The process of filing for a patent is relatively complex, but not necessarily legally complex. To apply for a patent, you must be able to:
- Document your invention using detailed, accurate descriptions.
- Conduct research to ensure that no patents already exist on that item.
- Fill out the appropriate paperwork and pay the corresponding fees.
You don't need a legal team or a patent attorney to accomplish these tasks, and many people have successfully filed for their own patents in the past. However, hiring a patent attorney has specific benefits that must be taken into consideration.
Challenges of DIY Patent Application
In order to successfully file for your own patent without assistance from an attorney, you must be able to write clear and accurate descriptions of your invention. Diagrams and pictures will need to be involved.
Since the language you choose will determine whether or not your patent is being infringed upon in the future, the descriptions you write must be skillfully crafted. It's not enough to simply describe your subject--you must describe it in such a way that prevents other businesses from profiting on your intellectual property. These descriptions must also show how your product is unique and therefore qualifies for a patent.
For many people, writing such a technically accurate and all-inclusive document can be very difficult. Although a representative at the patent office may provide assistance along the way, a person who chooses to write their own patent application will still need to do the bulk of the work.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
Hiring an attorney ensures that your patent application will be as strong as it can be, protecting your rights as an intellectual property owner. For businesses that depend on their patents for their commercial success, this point is critical.
Attorneys also track the complex filing schedules and deadlines, ensuring that no deadlines are missed and that all documents are filed on time. Attorneys conduct product research, review all illustrations and diagrams, and identify errors that could lead to a loss of money in the future.
Making the Right Choice
For individuals without a business to protect, getting the patent without an attorney may be the most sensible course of action. People who have confidence in their own writing and research abilities, and available time to dedicate to the task, should be able to file for a patent without assistance from a legal professional.
However, for businesses that are in competition with other businesses, and operating in fields with many similar patents on the market, hiring a patent attorney is the most responsible course of action.
A patent represents an investment that protects the legal rights of the inventor. Anyone who wishes to ensure that their patent is filed properly should speak with an experienced patent attorney.