If you have invented something, you want to protect it. There are a lot of reasons to hire an expert in intellectual property law to help you protect your work and avoid costly patent litigation. Many people think they should go it alone but more find they have a better experience getting a patent or defending a patent they already have when they have a good patent attorney by their side. Here are some of the things you can do to get the right lawyer for your needs.
- Talk to other inventors you know. The chances are good that you know other people who have gone through the patent process. Talk to your friends, family, and associates who have gone through the process. You should do more than ask if they liked the patent attorneys they used but ask how they found them and what they would do differently if they had to go through the process again.
- Talk to lawyers you have hired in the past. If you have had the occasion to hire an attorney for anything else, you should ask them if they know any experts in patents or patent litigation. Now, the lawyer who helped you with a bankruptcy mediation or with your divorce, these lawyers may be able to point you in the right direction to find the right patent attorney for your situation.
- Look online. You can check with the American Bar Association, your state bar association, and NOLO to look through their databases for intellectual property lawyers that may be able to help you. Do a simple search with a search engine such as Google and see what your options are. You will find a lot of law firms that work on patents and patent litigation. You will see comments from former clients or others. Be wary when you see a lot of negative comments that are left anonymously. There may be something else going on there.
- Interview at least three law firms. When you start the process of hiring a lawyer to help you get your patent application through or to deal with patent litigation, you should take the time to talk to at least three law firms. It can be tempting to hire the first law firm that you like and that you think you can afford but you will do yourself no favors by going about it that way, You should take the time and get to see what your options are before you make any hiring decisions about law firms.
- Keep in mind, you do not need to stay in your geographic area. Unlike the laws that govern divorces or some other legal issues, patent law is a national or international thing. That means, if you have found a great lawyer in another city or state, you may want to hire them. It is more important that the law firm and the attorney understands what you are trying to do with your invention than having them be nearby. You can communicate easily with people all over the world.
- Ask the right questions. Once you have made the decision to hire a patent attorney to deal with or prevent patent litigation, you need to make sure you get the right one. Here are some questions to help you decide which lawyer to hire:
- How much do you know about my product and industry? This is the most important question you can ask when you are dealing with issues around intellectual property. The lawyer must understand what you do and what you are trying to do with your new product or concept.
- How much do you charge? All law firms have their own way of billing. You need to make sure you understand what the policy is, how billing will be done and how much you will be charged. Reputable law firms will give you a clear and transparent bill that you can read and understand. If you do not feel they are giving you that, you should keep looking.
- What do you think of this product? This goes with the first question but really needs to be asked.
If you are putting through a patent application or need help with patent litigation, the right lawyer can really help.