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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   Do's and Don'ts?
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   Author  Topic: Do's and Don'ts?  (Read 588 times)
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Do's and Don'ts?
« on: Jun 25th, 2006, 1:22pm »
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hello, what if someone were going to meet with a patent lawyer/patent agent.  what is the person supposed to know or do? is asking to sign a confidentiality agreement the first thing if they dont offer to do it first so they wont steal your ideas? you obviously have to tell them exactly what your idea is, so what are some things the person should know before he or she meets with a PL/PA or a firm with several lawyers?
thanks.
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Bill Richards
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Re: Do's and Don'ts?
« Reply #1 on: Jun 26th, 2006, 10:25am »
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One of the first things you'll be asked to do is to not disclose too much information until they've completed a conflicts check to be sure you or your invention aren't in conflict with a current client or current work.  If they are, and the attorney/agent will have to make that determination, then they "may" not be able to take your case.  I say "may" because there are exceptions.
No attorney I know of uses a confidentiality agreement between himself and his client.  We are bound by our ethical obligations to not disclose client confidences and are subject to losing our license to practice law if we do.
If the conflicts check is OK (And, with a solo practitioner or small firm, it's pretty quick.  In fact, they may just know off the top of their head.), then it's between you and the attorney whether he takes your case.  You have to, for example, agree on the costs of his representation.  Some cases are by the hour and some done at a flat rate for the initial filing.
After that, you will, of course, have to tell your attorney all you know about the invention so he can draft the best application possible.
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William B. Richards, P.E.
The Richards Law Firm
Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
614/939-1488
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Re: Do's and Don'ts?
« Reply #2 on: Jun 26th, 2006, 2:32pm »
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thanks a lot, that was helpful.  
 
but in order for them to know whether or not my idea conflicts with another existing product, wouldn't i have to pretty much tell them exactly what my idea is for them to check?  or do you mean just a brief overview of what it does? thanks.  
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Bill Richards
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Re: Do's and Don'ts?
« Reply #3 on: Jun 26th, 2006, 6:51pm »
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Let me correct what may be a misconception.  The attorney will only check his clients, not all prroducts out there.  It's up to the attorney to not cross the line between asking too much.  If an attorney feels your invention is too close to one of an existing client, he may decline the representation.  For example, assume I have a client who makes slides for sliding ATMs in and out of their housings.  A potential client comes to me and tells me he has a drawer slide that works for kitchen cabinets.  I can determine, without knowing the point of novelty of the kitchen cabinet drawer slide, whether or not there may be a conflict.  As I said earlier, it's a complex determination, but one that the attorney must make.
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William B. Richards, P.E.
The Richards Law Firm
Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
614/939-1488
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