In researching my continuing series on finding the best patent lawyer in the world, I ran across a particularly interesting post on Stephen Nipper’s Invent Blog. Stephen posted a great video produced by a successful toy inventor. Rather than recommend a particular attorney, the inventor recommends strategies for finding a patent lawyer with a skill set and hourly rate most suited to your needs.
One of the best pieces of advice the inventor gives is contacting inventors to find out how they feel about their patent attorney AFTER the process is over. This is great advice, but you are really limiting your research to that narrow group of people whom the patent attorney made happy. If the patent attorney only gets 5% of his or her clients patents, those 5-10% are probably pretty happy. This still gives you a 95% chance of being unsatisfied with the process.
A better solution might be to use the United States Patent and Trademark Office to search patent applications, rather than issued patents. This will give you the opportunity to contact satisfied, as well as dissatisfied inventors.
Other helpful patent attorney finding advice from the video:
Search patents by inventor city to find inventors who can refer local patent attorneys;
Locate inventor contact info through Google, call them and ask them if they liked their attorney.
Speak with several patent attorneys before you decide which one to hire.
You do not always get what you pay for.
That last point is pretty important. Many time larger market attorneys charge much higher rates and are much less responsive, especially to small inventors. If you live in a large market, you may want to search a smaller market city where the attorney’s response may be better and the overhead smaller.