Does searching for a patent attorney near me make sense?
There was a time when the main way to find a patent attorney was to ask for a referral. Anyone can go online now and simply search for attorneys, but there seems to be an inclination to look for patent attorneys nearby. Does searching for a “patent attorney near me” make sense? Does it matter where you live or where your patent attorney lives?
Some might disagree, but I would argue that your location does not matter if you’re looking for a patent attorney to file patent applications. If you need a patent litigator, then location may play a bigger role. Let’s explore why it doesn’t matter where you live if you want to apply for a patent.
Your patent attorney’s location does not matter
The vast majority of ideas can be effectively communicated via email, a phone call or an online meeting. If your invention is more complicated, you will likely have a written description combined with visuals that can help others to understand your creation. An experienced patent lawyer can understand the gist of your invention without having to meet you in person.
So you can stop searching for terms like Irvine patent attorney or patent attorney near me.
Did the pandemic change the attorney-client relationship?
I don’t think the pandemic changed the relationship between patent attorneys and clients as much as it exposed the reality that face-to-face meetings are simply unnecessary.
Your patent examiner’s location does not matter
Did you know that most patent examiners do not work in the D.C. / Virginia area? Most examiners are “hoteling” meaning that they work from home. This was true even before the pandemic hit. So examiner interviews are almost always conducted over the phone or via an online meeting. In-person examiner meetings are long gone.
You might still find examiner supervisors working at the Patent Office, but the examiner assigned to review your patent application can be located anywhere in the US. I would, therefore, argue that hiring a patent lawyer in Virginia does not offer any significant advantages.
How do you evaluate a patent attorney’s experience?
You can try searching for patents granted to a patent attorney here. Some IP firms identify only the firm name and not any individual practitioners who worked on a case, so you might not get the full picture. You can click here to see how many US utility patents have been handled by me or my firm.
To compare us to our peers, replace “innovation capital” and “vic lin” with the names of the firm or patent lawyer you’re considering.
Does geographical location affect the attorney’s hourly billable rate?
Our firm charges flat fees for filing patent applications and trademark applications. Our costs are based on the complexity of the technology you want to protect. The location of our office has nothing to do with your patent application costs. I do not charge my clients a higher fee simply because I’m located in California. Why would it matter to my out-of-state and international clients that we have an office in Irvine? Does being a California patent attorney somehow justify higher legal fees?
Are you comfortable working with an out-of-state patent lawyer?
Now that you understand you are not limited to IP lawyers in your state, how do you feel about working remotely with a patent attorney to protect your valuable inventions? Besides the total count of successful patents obtained, here are some additional factors and questions to ask:
- Does the patent law firm include a former USPTO patent examiner?
- How does the patent attorney feel about conducting examiner interviews?
- What are the benefits and limitations of a patentability search?
- What are tradeoffs between provisional and nonprovisional patent applications?
- What makes a utility patent application good?
- Does the attorney or IP law firm have a potential conflict on interest in handling your subject matter?
Not sure if you’re ready to go beyond patent attorneys near you?
If you’re still unsure whether you need a local patent attorney, give me a call at (949) 223-9623 or email email@example.com. We may or may not be a good fit, but you owe yourself the chance to find out.