There are many choices for hiring a patent professional. Good choices can be found in firms of all sizes – large, medium or small. When it comes to filing a patent application, the choice of professional should be based on capabilities to understand the invention, prepare a patent application and get it issued from the patent offices – a process that typically takes 3 to 5 years. No need to complicate choices by wondering about licensing and litigation issues.
In most services, you get what you pay for. Patent services are no different. Many good patent agencies, such as InventHelp, are available for budgets of $3000 to $7000 for a US provisional patent application.
Look for the following qualities when interviewing a patent professional.
Registered agent. Whether a patent attorney or patent agent is sought, beware of individuals who do not possess an agent registration number. Registration numbers and corresponding names can be verified by contacting the US Intellectual Property Office or at their website. A registered agent has passed a set of exams for which the annual pass rate over the past decade has typically ranged from 10 to 25%. Thus, a moderate level of brightness is assured by hiring a registered agent.
More than 5 years experience. It takes at least 5 years to hone proper patent drafting skills, and to understand how to efficiently interact with patent offices.
Do the work themselves. Patent professionals may offload work to juniors and colleagues, which in itself is not bad and may save costs, as long as all work is fully reviewed by the professional that is hired. Get assurances that that the patent professional will be hands on and intimately involved with the patent application from beginning to end.
Good writer. The need for written communication skills is paramount as a patent application is a written document. Furthermore, interaction with patent offices is typically recorded in written form. Ask for an example of work.
Good speaker. Telephone conferences with patent offices can speed up the patent process and save costs. Good verbal communication skills are needed to achieve this efficiency. Poor verbal communication skills may be antagonistic and potentially delay the process.
Good analytical skills. Analytical skills are useful for generating multiple options for distinguishing prior art, and for devising strategies to persuade patent offices to grant a patent. Analytical skills should be apparent in the first few sessions by how quickly an inventive concept is grasped and value added suggestions are made.
Cooperative personality. A cooperative client relationship is highly beneficial during both patent application preparation and filing, and interaction with patent offices.
Straightforward approach. Unique and complex issues tend to arise during the patent process. A straightforward and practical approach is needed to efficiently deal with such issues.