What many law firms think of independent inventors but probably won’t tell you.
By Andrew R. Spriegel, Owner, Spriegel & Associates, LLC (Patent Attorneys)
How do many Patent Law Firms perceive independent inventors? Based on my discussions with other patent attorneys and other law firms…avoid them! Why is that? Many patent firms have large clients that file tens if not hundreds of patents each year through the law firm, they pay their bills on time and they are typically low maintenance for the law firm. Large clients typically have a legal department and at least one patent counsel that oversees the outside law firm’s work, they understand the complexity of patents, ask few questions if they are satisfied with the work and there is typically a level of trust that is established between the company and the law firm. Large clients/companies are not surprised by the patent billing rates that are charged, they have a budget for patents and they pay their bills in a timely fashion. They understand that patent law is a very specialized field, the value of intellectual property and that becoming a patent attorney requires extensive schooling and training. A patent attorney is someone who is admitted to practice before the court of at least one state and the attorney is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patent attorney has to pass at least one state’s bar exam and in addition they have the pass an additional exam, the USPTO Registration Examination for patent agents. In contrast, an attorney in most other legal fields is required to pass at least one state bar exam. The patent law firm pays special attention to their large clients because they want to keep them happy, maintain them as clients and ensure a steady flow of work and revenues.
Along comes an independent inventor that has idea that they want to have patented and they most often believe the idea is worth millions and that it is going to make them rich. Unfortunately, the great idea (or “not so great of an idea”) is most often the easiest part of the commercialization process. More often than not, the inventor is not aware of the effort involved in creating an actual product from an idea and the time and money they have to invest in taking the product to market. Attempting to invent and commercialize a product is not for the faint of heart, it is not easy, rather it is often difficult, time consuming and costly. Often times the inventor is under-capitalized and so when they approach a patent attorney or a patent law firm they want the most patent protection for the least amount of money. Also, because the independent inventor is often not well versed in patent law, the independent inventor often asks a lot of questions and is frequently confused by the process, therefore requiring an exceptional amount of the patent attorney’s time. This detracts from the time that the attorney and/or law firm can spend with their large clients. Therefore, the independent inventors are low priority or are not entertained at all as clients.
In the end, if the inventor’s patent is granted, they are often ineffective in taking the product to market because of the many hurdles they have to overcome to be successful, for example, manufacturing, marketing, packaging, etc. In addition, the probability is often low that the inventor will find a company will either buy the patent outright or the company offers substantially less monies than the inventor anticipated receiving.
The patent law firm typically does not provide the necessary guidance in commercializing a product, as it does not prove profitable for the law firm. When and if the inventor fails to commercialize the product, they are disheartened by the lack of return on their investment in having the patent written. They often feel that they were taking advantage of, despite the patent law firms responsibility was only to provide patent protection.
As a patent attorney, prolific inventor and entrepreneur a write patents for companies and in addition help independent inventors in this regard, with patents, trademarks, copyrights, business plans, branding, etc., so as to maximize the potential of commercializing the product. If you would like to discuss your product with me, I charge a low initial consultation fee to help you map out a patent and commercializing strategy. I can be reached on my cell phone at 440.225.4234 or my email addresses at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This site is meant to be informative and is not legal advice.