What is a patent attorney?
A patent attorney is a type of lawyer who helps to protect inventors from someone else making, using or selling their invention. As a supplementary service, we can also register their trademarks, including a company name, tagline and logo.
When should I apply for a patent?
The sooner the better. Your invention doesn’t exist in the eyes of the law until you have filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Your invention doesn’t need to be in final form. Perhaps you are designing a prototype, testing it in your field or just describing it to other people. If we have sufficient information to write a description that is detailed enough that someone else could reproduce your invention without your assistance, you are ready to apply for a patent. Also, you have a limited window in which you may apply for a patent. An inventor has 12 months from publicly disclosing or selling an invention to file a patent application in the United States. Other countries may require an inventor to file a patent application prior to disclosing or selling an invention to the public.
Why should I apply for a patent?
Once you do, you will have a government-assigned number associated with your invention. You can include that number in any contract, allowing you to more safely move forward with licensing agreements, marketing and even the sale of the invention. A patent-pending designation can also help to lessen the possibility of competition when others see that you have already taken the first steps toward legal protection.
What are the risks if I don’t apply for a patent?
It is simple. Someone could take your idea and the potential for profit that came along with it. Another risk is the perception of your invention. Without a patent-pending designation, you may not be taken seriously. Your breakthrough thoughts could be ignored or not considered valid.
How can I find out if my invention already exists?
We can search for and examine similar patent applications and approved patents to determine if what you have invented is distinct enough under the eye of the law. We can provide information and counseling to help you to decide if filing a patent application for your invention is worthwhile.
What can be patented?
In legal terms, you can apply for a patent for “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” A few practical examples:
“An act, or series of acts or steps.” This could include the process of how a food is made, such as gourmet ice cream, or how a smartphone app functions in a unique way.
“A concrete thing, consisting of parts, or of certain devices and combination of devices.” This could be something as common as a vending machine or as innovative as an indoor exercise bike that moves side-to-side the way a real bike would.
“An article produced from raw or prepared materials by giving these materials new forms, qualities, properties, or combinations, whether by hand labor or by machinery.” Your smartphone is an item of manufacture, and so is a soccer net.
“All compositions of two or more substances and all composite articles, whether they be the results of chemical union, or of mechanical mixture, or whether they be gases, fluids, powders or solids.” Pharmaceuticals or a wood composite are just two examples.
How much will a lawyer charge to apply for a patent on my behalf?
To prepare and file an application, our firm typically charges $5,000 to $8,000. Each application is unique, with specific pricing and timelines based on individual circumstances. Hutchison Law, LLC cannot be bound or limited by providing this general information.