Last week I was vindicated to some extent by Good Morning America. Lori Greiner from the show “Shark Tank” provided some advice to the morning’s “tank” contestants. First thing she said was: "get a good IP attorney." At the risk of sounding self-promotional, this is so important. I’ve posted before on how to select a good IP attorney. The things I think are most important are experience, expertise and relationship.
Here are a few questions to ask a potential IP attorney:
1. Does s/he practice patent law? If you are interested in protecting an article or method of manufacture, you should seek out the advice of a patent attorney. Only patent attorneys and patent agents practice before the US Patent Office. In order to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office, an attorney or agent must pass the US Patent Bar. This requires the person to have a bachelor’s degree in a technical field such as science or engineering and pass the US Patent Bar examination. Those tasked with preparing and filing a patent application and communicating with the US Patent Office with regard to patents and patent applications, must take and pass the US Patent Bar.
2. How long has s/he been practicing patent law? Like any profession, patent law requires a certain level of skill and expertise which comes from experience and work. Someone who has filed many patent applications and has helped to move numerous applications through to issued patents will have a greater level of experience than someone with few or no dealings with the Patent Office.
3. What is his/her area of expertise? This is a critical area. You need to ask what is the patent attorney’s area of expertise. What did the attorney study in college and in what area of technology do they focus their patent practice? In the same way you wouldn’t want a dermatologist to conduct heart by-pass surgery on you or a loved one, you should not select an attorney with a biochemistry degree to file your patent application directed to electronics.
Finally, there is the relationship aspect of any interaction between attorney and client. Do you have confidence in this person? Do you trust this person to act in your best interest?
As Lori Greiner confirmed, selecting the right IP attorney is critical. The Law Office of Kathleen Lynch PLLC is designed to help businesses such as yours keep ahead of the game. The first telephone consultation is free. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.