California and Texas are home to the nation’s preeminent scientific institutions, a testament to the business environment of these states that allows STEM entrepreneurs to flourish. Yet even with their brilliance, inventors may not have the skill or time to navigate patent law. While an inventor doesn’t need to be an attorney to apply for a patent, they may find the process of doing so too complicated.
Concerning provisional and non-provisional patents
If you don’t know what these terms mean, you’re in for a rough road ahead, especially if your invention is still a prototype set to undergo further testing. An approved provisional patent basically gives you more time to perfect your invention while reserving the rights of a full patent. You have one year to do everything you have to do before you decide whether to get a full, non-provisional patent or not. But when filing or writing a patent application (regardless if it’s provisional or non-provisional), you’ll need to determine what you should and shouldn’t say about your invention. You will also have to fact-check your statements concerning other people’s inventions, as such statements could affect the outcome of your application.
Benefits of hiring a patent attorney
The US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has requirements you need to fulfill if you want your provisional patent application to be approved. A patent attorney can tell you what you need, and they can even draft your application for you, after consulting with you about your work. They will also be able to track the one year grace period for provisional patents and remind you of all you have to do to apply for a non-provisional patent.
Additionally, they can talk to the press for you and keep you from making careless statements to the public that might undermine your application. A patent attorney can protect information about your invention and face the media and other stakeholders in the innovation business, such as investors, the government, and donors. If you hire a patent attorney who can also manage your PR, you will be hitting two birds with one stone. In addition, they can conduct due diligence on venture capitalists who might want to give you funding for your work.
Hiring a patent attorney on a limited budget
While hiring a patent attorney may prove to be a good use of one’s money, some inventors may find it difficult to hire one given their limited funds. To help save money on the hourly rates you’ll have to pay a patent attorney, you can draft a “white paper” before hiring one. This white paper should describe your invention in detail, including charts, pictures, sketches, and other pertinent material.
Once you hire a patent attorney, that white paper will serve as the first draft of your patent application, and all your lawyer has to do is to scrutinize it to come up with the actual content of your patent application. A well-written white paper will reduce the time a patent lawyer would need to ask you questions about your invention.
You can also set aside a time to meet with your attorney so that you can prepare the information they need to improve your patent application and refine the statements they will release to the public on your behalf. Being organized when it comes to dealing with your attorney and their instructions can save you a lot of money
Hiring a patent attorney is worth it
In the long run, you stand to earn a lot from your patent should your application be approved. The money you spent on hiring a competent patent attorney will be an important part of your success as an inventor.