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(Message started by: sdahd83 on Jun 19th, 2006, 10:52am)

Title: patent lawyer search
Post by sdahd83 on Jun 19th, 2006, 10:52am
hello,
i dont kow if i should start a new thread or merge it withmy otrher one, but other smight have the same concern.  there is only one patent lawyer in my area, and i havent been able to get in contact with him.  i left a message as well, no reply.  i have 3 ideas/inventions and i want to discuss them with an experienced lawyer.  i am in illinois, so i can go to chicago possibly to talk to one.  but do some offer free consulting.  i have a lot of questions and i need answers and i know some charge, a lot.  i need free consulting and i cant afford to spend the fees for the forms and lawyer fees.  can you make a deal with the lawyer and give him/her, say, double the fees is the product is patented and is sold?  just make a deal?
but i need an expert and someone trustworthy (dont want the lawyer stealing your ideas).  but like i mentioned, i really cant afford to spend all the fees yet.  i have three ideas and that would be alot of fees.  but maybe there is some discount if you do more tha one.  i dont know.  but are there patent lawyers only for certain fields or just patent lawyers for any field?  wow, so many questions.  
i am willing to travel most likely during august to meet with a patent lawyer, but idk when, where, and who.  i searched through the lawyer search on there are several in chiago, but i want one with a lot of experience and trustworthy and hopefully free consulting and hopefully cheap, if not, maybe we can cut out a deal.  i know im aksing for a lot, but i have no choice.  i am already in debt with school loans, but i want/need to get started on my three inventions.  well 2 are mine, one is my dad's but i want to actually implement the idea.  thank you.          

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by JimIvey on Jun 19th, 2006, 11:15am
You don't have to meet a patent attorney face-to-face to go forward.  I have a number of clients I've never met.  Some call me from Singapore or India or Germany or whereever.  

As for free consultation, I don't know what to tell you to expect.  See, providing advice is how most patent practitioners feed their families and pay their rent or mortgage.  If they choose to talk to you for an hour or two without charging, that's a fairly personal decision and I'm not going to say what a practitioner ought to charge for initial consultation.  I would suggest  contacting anyone you think you might want to use and "interview" them to see if you'd like to hire them.  Most will go a ways before telling you that they'll have to charge you to go further.  Some may start the conversation by mentioning an initial consultation fee.  You can decide what to do from there.

But, one thing you must understand is that, somewhere down the line, someone will have to dedicate some serious resources to your idea for you to profit from it.  It's just not enough to articulate your great idea and wait for the checks to start pouring in.  It just doesn't happen that way.

Regards.

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by RMissimer on Jun 19th, 2006, 7:32pm
I completely agree with Jim.

I believe that most Attorneys want to be retained prior to discussing the particulars about your invention.  They are very willing to keep the discussion broad and non-specific, because they may want to represent someone else that does want to retain their services.

Also please note that it is my understanding that a Patent practitioner must be "independant and uninterested" to represent someone as an Attorney or Agent.  Further, most state laws would preclude an attorney from representing someone for a piece of the pie that is not roughly the same as his fees and the like.  So, I can not accept a car worth $30k in exchange for a simple will, it is against the ethics rules for me to do so.

What I am saying is it may be hard to go to an attorney and arrange this.  Instead you can take your chances with a inventors service company.  They are private and not a part of the patent prosecution processes.  They can do pretty much what they want.   Good luck if that is the way you go.

Lastly,  you can propably arrange money through a capital investment firm.  They will lend on a precentage, and take a lein against the patent application.


Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by CriterionD on Jun 19th, 2006, 10:25pm

on 06/19/06 at 19:32:20, RMissimer wrote:
Lastly,  you can propably arrange money through a capital investment firm.  They will lend on a precentage, and take a lein against the patent application.


Well....you can....probably....but the app isn't guaranteed to be worth anything until the patent issues.  And then the patent isn't worth anything unless it refers to something that is marketable.  And even if your product is marketable, someone may need to invest a good deal of time and effort before the patent's potential value is realized.  

So given all that, you have to be able to persuade the investment firm that your patent app is truly worth investment, moreso than other patent apps or investment opportunities.  

In general, in the end, everything is easier said than done.   As Jim alludes to.
   

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by sdahd83 on Jun 19th, 2006, 11:04pm
i believe the product is easily marketable, world-wide usage.  it will sell itself.  i have seen similar prodcust and similar uses but i wouldnt want them.  i came up with this on my own and i searched to see if similar products exist, and they do.  but mines is still different and more useful, and cheaper.    

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by JimIvey on Jun 20th, 2006, 12:01am

on 06/19/06 at 19:32:20, RMissimer wrote:
Further, most state laws would preclude an attorney from representing someone for a piece of the pie that is not roughly the same as his fees and the like.  So, I can not accept a car worth $30k in exchange for a simple will, it is against the ethics rules for me to do so.

This is an interesting point that I haven't seen raised in patents before.  But I think it can be easily ignored in the context of taking a piece of the proceeds of a patent in exchange for preparing the application.  I see IP venture companies buying up patent applications for little more (or little less) than it would cost a reasonably priced practitioner to write the application.  So, 100% to the attorney would not seem unreasonable in comparison to what the attorney would reasonably charge at an hourly rate.

Ah, but every inventor out there believes their invention is worth millions -- billions!  And, (no offense to the original poster to this topic, but we here it nearly every day), the invention will simply sell itself.  So, perhaps even 10% is unconscionable (obscenely unfair -- the kind of compensation attorneys can't take).  

The problem is that, on the open market today, it's extremely rare for any single patent to sell outright for a million dollars.  What that means is that, very smart people who evaluate odds and markets and IP value for a living, determine that the most a patent is worth -- in and of itself given all the risks and possible advantages -- is about a million dollars.  While I don't follow the market as closely as some, I'd be very surprised to see a patent application go for more than a quarter of that.  A sizeable percentage of that could still be not unreasonable given what some larger firms charge for writing ordinary patent applications.  So, it would be extremely difficult to show just about any percentage of proceeds from a patent in exchange for writing the application would be reasonable compensation.

Of course, from what I understand, some courts will stick their hands in there and give money back to the client if, despite all the odds which made recovery of any compensation at all unlikely, the total payout after the odds have been played out turns out to be an unusually large number.  Consider the California lottery as an example.  The odds of winning are somewhat less than being struck by lightning twice -- something like 83million to 1.  I think the jackpot tends to hover around half that number -- 40million or so.  So, anyone with reasonable math skills would say -- bad investment: expected return on your dollar is about 50 cents.  Simple probabilities.  However, when someone wins, it always seems like a good investment after the fact.  But it wasn't; the payout was not sufficiently large to justify the risk -- for anyone sort of into math and understanding probabilities.  

So, I hope courts take the level of risk into consideration when reviewing reasonableness of compensation and that courts are even just moderately okay with math.

The problem is that it's extremely difficult to wrap one's mind around events with extremely low probabilities.  Unfortunately, I think profiting largely and obscenely from an idea is one of those events.

Regards.

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by Bill Richards on Jun 20th, 2006, 12:46am
I am aware of practitioners that take a stake in the technology in exchange for the patent pros work with seemingly no ethical problem.  In Ohio, in general, it's OK to have a stake if the client agrees after full disclosure.  Is it any different than the contingency fees to which PI litigators agree?  Again, in Ohio litigation, as long as the fee is reasonable, it's OK.

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by sdahd83 on Jun 20th, 2006, 1:16am
regarding investors earlier in the thread...

if i have an idea (which i do, actually two, both  marketable ones IMO), and i have no money to pay for the fees and advice, do i go out to, say, california and find a group of investors and if they like my product(s) they can help process the patent and pay the fees and what not and once it becomes marketable, and money is made, they get their money back and then some? idk if this is similar with arranging a deal.  but exactly how does this work with investors? do i need to have the patent first and then approach them for further opportunities or can i go straight to them and they can get the patent for me and then continue with business?  

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by Isaac on Jun 20th, 2006, 6:20am

on 06/20/06 at 00:46:32, Bill Richards wrote:
I am aware of practitioners that take a stake in the technology in exchange for the patent pros work with seemingly no ethical problem. In Ohio, in general, it's OK to have a stake if the client agrees after full disclosure. Is it any different than the contingency fees to which PI litigators agree? Again, in Ohio litigation, as long as the fee is reasonable, it's OK.


Doing so is not unethical, but ethical issues do arise and IMO the issues are more pronounced than those associated with contingency fees.  It is more likely that the financial interests of the attorney and client may diverge when the business dealings between client and attorney are more intimate and continue over an indefinite period.   In some cases the attorney may be obligated to advise the client to seek legal counsel other than himself.


Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by JimIvey on Jun 20th, 2006, 9:37am
Getting to sdahd83's most recent concern (getting investment in his idea), that's just not patent law.  My point is that, while most of us who've been around the block a few times has met investors and been around deals involving investors, we're probably not the best resource to use for finding investors.  With any luck, someone here can give you a lead toward finding such resources.

The closest thing I can offer is that I've met the VP and Director of Licensing of this place: http://scitechlicensing.com/  My understanding is that they don't handle patent issues and would prefer that the inventor/tech-owner take care of that.  In fact, that's probably why we were introduced to one another -- a potentially synergistic relationship.  In the same meeting, I met an investment banker from Meryll Lynch -- my naive assumption is that they'd be interested in investing in bigger companies, but he did mention the possibility of introducing angel investors.

The more I delve into this topic of "clever idea worth trillions but no seed money", the more I think there's a business model in providing assistance in the idea-to-profit transition.  Unfortunately, a lot of others came up with the same idea and most of them decided there was more money to be made in just pocketing money from the inventors.  I wonder if there would be money in a legitimate invention submission company.....

One that might be interesting would be to combine patent services with a patent hedge fund like Intellectual Ventures (I once stuck my foot in my mouth by mistakenly calling them inventech -- their domain name is intven.com and at a quick glance looks like inventech; at least "intven" doesn't roll off your tongue like inventech does).  You ever have one of those people that you run into every few years and you manage to take no more than about 5-10 seconds to shove your foot in your mouth really far every single time you see them?  That's me with this one attorney.  On the off chance he reads this, my sincerest apologies -- I really don't mean to do that.  

Regards.

Regards.

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by Isaac on Jun 20th, 2006, 10:04am

on 06/20/06 at 09:37:18, JimIvey wrote:
Unfortunately, a lot of others came up with the same idea and most of them decided there was more money to be made in just pocketing money from the inventors.


I suspect that they were absolutely right in their decision.

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by JimIvey on Jun 20th, 2006, 4:53pm
True enough.  But I wonder if there would be enough money in doing the invention submission company business model legitimately.  I realize that, for some, there's no such thing as "enough money", but let's assume for the sake of argument ("arguendo" as lawyers would say) that the capitalist notion of a "reasonable profit" exists and that it's not only finite, but is also "reasonable".  Could an invention submission business model make it?  I don't know.

As an aside, I saw a clip of one of these PBS news talk shows -- should know which one but I'm drawing a blank.  The host asked a panel of oil industry experts about an idea to keep gas and oil prices down this summer -- "what if the oil industry said, instead of taking a 60% increase in profits this year over last year, what if we just took a 30% increase?"  The panel laughed so hard, one guy almost fell out of his chair.  Interesting, given that last year was a record year in profits by a large margin.  In fact, if I recall correctly, Unocal posted the highest annual profit of any corporation in history.  I think No. 2 all-time was another oil company last year, but I'm even less certain about that.  Enron would be way up there if you counted fictitiously posted profit, but I think Unocal and BP, was it?, posted money actually collected.

But, we can imagine a finite, maximum, "reasonable" profit, can't we?

Regards.

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by sdahd83 on Jun 21st, 2006, 11:14am
if i were to ask an investment firm regarding patenting my invention(s), who would be the best?  someone trustworthy and has experience.  i want to propose my ideas to them, and if they like my ideas, then i would assume they would pay the fees to get it patented under MY name, and then they can develop the product with their money and with the sales, they get their share and i get mine.  

but where would be the best place to go? firms? locations (cities, states)? individuals?  

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by TataBoxInhibitor on Jul 8th, 2006, 10:09pm

on 06/19/06 at 11:15:30, JimIvey wrote:
You don't have to meet a patent attorney face-to-face to go forward. I have a number of clients I've never met. Some call me from Singapore or India or Germany or whereever.

As for free consultation, I don't know what to tell you to expect. See, providing advice is how most patent practitioners feed their families and pay their rent or mortgage. If they choose to talk to you for an hour or two without charging, that's a fairly personal decision and I'm not going to say what a practitioner ought to charge for initial consultation. I would suggest contacting anyone you think you might want to use and "interview" them to see if you'd like to hire them. Most will go a ways before telling you that they'll have to charge you to go further. Some may start the conversation by mentioning an initial consultation fee. You can decide what to do from there.

But, one thing you must understand is that, somewhere down the line, someone will have to dedicate some serious resources to your idea for you to profit from it. It's just not enough to articulate your great idea and wait for the checks to start pouring in. It just doesn't happen that way.

Regards.




I actually have a client that about 30min from me and I have never met him.  I have been representing him for a couple years now.

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by sdahd83 on Jul 9th, 2006, 1:43am
there is one local lawyer here and he charges a 80 dollar initial consultation fee.  i have no choice but to go to him.  he seems kind of nonchalant and careless on the phone.  he didnt pick his phone up for like a week (vacation?), but then i left a message and never got back to me, so i had to call him again and he finally picked up. it sounded like as if i woke him up by calling.  he answered very lightly and just said "hello" i believe.  i would think he would say his full name or say "thank you for calling, this is..." to make it sound like a business or someone professional.  but i am willing to fork out 80 bucks, hopefully it will be a start at least and he is good at what he does.

i just want to ask a lawyer whether or not if my idea violates/infringes on a current patent.  i have the patent number as well.  so that way i know whether or not to go further into the process.  and i dont think it should 80 bucks to do that.  but i have no choice.        

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by Bill Richards on Jul 9th, 2006, 8:40am
First, I don't think an $80 initial consultation fee is so bad. As Abraham Lincoln said, a lawyer's time is his stock in trade. But, if you're uneasy with this attorney's demeanor and professionalism, why use him at all? You're going to be uncertain throughout the process and, in the end, not trust him.
Next, I think you're expectation is you'll get a "quick-and-dirty" freedom-to-operate " opinion for $80! I don't care that it's only one patent, I think to spend that small amount of time and give an FTO opinion is an invitation to malpractice.
Finally, if $80 is a problem, what are the $000s for prep/pros and maintenance fees going to look like?

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by wallflower on Jul 9th, 2006, 2:35pm

Quote:
i just want to ask a lawyer whether or not if my idea violates/infringes on a current patent.  i have the patent number as well.  so that way i know whether or not to go further into the process.  and i dont think it should 80 bucks to do that.  but i have no choice.

It seems like you're looking for a noninfringement opinion over the patent you mention. Depending on your situtation, I might also suggest a freedom to operate opinion.  Both can easily reach the thousands of dollars depending on the number of patents and the number of claims to be analyzed.  I'd be very surprised if the lawyer could give you an opinion of noninfringement based only on a short consultation.

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by Bill Richards on Jul 9th, 2006, 7:35pm
What's the distinction between an FTO and non-infringement opinion??

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by Isaac on Jul 9th, 2006, 8:05pm
The primary difference is that a non infringement opinion is directed to particular identified patent or patents.   For an FTO part of the process is to identify problem patents.

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by Bill Richards on Jul 10th, 2006, 4:30am
Interesting.  The law firm I used to practice with and the organization I was with until recently as in-house counsel never made such a distinction.  I guess it makes sense, though; thanks.

Title: Re: patent lawyer search
Post by wallflower on Jul 10th, 2006, 9:30am

Quote:
Interesting.  The law firm I used to practice with and the organization I was with until recently as in-house counsel never made such a distinction.  I guess it makes sense, though; thanks.

I think there is a desire at times to separate the FTO and the noninfringment opinions to preserve the possibility of selectively waiving the a/c privilege.



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