Patent Attorneys: How to Find the Best One
There’s a lot of bad advice about patents floating around the web. The next time you hear someone advising you to “do your own patent research” or that “you don’t need a lawyer,” you can confidently say, “I know where to find a patent lawyer that’s worth their salt.”
A patent is a legal document registered with a government body, describing in detail the functions & properties of a unique invention – whether physical or digital. A patent gives the inventor exclusive rights to commercialize the invention – using, selling, manufacturing, distributing it – and to protect it from infringement by competitors.
Patent registration is not to be taken lightly. The US Patent and Trademark Office has many rules concerning what is patentable and what is not. Without understanding the rules and the market, you will face likelihood of rejection by a patent examiner. The reasons for rejections themselves are a whole other matter.
To save yourself the trouble of rejection after rejection, and to easily legally protect your invention, it is a great time-saver to retain a patent attorney.
Why hire a patent lawyer?
“Why outsource your expertise?” one may ask. History shows that the most successful entrepreneurs outsource what they can’t do to staff who can do it. This allows their companies to have much larger growth potential.
Businesses who don’t have internal staff knowledgeable on patents, will often have outside legal counsel assisting them with intellectual property matters. This isn’t to say that you can not educate yourself on patent law; much the opposite. However, not every business owner can use their time to study patent law in advance; once again, it is a deep, complex subject. Especially where time is of the essence, you’d rather allocate time to activities that generate a profit.
The key to hiring a patent attorney is choosing the right one. Here are factors we recommend considering when you make your decision:
- Specialty and focus of the law firm
- Customer reviews (especially on Google, Avvo and other legal directory websites)
- Past patent cases
- Examples of their clientele
- What they offer
- Are they business-oriented?
- Explore multiple options to get different opinions
With all these in place, you are more likely to find a patent attorney best fit to your business and your needs.
Reasons for patent rejection
Common reasons for patent rejections include the following:
- Novelty: The invention must be new and unique, period. A patent lawyer will research your market for you. If they find your patent is not one-of-a-kind, you will have to start over.
- Concept is too obvious: Patentable systems and products, by definition, present an inherent challenge in manufacturing. That challenge to competition is a big part of an invention’s uniqueness. When anyone can put it together from found parts, it’s hardly unique.
- Non-patentable subject matter: Most inventions are patentable, but some systems and concepts considered to be “common sense” are not.
- Written description: The description of an invention must show substantial supporting evidence of its uniqueness.
Patent rejections are not to be treated as a final decision. You should educate yourself from the start in order to overcome them, and furthermore, understand your unique position in the market.
If you’ve read this far, it’s probably not too late to call a patent attorney in Houston today.