contact policy with the patent law firm.  You will need to set conditions for contacting the law firm with questions and establish if any costs will be billed to you or deducted from a retainer.  Look for a favorable contact policy if you do not have the option to visit the patent law firm routinely to deal with your matters.

If necessary, report unethical behavior and disputes to the USPTO for investigation and resolution.  Most patent law firms will have a clear record of excellence and good relations with clients.

Preparing for an appointment

Assess you needs more speaking with the patent law firm for the first time.  Determine if you need documents prepared for the initial claim, a case to be fought or appealed, or if you want to check on the status of your patent claim.  Identifying your needs will help the patent law firm structure a fee arrangement that suits those needs.

The most onerous part of patent law will be the initial claim.  To file such a claim with the help of the patent law firm, gather relevant information about their invention or idea, such as schematics, partners and intellectual property so that the patent lawyer can assess which services you need.  You may need to provide illustrations or visual aids with your application as well as technical documents that explain how it works.  This document preparation may be a flat fee service or one that is billed hourly.  This differs by patent law firms.  The patent law firm can help you evaluate the strengths of your proposal and rewrite it accordingly.

Rates, Fees & Retainers 

Most patent law firm services will be flat fee services on a needs basis.  If you are using the patent law firm’s time, expect to pay by the hour for the use of lawyers and law firm resources.  There will be additional fees for copying documents and filing fees if you opt to have the patent law firm deal with the paperwork on your behalf.

If you have to represent your claim in court or need a long term relationship with the patent law firm, expect to set up a billable retainer account for legal fees.  Know how you will be billed out of this account should you opt for this arrangement.

 

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