It’s important to remember that a patent is a legal binding document that is an enforceable contract giving you the rights of a design once it has been approved. As with any contract, you need to include accurate information as this could potentially affect the validity of the patent if done incorrectly. Therefore, it is generally advised to seek professional counsel to ensure all information on the application is completed accurately.
Most of the time, patent lawyers and attorneys work on a set fee whilst some may work on an hourly rate.
If you choose the option of hiring an attorney who bills at an hourly rate, be aware that this could potentially cost more in the long run. Regardless, the professional assistance in the patent application process is invaluable to the potential success of your invention.
Check with a number of lawyers and attorneys to determine how they break down their costs before making a final decision. Some fees are inclusive of patent searches and patent applications. You might also find some fees where the cost is split between the search and application. This means that if there is already a similar patented idea in the market, you are not charged for the more costly application phase.
An inventor is allowed to apply for his own patent directly with the government; however, unless you fully understand all of the procedures and related laws, the inventor runs the risk of not covering all the bases to protect his idea. I always recommend acquiring the services of a patent lawyer or agent to assist you in filing a patent application. This is truly a method to safeguard the application process for accuracy and efficiency, avoiding potential errors and wasted time.
I created a brief list below of the information that may be requested during your initial meeting with a patent attorney. Try and work through this list before your initial meeting as it will save you both time and money:
Both patent agents and patent attorneys have the technical knowledge to represent individuals before a patent office. The primary difference between a patent agent and a patent attorney is that the patent attorney has a law degree, meaning that the attorney is allowed to represent you and your patent before federal and state courts where an agent is limited to legal matters within the patent office.