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   lawyer vs. govt. in patents
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   Author  Topic: lawyer vs. govt. in patents  (Read 1733 times)
Bill Richards
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Re: lawyer vs. govt. in patents
« Reply #10 on: Jul 26th, 2006, 6:00am »
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Here comes the "curmudgeon" again!   Undecided
 
CriterionD says:  "I again have no firsthand knowledge of attorneys that discourage patent searches, but it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise to me."
Why would it not be a "huge suprise"?  In what context are you suggesting an attorney would discourage a patent search?  Since you suggest there are improper motives for such conduct, what would those motives be?  If you have no firsthand knowledge, what is the basis for your statement?
 
I again object to the tenor of this thread.  The way the initial post was worded (and I stand by I disagreeessment) assumed that "all lawyers [would] basically say it's OK to continue with the process [of preparing an application]" to receive the application fee even though they may know of invalidating prior art or purposely did a sloppy search.  And, with some notable exceptions, it's continued to be filled with veiled, or not-so-veiled, inuendo about unethical attorneys.
Bottom line is this, all searches are based upon the information conveyed by the client.  (And, I might add, it's oftentimes very difficult to drag a complete disclosure from the client so a competent search can be completed.  And, it's often that the client is continually complaining about the cost of the search and preparation of the application.)  No search is perfect.  Very few clients are even willing to pay for a "perfect" search.  (If you want to see a "perfect" search, get into litigation when the opposing side is challenging the validity of the plaintiff's patent.  I've received multiple banker's boxes of prior art that the defendant has found that they think is "somewhat relevant" to the patentability of the claims at issue.)
« Last Edit: Jul 26th, 2006, 6:11am by Bill Richards » IP Logged

William B. Richards, P.E.
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Isaac
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Re: lawyer vs. govt. in patents
« Reply #11 on: Jul 26th, 2006, 6:23am »
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on Jul 26th, 2006, 6:00am, Bill Richards wrote:
Here comes the "curmudgeon" again!   Undecided

 
Bill, how would you respond an apprehensive inventor who came into your office with questions like those asked by the original poster?    I've occasionally had first time inventors ask me questions designed to probe issues of trust.   I've always taken the position that getting answers those questions is part of the process by which a client picks a practioner.  I'm no more offended by such a probe than I would be probe of my technical competency.  
 
I would be surprised to hear about an attorney who recommended not peforming a search in order to more effective cheat a client, because for those unethical attorneys who would  file an application no matter how useless, a search is an important tool in closing the deal.   Even those invention promotion companies who have been slammed for unethical practices conducted patentability searches.
 
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Re: lawyer vs. govt. in patents
« Reply #12 on: Jul 26th, 2006, 8:46am »
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on Jul 26th, 2006, 6:23am, Isaac wrote:
I would be surprised to hear about an attorney who recommended not peforming a search in order to more effective cheat a client, because for those unethical attorneys who would  file an application no matter how useless, a search is an important tool in closing the deal.

I would suggest that it's not up to the attorney to determine what's "useless".  While I personally have a problem with allowing clients to perjure themselves when signing the declaration, I have no problem filing an application that has a very small chance of success and will likely have virtual no breadth if the client determines that those risks are outweighed by the potential value (the other side of the equation that is entirely in the client's domain).  Who's to say that's "useless"?
 
Having said all that, I share Bill's indignation (perhaps more mildly) at the original poster's suggestion that we're all out here to grab the client's money by any means.  My perception (not based on any scientific polls) is that clients are much more likely to lose money on the carelessness or inexperience of a practitioner than on greed of the practitioner.  Why would a practitioner most likely run off and write and file an application without at least explaining due diligence options?  I'd bet that the most common motivation would be exhuberance and the practitioner rushing into the application drafting mindframe -- thinking about claims, potentional Section 101 problems, etc.
 
I just find it a bit offensive to think that there's a profession out there that exists for the primary prupose of ripping off the people it serves.  I know there are unscrupulous practitioners out there, but I wish the question would be phrased as "how do I know I'm getting a good value?" rather than "how do I know you're not a greedy jerk just trying to rip me off?"
 
Regards.
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Re: lawyer vs. govt. in patents
« Reply #13 on: Jul 26th, 2006, 9:13am »
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Quote:
I again object to the tenor of this thread.

Bill, if this thread is upsetting you so much, why do you keep reading it?  Really, the OP didn't accuse anyone of anything.  He seems to be operating under a fundamental misunderstanding of the whole patent process, hence his somewhat misguided question (no competent patent attorney is every going to say simply that it is "OK" to continue with the patenting process).
 
Heck, I get similar questions of me all the time in my practice.  My answer always includes a clear statement that searches are always incomplete.  They seek to find any significant obstacles to obtaining a patent, but short of conducting a search that's at least as costly as the application drafting and filing, one is far from assured of the completeness of the results.
 
- Jeff
« Last Edit: Jul 26th, 2006, 9:15am by JSonnabend » IP Logged

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Bill Richards
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Re: lawyer vs. govt. in patents
« Reply #14 on: Jul 26th, 2006, 9:45am »
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I'm not upset, I just object to it.  (Heck, I can take, and have taken, as much heat as the next guy.  Plus, I enjoy a good, spirited interchange!  I think they're healthy.)  I just feel there's some gratuitious maligning of attorneys in the thread.  Perhaps, as Isaac said, if a client posed such questions to me in a phone conversation or face-to-face, I would have come away with a different feeling.  I was left with the feeling that, "You patent attorneys are all alike; just anxious to take my money and ethics be damned."  My self-reference as a crumudegon nothwithstanding, I'm generally a pretty agreeable guy, but will always respond to what I consider to be a slam against what I consider to be an extremely honorable profession.
I've never had a PC take such a position and I hope I never do.  But, if I do, I would hope I could discern the difference between a direct malignment of the profession and an honest inquiry into the ethics of same.  I don't mind people having an open mind and trying to educate themselves.  I do mind people have prejudicial notions that are wrong.
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William B. Richards, P.E.
The Richards Law Firm
Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
614/939-1488
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