Should you go with a flat rate patent attorney?
Some argue that fixed fee patents do not provide a good value. The argument is that flat rate patent lawyers would be tempted to do less work for a fixed fee. Yet, the same factors are at work in a traditional hourly billing arrangement. Patent lawyers may be tempted to bill more hours in working on a patent application. In either case, the same temptation applies. What ultimately matters is the value provided. This principle applies whether the work is coming from a hourly or flat rate patent attorney.
How do you gauge the value of a flat rate patent application?
Common sense would dictate that value is determined by the price paid for the benefit of a service received. An expensive service is capable of providing significant value, and a cheap service is capable of being a ripoff. The price paid must be gauged in relation to the benefit received.
So what is the value of a cheap provisional that fails to provide sufficient support for a subsequent nonprovisional? You can argue that such a provisional patent application is worse than worthless because you cannot go back in time to correct a defective filing in order to get the benefit of the earlier filing date. A scant PPA can cause more harm than good. The provisional patent filer thought they had something protected, and relied on the patent-pending status with a false sense of assurance.
How much should you
PAY GET for a utility patent application?
Before asking about price, you need to understand what you are getting in a utility patent application. Figure out the benefit of a utility patent application to be drafted by a particular patent attorney before asking about price.
Unlike design patents, a great deal of writing and strategy is involved in preparing a solid utility patent application. Not only does your invention need to be described in gory detail using both written text and drawings, your claims need to be written strategically to balance competing interests. On the one hand, the claims should not be so narrow as to allow competitors to design around them with ease. On the other hand, broader claims will get rejected by the examiner.
Patent claims must walk the fine line between broader coverage and allowability over the prior art. Many laypersons may not realize that their granted patents are too narrow. In other words, the claims in their issued patent require a high number of features. Known as claim limitations, these claimed features provide a roadmap for competitors to avoid infringement.
So here are some questions to ask a flat rate patent attorney about the quality of the utility application that they might prepare:
- Will the patent attorney try to go for broader claims? If so, are you prepared for the inevitable rejections and the cost of filing multiple Office Action responses?
- Will a more detailed specification be written in order to provide support for more features that can be claimed?
How much does a flat rate nonprovisional utility patent cost?
It should be apparent by now that the one-size-fits-all approach does not work for nonprovisional patent applications. As discussed above, the benefit of a well-written utility patent will depend upon the complexity of the technology, the level of detail in the specification, and the balanced scope of the claims.
This is why flat rate costs for utility patent applications are often categorized by the level of complexity. Generally, complicated technologies will cost more to patent than simpler concepts.
How do you choose between patent attorneys?
Suppose you receive competing bids from two different patent attorneys. How do you choose? Here are some factors to consider.
- Has the patent attorney ever litigated a patent infringement lawsuit? Do they know what it takes to defend a patent in court against infringers?
- Does their team include a former examiner patent attorney who can talk to the USPTO examiner assigned to your patent application, and try to overcome rejections with more persuasive responses?
- Has the patent attorney ever defended or attacked the validity of claims based on prior art?
Need a flat rate patent and trademark attorney?
You can file your patent application with certainty that costs will fit within your budget. Call Vic at (949) 223-9623 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a fixed fee estimate for patenting your idea or product.
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