Hiring a Patent Lawyer
A patent lawyer is responsible for protecting the Intellectual Property of an individual or an organisation. If you are an inventor and wish to apply for a patent, while protecting your rights to your invention, you must consult a patent lawyer. This lawyer will examine your invention, guide you through the patent application and help you get a patent for your invention.
Patent lawyers are highly specialised. Not everyone can become a patent lawyer. For anyone to become a patent lawyer, they must have certification or formal education in a certain field. Patent lawyers need to pass two tests. The first examination is the local bar examination and the second is the patent bar examination. So besides obtaining their legal degree, patent lawyers must obtain the Juris Doctor or JD to become eligible to practice as a patent lawyer.
Patent lawyers specialise in subjects and hence a patent lawyer who specialises in telecom cannot be approached for a patent in pharmaceuticals. Did you know that patent lawyers are among the highest paid in the lawyer fraternity?
Educational Requirements and Duties of a Patent Lawyer
A candidate who wants to be a patent lawyer needs to pursue a four year degree in branches of science such as biology, physics, chemistry or engineering or biomedical sciences. Following this, they must pursue a degree in law and obtain the degree. If they wish to represent inventors at the state patent and trademarks organisation, they must obtain a Juris Doctor degree. In the US, lawyers who have been in continuous service of the USPTO for five years are waived off the degree.
With the increasing number of inventions in science and technology, the demand for patent lawyers is growing exponentially. These lawyers are currently highly paid and the job market is expected to be extremely rewarding for patent lawyers in the coming years.
A patent lawyer does the job of protecting the intellectual rights of an inventor on his invention. His job includes searching data on a certain product to ensure that it has not been filed for a patent earlier. On ensuring that the product is patentable, the lawyer drafts and prosecutes the patent application on behalf of the investor. These lawyers also represent their clients in court in case of any dispute related to the patent.
Should I Hire a Patent Lawyer?
Getting a patent lawyer to obtain a patent is not necessary. However, patent laws are complicated and you need the assistance of a patent lawyer to write the patent. While writing a patent you not only have to write down the technicalities of the product, but also include the legal aspects that will protect your rights over the product.
In case you want to write your own patent, you must have a patent lawyer look at your document. It may not be financially feasible to you to get a patent lawyer write your patent. But to get the document vetted by a professional will cost you much less.
If you are not in the position to hire a patent lawyer to even supervise your document, you can write a provisional patent application yourself. The advantage of a provisional application is that you can reach to investors for your product with a patent in your hand. Furthermore, you get a window of one year to file in a formal application. As a result, you stand the chance to get an investor, arrange funds and then hire a patent lawyer.
How to Find a Patent Lawyer
There are portals dedicated to finding patent lawyers. You can search details of a patent lawyer for yourself, preferably near you. On such portals, you can find details of the patents that have been issued thus far and the lawyer that has filed for it. Understand which lawyer has filed for a patent similar to your product. Patent law also includes expertise in a certain field.
Your lawyer should understand the product you have created well enough. He should be able to translate the accurate technical intricacies of your project and the reason why it is unique in a simple, easy-to-understand language. While doing so, he should also be able to get you your patent and protect your interests.
If you think your lawyer doesn’t understand the technology or product you have created, you have every right to question the lawyer to check his knowledge. If you are worried about the cost, discuss openly and in detail about the financials you are okay working with at the moment and put a cap on the expenditure right at the start.
Things to Remember While Meeting a Patent Lawyer
Before meeting a lawyer, there are a few things that you must keep in mind. Hiring a lawyer doesn’t mean that you are giving up the responsibility towards your own invention. For working effectively with a lawyer, it is important that you establish a comfortable working relationship with your lawyer. Here are a few things that you would have to keep in mind while meeting a patent lawyer for your invention.
Patent lawyers are bound by law to not share information that is shared with them by their clients. The initial meeting is usually a non-confidential affair and it is up to you to keep confidential and sensitive information away from the initial conversation. Do not insist on a confidentiality agreement as patent lawyers usually do not sign any such agreement. It might make you look like a difficult person and will come across as a red flag to the lawyer.
You would want your lawyer to be well prepared while representing you in court. To help him in the preparation, cooperate with him and his team as much as you can. Share documents that will help him understand the technicalities of your invention. Share drawings that can help him and his team understand the invention well. The more you cooperate, the stronger application your lawyer can prepare for you.
Unlike a lot of lawyers, patent lawyers do not work on a contingency basis. You might be charged a flat rate for the services of the lawyer. You must understand the lawyer is selling you his services and not a product. This involves a lot of time and effort. So have an open and clear chat with your lawyer regarding his fees and the fee structure, before hiring him on the case.
Things to Ask a Patent Lawyer
Your online search will throw up a number of names and contact details. The challenge is finding the right lawyer from among the whole lot. Like everything else, communication is the best way to find out more about the lawyers you have shortlisted and then picking out the best among them. So what are the questions, you should be asking a patent lawyer:
- Technical Qualification
This may appear simple. But, technical background goes beyond the college attended or the degree obtained. You would want your lawyer to understand in detail about your product. You would want him to write a patent review that effectively details that the uniqueness of the product you have created and turns into an intellectual property.
For instance, if you invent a “dog toy” and want to file a patent application, you will need a patent lawyer who has a fair understanding of dog toys. The lawyer must understand the different kind of dog toys available in the market and the uniqueness of your product. This will ensure that he writes an effective patent application.
- What will be the Mode of Operation?
You need to understand in detail how the lawyer will work with you. The lawyer will have to work closely with you for writing a patent application. Speak to your lawyer and understand how often the lawyer intends to meet you. Or will he take a brief from you, draft the application and share it with you for your supervision?
It is best that you take clarity from your lawyer on the process and set expectations right at the start.
- Who will be working on My Patent Application?
Writing a patent application is not a simple task and it cannot be done by one person alone. A patent lawyer usually has a team working with him. Understand who his team members are and who he is assigning to your job. Make sure you meet the team members and keep a tab on the activities that are undertaken on your patent.
If your lawyer has hired a draftsman for making the patent picture, speak to the draftsman and understand the timeline he has in mind. Do not hesitate to contribute to their work if you can. If you think you have better patent drawings that the lawyer can work with, go ahead and share them with him.