If you have invented a new process, machine, product, or composition of matter, then you are probably in the market for the best patent lawyer you can find. If you are not yet looking for one, then maybe you should be. A new invention needs protection, the kind that is installed proactively. Here are a few pointers to help you get the legal assistance you need.
Begin by assessing your legal needs. If your business were based on inventing, creating, marketing, and selling innovative products, your best bet would be to work with a lawyer who deals in patents. Look for someone who can give you advice on intellectual property and patent infringements in the future. The best patent lawyer is one you can work with over time, not just for the initial patenting process.
If your company does publishing, and your main business involves online pursuits, a patent lawyer who is well versed in the First Amendment and information technology law may work best for you.
Even if your business already has legal counsel, you still need to decide if you should get other professionals to take care of your patents. Remember that patents are a specialized field that not all lawyers are proficient in.
If you are an independent inventor, go for someone who knows intellectual property rights when you try to get your work protected. Although this may seem like an unnecessary expense in the beginning, many inventions have proven to be lucrative for people who simply copied them from people who didn’t bother to get a patent.
If you are trying to acquire a patent for a specific invention, make a quick search of how many people are trying to do so for similar inventions. If you have a lot of competition, it may not be easy to get the protection you want. This is where you may need to spend more because you will need someone with a lot of experience in acquiring patents.
Some people begin their search for patent lawyers by doing a Google search or going through their local phone book. Neither method is likely to yield satisfactory results. What you might get, though, is many promotional sites that you will have to sift through.
You may be tempted to try many 800 numbers. These don’t work too well, either. What you will get is a lot of sales talk that will waste your time. Other people try to ask friends and relatives if they could recommend a patent lawyer. This is where you will be given names of lawyers who are so-and-so’s attorney who does estates, wills, and real estate. A word of caution: any lawyer worth his salt will tell you outright that patents are not his field, and then refer you to another lawyer.
To shorten your search process, go through reliable sites like Lawyers.com to find lawyers in your geographical area, your area of need, and other specifications you would have identified when you first assessed your legal needs.
Create a list of five to ten qualified attorneys based on your narrowed field of search. Then do an online search on each of them. Look for someone who has good reviews but is not tied up with a heavy caseload. Confirm with your state Bar Association and check on their background and standing.
Once you have three people singled out as prospects, arrange an appointment, and do a preliminary interview. Of course, you will have to shell out money for this, but it will be worth the expense. This is when you will find out how well you can work with a particular attorney. Ask how long the process will take, what is expected of you, and how much it will cost.
This is also a good time to find out if the people in your shortlist have conflict of interest issues. Get a list of references of clients he has worked with and check them. A final item you should ask for is a sample of their firm’s standard retainer agreement. This is for you to read carefully so that you will indeed get the best patent lawyer for your needs.
Create a list of five to ten qualified attorneys based on your narrowed field of search. Then do an online search on each of them.