A patent attorney (also known as an intellectual property attorney) is a legal professional that specializes in laws relating to idea ownership. These professionals work closely with inventors to protect their inventions, which they do by conducting a search for similar inventions and determining whether these inventions will affect an inventor’s ability to acquire a patent.
As an inventor, you may have questions about patenting your ideas and how patent attorneys can help in such cases. This article answers common questions inventors ask patent attorneys before enlisting their services.
Why do I need to get my invention patented?
Getting your invention patented is one of the smartest moves you can make after coming up with a new idea. A patent gives you the right to pursue legal action against third parties creating, selling, or exporting your invention without your permission. A patent also lets you keep ownership of your invention, allowing you to earn royalty payments on future sales and generate more profits from your invention’s commercialization.
How much does a patent attorney cost?
Before enlisting the services of a patent attorney, inventors often ask, “how much does patent attorney cost”? Patent attorneys usually charge between $400 and $600 per hour; however, how much a patent attorney costs can vary depending on the nature of your invention, the attorney’s experience, and the route used to file your patent application.
What are the costs associated with acquiring a patent?
After asking, “How much does a patent attorney cost?” inventors usually follow up that question with, “What are the costs associated with acquiring a patent?”
Acquiring a patent can cost you between $8,000 and $10,000 and $15,000 and $20,000, depending on the complexity of your invention, the services offered by the patent attorney, and your jurisdiction. These costs usually include filing and maintenance fees to ensure the validity of your patent.
What type of patent application should I choose?
You should choose a provisional patent application if you need more time to develop your invention. A provisional patent application allows you to file your patent application without a formal patent claim and use the term “patented” while you continue working on your invention.
You should choose a non-provisional patent application if your invention is complete and you are ready for it to be patented. A non-provisional patent application undergoes a rigorous approval process requiring you to submit components such as claims, drawings, and product specifications.
How long does the patent application process take?
The patent application process can take a few months or several years, depending on your jurisdiction, the nature of your invention, and the backlog of the patent office. It is important to exercise patience during this process, bearing in mind that at the end of it, you will have exclusive rights to your invention that will last for many years.
How long does a patent last?
There are three types of patents: plant patents, utility patents, and design patents. Plant patents last for twenty years from the filing date. Utility patents remain valid for twenty years from the issuance date, and design patents endure for fifteen years from the filing date.
What do I do after a patent expires?
After your patent expires, it becomes public domain, which means that members of the public can use it and exploit it without seeking your permission or making royalty payments.
Are patents valid in all countries?
Patents granted in one country have no effect beyond the territorial boundaries of that country. In other words, a U.S. patent is valid only in the U.S., and a Canadian patent is valid only in Canada. Therefore, you must apply for registration of patent rights in all the countries you want to protect your invention.
Can I patent a concept or an idea?
No, you cannot patent a concept or an idea. Patents protect inventions and processes: not ideas and concepts.
What kinds of inventions are protected by patents?
Utility patents protect machines, chemical formulations, such as pharmaceutical drugs, and software products that help medical professionals manage patients using physical therapy devices or artificial limbs. Plant patents protect plants that have been asexually reproduced through methods such as bulbs, division, cutting, grafting, and root cutting. Design patents protect the visual elements of products. These include products such as furniture, decorative items such as jewelry, and automobiles.
How can I determine whether my invention is patentable?
To determine the patentability of your invention, you need to perform a comprehensive patent search. A patent search can save you from pumping money into your invention by letting you know whether or not your invention exists.
A patent search can also help you identify public disclosures that can affect the novelty of your invention. It is recommended to consult a patent attorney not only to help you determine how much a patent attorney costs but also to help you navigate this process and ensure the uniqueness of your invention.
How can I license my patented invention?
Licensing a patented invention requires you to draft appropriate agreements and negotiate a royalty agreement. A patent attorney can help you achieve the best outcome by structuring a lucrative licensing deal, establishing fair royalty rates, and drafting a contract that protects your rights and maximizes your return on investment.
What should I do if someone challenges the validity of my patented invention?
If someone challenges the validity of your patented invention, your first line of defense is to consult a seasoned patent attorney. An experienced patent attorney can help you address challenges to the validity of your invention, leveraging prior drawings, sketches, or graphs and presenting compelling arguments to protect your invention.
How can I enforce my patent rights against infringers?
You can enforce your patent rights against infringers by filing a federal court action, sending cease-and-desist letters, or negotiating with the infringer.
What should I do to maintain a patent?
After your invention has been patented, you need to pay maintenance fees, which are due three and a half, seven and a half, and eleven and a half years after your patent has been granted. Maintenance fees ensure the continued validity of your patent, and the specific amount you have to pay depends on your jurisdiction.
Patent Your Invention Today
Inventors pose numerous questions to patent attorneys. In this article, we have answered the most common questions inventors ask patent attorneys, from “How much does a patent attorney cost?” to “How should I maintain a patent?” By answering these questions, we hope to provide inventors with valuable information and empower them to pursue patent protections for their inventions.