Things to Know Before Hiring a Patent Attorney
In order to safeguard your new innovation, idea, design or invention, you should seek to engage a Patent Attorney. It might be for an innovative piece of technology you are building, such as A.I., Blockchain, machine learning, IoT, a mechanical product, a system, a process or a new improved tool for example.
You've already spoken with an Attorney, but you weren't sure if you were getting experienced counseling and advice. IP Attorneys typically charge hourly rates that are 50% higher than those of other lawyers since they are more expensive.
More experienced professional Patent Attorneys such as charge a premium in the sector. In the longer run you are better off with the extra investment because experience will dictate:
- a better (broader scope of) patent rights and protection,
- less (longer term cost and) chance of refusal of your Patent Application by the Patent Office,
- more widespread capture of infringementsand,
- less headaches and inevitably much cheaper in the long term.
If successful, a patent is granted in around 3-5 years. In 2018, there were more than 629,647 patent applications filed, according to the Australian Patent and Trademark Office, . In general, roughly half of those applications will eventually issue patents, but the chances of doing so vary greatly, with certain technologies having a 10% chance of being successful. The majority of accepted Patent Applications are those lodged by experienced Patent Attorneys.
Nobody can accurately estimate how challenging it will be to have your Patent application accepted after submitting, and each round of refusal is pricey. It may require 2-4 rounds of submissions, on average, depending on the field of technology, while some may require much more or much less time, with additional fees for each round. Much of this also depends on the experience, knowledge and understanding of the invention by the Examiner at the Patent Office. They will not have the benefit of having seen the concept operating, and can only refer to the written text in the patent.
In order to protect your business interests, you should select the best Patent Lawyer who can grasp your innovative ideas and business requirements. But how can you tell which firm or Patent Attorney is best for your invention?
Can you employ an Attorney for your technology with any kind of background?
To begin with, you must appoint a Patent Lawyer who has passed the patent institute’s examination, and is Registered to represent clients before the Australian Patent and Trademark Office. For them to even be eligible to be a Patent Attorney they must also have a technical background proven by a degree in science, engineering, or an equivalent.
By passing the patent examinations and having a technical degree, a patent agent is qualified to represent inventors pursuing their patent rights before the Patent Office. Patent Agents can pursue your patent administratively but they typically do not defend you in court or on appeal, they will form a team with an IP Barrister and an IP Solicitor with experience in the relevant field.
But more often that not, employing just any random Patent Attorney is leaving too much to chance. There are a number of additional crucial aspects you should take into account, including:
- the right commercial experience
- the right technical background
- strategic advice
- prior patent experience
- success rates
- the speed of patent prosecution
- the value evaluation in terms of overall cost.
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