Should you hire a lawyer for filing your patent?
As a first time inventor, you might not have any clue as to the patent procedure. Only, that you need to have one in order to protect your claim on your invention. But making an invention is very time and cost consuming let alone paying the patent lawyers a hell of money to file your patent for you. Must your invention gather dust in the garage, or can you apply for a patent yourself, without a lawyer?
Getting a patent requires work — you must know how to describe your invention and understand what qualifies an invention for a patent. And although you can do all the work yourself, it is going to be very time consuming, with just the slightest margin for error always being there.
Here’s a quick look at the steps necessary to get a patent.
Description of the Invention
Use a spiral-bound notebook, and round up a couple of people who are willing to sign as witnesses. Depending on the invention, you may also need to build and test it, documenting all of these efforts in your notebook (and having them witnessed as well).
Assess the Commercial Potential of Your Invention It is possible to get a patent on an invention that has no commercial potential at all, but most inventors don’t bother.
Calculate Whether Your Invention Is Novel Enough to be Granted a Patent
To make this decision, you need a thorough knowledge of previous developments (called the prior art) in the area of your invention. Typically, this involves searching the U.S. (and sometimes foreign) patents and other publications for prior art that might describe related inventions.
Looking at the above steps, you might think that nothing about the process requires a lawyer. There is no court, no jury, no need to understand cases or read statutes. The Patent and Trademark Office has some specific rules, but you can follow them as you would a recipe in a cookbook.
However, the searching part is tricky. It is extremely confusing and for a first timer, might even seem like a big uphill task. But hiring a lawyer would definitely make this procedure easier for you. This does not mean you should just sit back and let the lawyers do all the work. You can work with them and cross check any references that they sight. It will do you good as an inventor too, getting to know different technologies in your field of expertise.
Then again, the application filing process is a bit complex in itself. The USPTO expects the application to be filed properly, one which satisfies the myriad of rules, statutes and case law which are part of patent law.
One good option would be to contact an IP firm or a patent lawyer who work for SME’s and individual inventors, as their costs are comparatively lower and they work on a more personal basis with the inventors. TT Consultants is one such company, which being a startup themselves, understand the credit crunches of a budding enterprise and offer services on very reasonable prices. If you are one such inventor who would want to see their dream coming true, please contact TTC here for all your IP needs.