There are about 1.3 million licensed lawyers in the U.S. and about 34,000 of them are licensed to handle patent cases.
The patent sector continues to grow as more people across the country seek to protect their creations of the mind, including inventions, designs, literary and artistic works, names, images, and symbols used in commerce.
If you have a unique idea that’s so creative that it could become profitable if you developed it further, then you should protect it by all means. That’s where patent lawyers come in.
But what is a patent attorney? How can they help you protect your new invention? How do you identify a patent attorney you can trust?
These are some of the issues we discuss in this post. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Patent Attorney?
A patent refers to an exclusive right that the state grants an inventor to allow them to control the commercial exploitation of their invention. This invention needs to be new and not obvious.
Patent attorneys are legal experts with an expertise in IP law that pertains to the securing and protection of an inventor’s property rights. A patent lawyer has passed the patent bar exam and earned a license to provide legal assistance to inventors. A patent attorney can represent you before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Why Hire a Patent Attorney?
While hiring a patent attorney is not mandatory during the patent search and application process, it’s always a smart idea. Why? Here are several clear reasons to get legal assistance from a seasoned patent law practitioner.
You Benefit From their Expertise
While you may know the ins and outs of your invention, chances are you know little about patent law. The process of getting a patent can be both lengthy and complex. On average, the entire process takes about two years.
A licensed and experienced patent lawyer can help take the stress out of the process. That’s because they have the necessary training in the area and have handled countless patent application processes before. They have a thorough understanding of what needs to be done to get the stamp of approval.
They Take Care of Documentation and Filing
One of the most confusing parts of the patent process is preparing the required documents and filing them. There are lots of guidelines you need to follow. All descriptions and diagrams must be precise.
An experienced patent attorney knows how to properly draft your patent application. They also understand when and how to file these documents, so you never miss deadlines.
They Save You Time
As an entrepreneur, you have a lot on your plate. Chances are you’re always occupied with numerous aspects of your business, including operations, logistics, marketing, and recruitment. You need to focus on these responsibilities to achieve your business goals for the year.
With so much going on, the last thing you want is to add the stress of following up on patents. The patent process can take hundreds of hours or much more. That’s time you don’t have.
When you hire a competent patent attorney, they do most of the heavy lifting on your behalf. This frees up your time to focus on other aspects of your business.
They Offer Much-Needed Legal Advice
If this is your first invention, it’s likely you don’t know where to start when it comes to obtaining a patent. What type of patent will you apply for? Should you file a provisional patent application or not?
Your patent lawyer can shed light on these things. Throughout the patent process, your attorney provides advice on any aspects that you don’t understand. With their guidance, your chances of getting a patent are dramatically improved.
Your Attorney Can Help in Cases of Patent Infringement
Learning that someone has brought a product that’s suspiciously similar to your invention to the market can be a huge disappointment. If you have reason to believe that this person stole your idea, you shouldn’t hesitate to take legal action.
Chances are the other party will hire legal representation, and so should you. During litigation, the opposing parties will make various claims against each other. Your attorney can help encourage settlement as early as possible.
If the case proceeds to federal court, your infringement attorney will represent you during the litigation process.
Hiring the Right Patent Attorney
With roughly 34,000 licensed patent attorneys in the United States, you have numerous options to choose from when seeking legal assistance for securing a patent. But how do you identify an attorney who’s best suited to your needs?
Check out these three tips.
Check Legal Experience
It’s not enough that your potential attorney specializes in patent law. You want to verify whether they have actual experience dealing with clients in your situation. How successful have they been prosecuting cases before the USPTO?
You want to work with an attorney who has a proven track record.
Inquire About Technical Experience
Patent attorneys must possess a certain amount of technical expertise to pass the patent bar exam. That means they need to hold a bachelor’s degree in a technical field or its equivalent.
Of course, not all patent lawyers have a similar technical background. Go for someone who can understand the technology you’ve developed or are working on. For instance, you don’t want to work with an attorney with a background in biology if your invention focuses on nanotechnology.
The vast majority of consumers check what other customers say about a brand before doing business with them. Do the same. You want to get a good idea of what to expect from your potential patent attorney.
Go online to check reviews about the firm. Ask the attorney for references and call two or three of them to verify whether the attorney provides satisfactory services before you hire them.
Hire the Right Patent Attorney for You
We hope that you now have the answers to your questions: what is a patent attorney, and how can they help in the patent process? As you begin the hunt for the best attorney for you, focus on the tips we’ve shared here to get the best legal representation for you.
Would you like to learn more about the patent process? Please keep visiting our blog for featured articles.