Using a Patent Attorney
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When should I use a patent attorney.
Many inventors use the advice and ongoing support of a patent attorney. Attorneys may charge significant hourly rates but many inventors would rather focus on their new ideas than spend time researching invention patents, submitting applications, dealing with infringement or conducting detailed patent searches. However, some inventors do manage their own patents successfully so if you're a new inventor, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of both scenarios. There are some situations in which it may be most prudent to hire a patent law firm:
- If a joint ownership agreement is used. This is when more than one person shares in the patent and its commercial value. Even if your fellow inventor is your best friend, each of you should get a lawyer to represent your respective interests. This is the only way to ensure disputes down the road, should they occur, are resolved quickly.
- You start a company as a result of your invention. In this case, a patent lawyer may be the best person to watch for possible infringement as you will not have the time and your new employees may not have a grasp of the complexities involved. This does take more money--but as your product becomes more successful--you can allocate resources for a patent lawyer to watch the competitive scene for you.
- You issue licenses relating to your patent. In this case, you give another person or company the opportunity to use your invention in a certain way and pay you for it. You may be tempted to deal with this yourself--it might sound easy--but once another party or business is involved, you should hire a patent lawyer to negotiate on your behalf, advise you and ensure the license agreements are not violated.