If you have an idea for a product or service, you want to protect it. You are not alone in wanting this. The United States is home to a lot of creative people. In 1790, the first American patent law went into effect. Since then, the number of people who have sought patents for their products has only been increasing. In fact, the number of people applying for patents today is a full six times greater than it was in 1980. If you are looking for patent protection, you may think you can go it alone and not hire a patent attorney to help. Here are some reasons to reconsider that decision:
- Patent lawyers understand the complex process. The road to proper patent protection is long and windy. On the surface, it can seem straightforward but there are a lot of places where pitfalls and other problems can hide. Having a patent lawyer by your side can make it all go a lot more smoothly.
- Experience with the process matters. When you are talking to intellectual property practices, you are meeting with people who understand how complicated the process is. They can also do more to prevent any theft of your idea along the way. They know what should and should not be included in the patent application. They can also let you know, from the outset how likely it will be that the United States Patent Office (USTO) will approve it. There are certain criteria that new ideas or products need to meet. They need to be considered to be new, useful and not obvious. Those terms are not concrete and there is always some interpretation.
- They can help after you get the patent. Unfortunately, the work of a patent lawyer is not done when the patent is issued. There is a reason you want patent protection for your product or idea. In 2016, there were 4,537 lawsuits regarding the infringements of patents. This is why you need a patent to protect your work and a lawyer to help defend the patent after you have it.
- They can make your patent application the best it can be. This is not as clear a process as people assume that it is. There are a lot of ways to write up a patent application. You want yours to have all of the information about your idea so the USTO can grant your patent but not so much as to leave you open to theft.
- The law changes and so does the process. Whenever you are dealing with something as complicated as intellectual property law, you are going to have to deal with changes and updates to that law. Having an experienced patent lawyer by your side can help you because they know all about the changes and updates to the law. If you have been through the process before, you may think that you understand it but in the time since your last patent application, a lot may have changed.
- They can get you international patent protection. When you are working to get a patent for your product or idea, you may not see the international implications of your invention. You need someone who understands and is experienced at dealing with the international patent process so that you do not miss out on opportunities for your idea to make you money. You do not want to find out later that by not going through the international process, you have left money on the table, so to speak.
When you are looking for patent protection for an idea or product, getting the right legal help can make a huge difference in the time it takes and in the granting of your patent at all. You should know that this is a national law so you can use local attorneys or some from out of your area. Patent lawyers in Houston are in the same position to help as patent lawyers in Colorado. The main thing you have to think about when you hire a patent attorney is not their location but how well they understand your industry and what you are trying to accomplish with your product.
That trumps everything else.