Pro Se Patent Litigant? What to Consider First.
With more legal information and resources available to the public, many patent holders consider representing themselves in court over matters of patent issues and protection.
This may be easier for someone who is already an attorney, but for the lone inventor who doesn’t have experience as a patent litigant, this can be a daunting task with a low chance of success.
If you’re deliberating between representing yourself and hiring an experienced patent lawyer, cost may be the first thing on your mind, but consider the following before tackling your own claim or defense:
The court will give you some leeway, but it won’t help you represent yourself.
A pro se litigant is held to the same professional standards as a lawyer, but the reality is that in the interests of justice, the court will give you some leeway to make mistakes but expects you to learn from them, quickly.
Court clerks can’t help you with matters of the law, and the judge must remain impartial.
You’ll still be expected to learn, know, and to follow the rules. If the outcome is appealed, the trial court can’t help you with the appeals process.
While the court is supposed to treat pro se litigants like lawyers, there is prejudice against non-lawyers who represent themselves.
You may have difficulty finding a legal professional to help you without representing you.
Lawyers may not be able to ghostwrite your briefs for federal court. Even if it’s your ideas and your research, the act of ghostwriting a complaint, answer, or motion on your behalf may be considered unethical, depending on the lawyer’s jurisdiction.
Paralegals can help you draft legal briefs, but they can’t advise you on the law.
Patent litigation is very complex, and you’re just one person with limited resources.
Even if you hire a paralegal to help you with your research, you don’t have available to you the education, manpower, information, or the experience that a patent attorney has.
Chances are that a patent attorney is representing the other party and you may find yourself on a very uneven playing field.
Weigh the possible savings of not hiring a patent attorney against the possibility of losing.
Unfortunately, pro se litigants are more likely to lose. You may not want to incur the cost of litigation, but the alternative could be much more costly, especially if you lose.
You may think that your case is a slam-dunk, a no-brainer, and that all you have to do is file an answer or motion to dismiss and you’ll be done with it. However, Patent litigation is very complex, and a seasoned lawyer can see issues that you may fail to see.
An experienced patent attorney understands every part of a patent suit. If you’d like to schedule a consultation with our patent attorneys to discuss how we may be able to help you so that you don’t have to move forward alone, contact our Austin patent law firm at (512) 649-1046.
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Being an individual who doesn’t use attorneys on a regular basis, I was skeptical about the services I would receive. I found Craige Thompson to be extremely organized, personable, knowledgeable and helpful. During my initial consult, Craige and his team went well above and beyond what was expected. I will continue to use Thompson Patent Law as my needs require and would recommend them to others.