Choosing your Patent Practitioner: Agent or Attorney?

What are the first steps for patenting your latest invention?  To find out, you probably want to meet with a patent attorney.  But what’s your intellectual property protection budget?

Patent attorneys have the technical background and Patent Bar credentials of a patent agent, but have three years of law school and State Bar passage on top of it.  They’re authorized to do everything: draft your patent, correspond with the USPTO, sue that competitor of yours who totally reverse-engineered your patented invention, and give you legal advice if someone tries to purchase your idea.  But they typically charge by the hour – for everything.  Even the smallest law firms charge over $8000 to draft and file a full nonprovisional patent application, and this usually doesn’t include fees for illustrations, phone calls, and emails.  Patent attorneys are expensive; they rightly capitalize on their degrees and qualifications to charge attorney rates.

You wouldn’t take a Ferrari to pick your grandma up from the airport, would you?  She won’t even notice the ride, and you’ll be paying an arm and a leg for premium gas and rental insurance. At the early stages of your startup business, you don’t need litigation or acquisition legal services. You need to cement your intangible assets by patenting whatever’s patentable.

Patent agents are not legal powerhouses – we’re more like Hondas.  We practice only patent prosecution – meaning we can only help you obtain that patent, and can’t represent you in court if you sue an infringer.  We are focused practitioners who work to keep your patent protection costs low.

The future business value of the granted patent depends on the way your application is drafted, and, at the end of the day, patent applications are best drafted by lean, focused technical writers who understand your business and keep everyone involved in the learning process.  

If you are a startup seeking patent protection or if you are just on a strict budget, a patent agent may be your answer.  Request a free consultation to talk to a patent agent today.