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   Author  Topic: What is with agents & attorneys  (Read 3078 times)
b-todd
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What is with agents & attorneys
« on: Jun 22nd, 2006, 12:36am »
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What is with agents & attorneys. I have met some pretty rude ones here lately.  
what  does it take to get an appointment with an agent or attorney?  Do I need to lie and say I'm made of money?    
I called one attorneys office and asked what they charged to file a patent.  (Is this a bad question?)  They then refered me to another office....so I called this office and was told I would need to make an appointment and bring my invention, and they would let me know if they thought I could get a patent. If so the government would help pay the cost of the patent.  I really don't like the thought of just walking into an office and handing my invention over to just who-ever.  Is there more I should know before setting an apointment with this government agency? Undecided
 
 
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Bill Richards
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Re: What is with agents & attorneys
« Reply #1 on: Jun 22nd, 2006, 3:00am »
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Well, I'm a patent attorney, and I'm not rude.  In fact, the ones on this Forum seem to be polite and patient.  So, I'm confused and perhaps you could clarify?
You say that you have met some rude agents and attorneys "here".  Do you mean this Forum?  Your post shows you've only posted once on this Forum, so I'm not sure what you mean.
As for your question about charges, it's absolutely a proper question.  Be aware, however, it varies, and sometimes quite a bit.  But, in general, $5,000 to 10,000 covers probably 90 percent of all filings.  Bio and computer-based tend to be at the high end, or higher.  Mechanical, depending upon the complexity of the technology, tend to be near the lower end.
Being passed from one office to another does not sound like any patent practitioner's office I know.  And, none of the patent practitioners I know even want your invention in their office, at least initially, and especially if it's "bigger than a breadbox".
Are you speaking with US government agencies??  Which ones?  I know of no program where the US government would help pay the cost of acquiring a patent.  Work done with government funding may give rights to the technology to the government, but I've not seen the government pay for any patent prosecution.  And, I've worked in the industry/government field for over five years.
In sum, there are plenty of private practice patent attorneys willing to talk with you.  They will listen patiently, give you an estimate of the cost (some will do the work for a fixed fee, so you have some certainty regarding the cost), and not require you bring your invention (although some practitioners, myself included, like to "touch and feel" an invention if it's practical to do so, but it's not necessary).  In fact, it's possible to conduct the entire transaction and get an application on file without ever sitting down face-to-face.
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JimIvey
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Re: What is with agents & attorneys
« Reply #2 on: Jun 22nd, 2006, 7:48am »
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I think Bill gave a good answer, but I'd like to offer another perspective on your questions.
 
on Jun 22nd, 2006, 12:36am, b-todd wrote:
What is with agents & attorneys. I have met some pretty rude ones here lately.  

Don't know what to say about this.  People are people.  Rude people are everywhere.  But, without knowing more about what you mean, it's impossible to explain what might have been in the mind of the agent/attorney doing/saying/writing the "rude" thing.
 
on Jun 22nd, 2006, 12:36am, b-todd wrote:
what  does it take to get an appointment with an agent or attorney?  Do I need to lie and say I'm made of money?  

This suggests a common gripe I see insinuated fairly regularly.  Do you realize that a moderately complex patent application can take a relatively inexperienced practitioner over a month to write?  How much do you charge for a month's work?  You should be ready to pay about the same for someone else's month's work.  Whether your particular invention will require a man-month or more or less is unknown until they know what your invention is.
 
Maybe you're just complaining about the difficulty of getting an appointment with an attorney/agent.  Since I know nothing about who you've tried to meet, I can't say.  But, it's not improbable that the agents/attorneys you've tried to meet are currently doing all the work they can and they're just not able to take on new clients.  It happens.  
 
on Jun 22nd, 2006, 12:36am, b-todd wrote:
I called one attorneys office and asked what they charged to file a patent.  (Is this a bad question?)  They then refered me to another office....so I called this office and was told I would need to make an appointment and bring my invention, and they would let me know if they thought I could get a patent.

You called an attorney's office.  If the attorney you spoke with is not a registered patent attorney, he/she will most definitely have to refer you elsewhere.  Patents are a specialty -- the only specialty we're allowed to advertise (in just my state?  or everywhere? not sure).  So, you can't just call some attorney and expect him/her to be able to answer your patent questions.
 
To provide you with a reasonable quote for what you should expect to pay for that man-month I wrote about above, the practitioner must know what he/she is going to have to describe/claim in your patent application.  My personal range for fees for writing a single patent application is as low as $700 and as high as over $100,000.  Is it because I was working really hard and efficiently on the first one and watched a lot of TV on the clock with the second one?  No, it's a difference in the complexity of the respective inventions.  If you want to know where in that range your invoice would likely fall, you'll have to tell the practitioner what you've invented.  
 
Aside from just a price quote, attorneys can't represent clients with adverse interests.  So the attorney must know at least the general technology in which your invention lies to determine if he/she already has a client in that technology.  For example, if I represent GM in carburetor technology and you come in to my office with a new carburetor design, I can't represent you.  The earlier you get that issue out of the way, the better.
 
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Re: What is with agents & attorneys
« Reply #3 on: Jun 22nd, 2006, 7:49am »
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... continued...
 
on Jun 22nd, 2006, 12:36am, b-todd wrote:
If so the government would help pay the cost of the patent.  

That's news to me.  The US Patent and Trademark Office provides reduced fees for "small entities" -- individuals and companies with fewer than 500 employees who haven't licensed their invention.  But that's it.  
 
on Jun 22nd, 2006, 12:36am, b-todd wrote:
I really don't like the thought of just walking into an office and handing my invention over to just who-ever.  

I've addressed this issue in great detail in here somewhere else.  I'll try to summarize to give some answer.
 
Attorneys can lose their license (not just patent attorneys) for divulging a client confidence -- even if you're just talking to the attorney to determine whether you want to hire them.  The obligation of an attorney to not betray your trust is as strong as any NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).
 
More importantly, attorneys -- generally speaking -- are not in the business of taking new ideas and creating businesses around them.  It's just not the business model attorneys have adopted.  My business plan is to help people write and prosecute patent applications in exchange for money.  That's my job.  That's how I pay my mortgage and feed my family.  I have many years left on my mortgage.  How many more mortgage payments could I make if I develop a reputation for ripping off my clients?
 
on Jun 22nd, 2006, 12:36am, b-todd wrote:
Is there more I should know before setting an apointment with this government agency? Undecided

Yes, which agency is it?  What do they give?  What do they need?  And those issues just scratch the surface -- not really enough to get you from "idea" to "profit".  Despite what most people think, profiting from a new idea is extremely difficult.  It sounds like you haven't really even started the process yet.  It will be a huge learning experience for you.
 
Regards.
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JSonnabend
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Re: What is with agents & attorneys
« Reply #4 on: Jun 22nd, 2006, 8:13am »
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I, too, am not rude (at least by my measure, but I am from Brooklyn).  I'd be happy to discuss your matter by telephone and give you an honest initial impression as well as price quote/estimate.    
 
Also, note that I'm a patent attorney, and so you need not worry about confidentiality.  Our conversation would be covered by the attorney client privilege, and I would lose my license if I wilfully violated it.
 
- Jeff
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