Finding Professional Help When Filing for a Patent

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How do I find a patent attorney or agent?

Finding Professional Help When Filing for a Patent

One of the best types of patent services you can obtain is the advice of a lawyer or patent agent. But, you might ask, why should I pay someone to file an application? Isn't it simple enough that I can do it? Well, yes and no. Finding details about filing a US patent isn't all that hard. And, if you have basic writing and presentation skills, you can follow the those directions. But, the real reason you should hire a patent attorney or other registered patent agent is because describing your invention in a language that completely protects it from competitors is a learned skill. Let's say your invention is a house. Through your patent claims, you have to build a fence around that house without leaving even the smallest of places someone can find a way in. If you leave even one board loose, another inventor can sneak in and find a way to sell a product that isn't covered by your patent. And, he or she won't be infringing on your claim in that case.

A good patent attorney should be initially skeptical about your claim so don't consider that bad practice. That skepticism will allow him or her to write a more effective claim later on. While the US Patent and Trademark Office will not refer an attorney to you, the office does maintain a database of registered patent attorneys and agents. These are people who are able to represent inventors through the patent process. Some people do market themselves as experts in patent law without being registered with the US patent office and so they cannot represent your specific application, although they can give you general advice.

Other ways you can obtain help in finding an attorney or patent agent include: the phone book or yellow pages (check fore a listing under patent attorneys), through an association of patent attorneys near you, online or through a personal reference. It may even be worth your while, if you write your own patent claims, to hire a patent attorney to look at your application before you submit it. Then, your overall costs may be less and he or she can point out areas that need more attention. If you hire a patent attorney or agent registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office he or she will correspond directly with the office to help you patent an idea. Of course, you have the right at any time to request these services be terminated by revoking the power of attorney you granted for this service. If you feel an agent registered with the USPTO has not done an effective job, you should consider filing a complaint with the office.

   

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