The best patent lawyer in the world for you and your invention may not be the best patent lawyer in the world for someone else. The kind of invention you have, your budget, your location, your business, your goals in general, all have a bearing on who the best patent lawyer in the world might be for you. In selecting the right patent attorney, keep these top ten considerations close in mind:
10. Research. Google patent lawyers online. Narrow the search using criteria of interest to you. Is your patent mechanical, chemical, biopharmaceutical? Read what you can about prospective patent lawyers. You can get a pretty good flavor of who they are from a blog or book they have authored.
9. Ask around. Recommendations from people who have a business relationship with, or have actually used, a particular patent lawyer are extremely valuable. Recommendations from people who have merely “heard” of a particular patent attorney, however, should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Do not stake your patent on a rumor.
8. Find a patent lawyer with experience actually trying a patent lawsuit. Patent attorneys with litigation experience know courts and juries. The also know how judges and juries view the way patents are written and draft them accordingly.
7. Get a clear idea of the costs involved. Some attorneys only give you an estimate of the costs to file a patent application. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when comparing costs. While few quality patent attorneys can give you a precise quote of the overall costs, they should be able to give you a ballpark.
6. Select an attorney that fits your style. Even if you select the most expensive patent lawyer on the planet, if he or she has to choose between devoting time between your tiny project and a project he or she has going with an 800 pound gorilla, is your patent going to get the attention it deserves?
5. Interview multiple patent attorneys. Nothing makes me feel better than when a potential client tells me they are going to talk to a few other patent attorneys and then end up coming back to me. I know they feel that I was the best choice and I strive to make them happy with that decision.
4. Investigate some patents the attorney has drafted in the past. Have they only drafted 10? 20? 30? Are they actually listed on the patent as being the attorney of record? Google now has Google Patent Search that makes such investigation a breeze.
3. Choose the patent lawyer, not the firm. Be sure that the attorney you hire will be the one actually drafting your patent. A lot of firms have you meet with a senior partner patent attorney and then shuffle your patent off to an associate looking to cut their drafting teeth. Do not let them practice on your baby.
2. Choose an attorney that himself or herself available to you. Communication is absolutely the most important part of the attorney/client relationship. Can you call the attorney directly? Will they always get back to you within one business day? If a patent lawyer is not willing to make himself or herself available to address your thoughts and concerns, you need a different attorney.
1. Choose a patent lawyer you like. I know this may seem difficult, especially since any patent lawyer is by definition going to be a lawyer, but people really do end up liking their patent attorneys. It is worth a little effort to select an attorney you feel comfortable with and gives you a feeling they not only understand the invention, but appear to have what it takes to be a motivated an effective advocate of your invention before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). By the time your patent actually issues, you will have spent at least two, and probably three or more years with this person. Make sure they are not grating on your nerves from the outset.
Good Luck and Happy Patenting!