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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Do You Really Need A Patent Lawyer?

You have an invention -- something that would fill a need and make life easier. It might even make you some money, if you could get the exclusive right to manufacture it or sell the rights to it. In other words, you need a patent. But the patent attorney wants money to file a patent application for you. Must your invention go waste or should you apply for a patent yourself, without a lawyer?


The Law Does Not Require An Attorney 

Routes for filing a patent application:
  • Through patent attorney/lawyer
  • Through online channels
  • By self in the patent office (physical)
Inventors may prepare their own applications and file them at the Patent and Trademark Office and conduct the proceedings themselves. However, unless they are familiar with these matters already or invest considerable time studying them, it is easier said than done. While as a DIY entrepreneur you might be able to obtain the patent without much legal expertise, there is no assurance that it would adequately protect your intellectual property. The reasons could vary from the want of comprehensive coverage to the lack of research.

The Process Is Tedious

The primary reason why inventors use attorneys to prepare and prosecute their documentation is the concern about properly protecting their invention rights. The prosecution process is a complex one and requires considerable research. In addition, a patent application must be written in a legal style and format. Among the tasks required are:
  • Ascertaining the patentability of an item, including usefulness, innovativeness, novelty, and non-obviousity
  • Creating, documenting, and filing all the relevant application documents, including descriptions, claims, drawings, and other forms
  • Performing patent research, both in the inventor’s country and in foreign countries, regarding the existence of potential patent infringements
  • Filing the regular or provisional patent application
  • Paying applicable patent application fees

Make Decision Based On Facts

At times, businesses find the cost of hiring an attorney daunting. Here's what you should consider. Intellectual property act as an effective entry barrier for the competitors. It is a reasonable assurance that your idea cannot be exactly replicated. You get to price your product greater flexibility. Licensing can create an additional source of passive income for the innovator, be it an individual or a company. Therefore, patents are important. An experienced patent expert helps you with not only the legal process, but also provides you necessary inputs for a robust IP strategy. That's how your business becomes fundable and defendable. Not to mention, you get greater protection against being crushed by bigger competitors. Some more reasons to hire a lawyer/attorney for your invention:
  • The law is complicated
  • Lawyers know how to challenge and present evidence in support of their client
  • Attorneys understand how to properly file court documents and handle other legal procedures
  • The other party has legal representation
  • Lawyers often provide a free initial consultation. Because it is probably better to avoid problems in the first place rather than trying to fix them once they arise

This article was contributed by Isha Sharma, Senior Manager, Intellectual Property at Eurion Constellation. She can be reached at isha.sharma@eurionconstellation.com

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