Everything You Need To Know About Patent Attorneys:
Everything You Need To Know About Patent Attorneys
Choosing the right patent attorney to work with can be difficult, especially when you don’t know what exactly they do or how they will benefit you. This article explains everything you need to know about patent attorneys, including what they do and what qualities to look for in one if you plan on hiring one shortly.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, because this guide will cover all of the questions that come up when choosing and working with a patent attorney.
What do Patent Attorneys do?
Patent attorneys are lawyers who primarily work with intellectual property law, which includes patents, copyrights, and trademarks. They advise clients on patentability and provide legal representation during the patent application process. What is a patent? A patent is an invention that gives its owner the exclusive right to make, use, or sell the invention for a limited period. Generally, there are three types of patents: utility, design, and plant.
Utility patents protect the functional aspects of inventions while design patents protect the ornamental appearance (how it looks). Plant patents protect new plants that have been discovered but not yet sold in commerce.
There are two primary requirements for patent protection:
- The invention must be novel, meaning that no one else has invented the same thing before;
- And the invention must be non-obvious, meaning that someone skilled in the field would not come up with it on their own without doing any research. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues most patents as soon as they receive a complete application unless something about the submission causes concern. If a patent examiner believes your idea doesn’t meet these standards, he will issue what’s called an Office Action asking you to submit more information. If you do not respond, your application will go abandoned.
Types of Patents
Patents are a form of intellectual property that protects new, useful, and/or novel inventions. There are four types of patents: utility patents, design patents, plant patents, and provisional patent applications.
Utility patents protect the way an invention works, not how it looks or what it does. Utility patents are very powerful because they can be used to stop other companies from selling their product for 20 years after the original application is filed with the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office).
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Design patents are also extremely important because they allow inventors to claim the ornamental aspects of their invention for 14 years, as well as stop others from making copies. Plant patents also exist and allow inventors to protect new varieties of plants that have been cultivated through vegetative reproduction.
Finally, there are provisional patent applications that give inventors a head start on filing a full patent application without having to wait 12 months before submitting another one.
What Can be Patented?
The patentable subject matter that can be patented under U.S. law includes inventions, processes, articles of manufacture, compositions of matter, and improvements thereof. Patents are not available for: laws of nature; abstract ideas; methods or procedures of operation; mathematical algorithms or formulas without any physical application in the real world; discoveries or theories with no practical application in the real world.
Inventions cannot be patented if they have been previously made public (patent pending) to anyone other than a person who could reasonably be considered an inventor. An invention may also not be patented if it has already been put into use by another individual or company before its patenting date, even if this use was only experimental or research-related.
While a business owner is free to choose whether or not to patent his invention, patents provide a legal monopoly on the invention for 20 years after filing a patent application.
Who May Apply for a Patent?
The first step is to determine whether you are eligible for a patent. If you have come up with a new and original invention that is not patented by someone else, you may be eligible to apply for a patent. If the invention has already been patented or published, then you cannot apply for a patent. To be eligible, your idea must also be useful, novel, and non-obvious.
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Your invention must differ from any other known invention in at least one of these areas: function, form, or use. For example, if you invent a way to play Monopoly without using dice but it is functionally identical to another game without dice, then it would be obvious and not eligible for a patent.
How To Get A Patent Attorney
The first step is to decide what you want to patent. This will determine the type of patent attorney you need. Once you have decided, it’s time to do some research on the available attorneys in your area. Once you have narrowed down your list, it’s time to call them up and set up an appointment for a consultation. Remember that this is going to be a meeting where you are interviewing them, not the other way around.
Bring all of your documents with you so that they can see exactly what kind of work you are looking for assistance with. If at any point during the consultation they ask questions about your goals or motivations that make you feel uncomfortable, politely decline their services and move on to someone else!
At the end of the meeting, most law firms will offer a fixed price fee quote based on your needs. These fees can range anywhere from $1,000 to over $50,000 per year depending on the complexity of the project and how much help they anticipate needing from you to complete it.
Where Do Patent Attorneys Make the Most Money?
Patent attorneys typically work in a law firm setting and can make anywhere from $50,000-$150,000 per year depending on the area of law and experience.
What is the difference between a patent attorney and a patent agent?
A patent attorney is usually an attorney who specializes in patents, while a patent agent will likely have broader expertise in all areas of intellectual property law.
What are some common misconceptions about patent attorneys? There are many misconceptions about what it takes to become a patent attorney. Some people think that you need to be a lawyer first before becoming a patent attorney, but this isn’t true at all.
Many people also think that you need to graduate from law school before becoming a patent attorney, but again this isn’t true.
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