“How Much Do You Charge” Is The WRONG Question to Ask When Hiring a Patent Lawyer
When seeking a patent for your invention, the attorney you hire to represent you matters. Asking the right questions when hiring a patent lawyer can make all the difference.
A lot of inventors make the mistake of shopping for a patent attorney based on their “upfront price.” I get that—when an entrepreneur is in the early stages of their invention, finances can be tight. What goes overlooked, however, is that by simply choosing an attorney based on price and not experience, you are opening yourself up to the very real possibility of doubling, tripling, even quadrupling your expenses down the road. Worse, you could wind up with a worthless patent for all that you’ve invested!
That’s because having an attorney help you put together a patent application is only a fraction of the battle. It’s the subsequent months and years that you’ll spend dealing with the Patent Office that has the potential to steal your sanity and drain your bank account. Every time the Patent Office rejects your claims in an Office Action, your attorney gets richer and your patent gets weaker. And, the longer it takes to get a patent through the patent office, the farther your monetization potential falls.
Think about this: the average time that inventors spend in this “cycle” with the Patent Office is around 3 (!) years. Each time that you have to defend your claim, you are cutting another check to your lawyer to represent you. And, your patent is losing value each time because your responses to office actions are public record, which arms your competition with the ability to figure out what you are doing and/or design around your patent altogether.
On the flip side, had you hired an attorney that was skilled in creating a Litigation Quality Patent from the start, you would be better positioned to avoid these possibilities. Before you ever apply for a patent, your attorney would be proactively working through and brutally scrutinizing the “kinks” in your invention, similar to the way the Patent Office would, to avoid denials and delays later. Doing so helps you get through the patent approval process faster, for less money, and with less of the details of your invention being forced into the public record!
When hiring a patent lawyer, don’t be afraid to ask him or her tough questions beyond “how much does a patent cost” to avoid some of the issues I just mentioned. Here are some ideas of what to ask:
- On average, how many office actions do you take to get a patent allowed. (Hint: 1 to 1.5 = good; 3+ = watch out!)
- How fluent are you in technology? What technical degree and industry experience (if any) does the attorney who is going to actually work on my case have?
- What is your experience on the business side? Remember, a patent is a business asset, not a project. Few patent attorneys have actual business experience themselves and are not prepared to handle critical business and asset valuation issues.
- What (if any) processes have you specifically designed to make a patent more commercially valuable?
- What is your Patent Litigation Experience? Patent litigation is the ultimate proof of a patent’s value. Litigation quality patents command respect and maximize ROI. The most skilled patent drafters are informed by winning at least 3 patent lawsuits. ASK about roles in patent litigation wins.
Our patent attorneys at Thompson Patent Law would be happy to provide you with OUR answers to these questions and explain how our Litigation Quality Patents are often the best choice for inventors seeking the greatest ROI for their time, money, and investment. To schedule a consultation, simply call (512) 649-1046
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