We make every effort to provide cost-effective patent counsel to our
clients. Our preferred approach minimizes a client's costs in the
event patent protection is not available. At the same time, we
gain insight into the likely maximum available patent position.
Quick-jump site map...
Inventor Services, LLC
A typical scenario might be as follows: you have invented a product and have determined that it will be commercially viable. Furthermore, in order to protect your interests, meaningful patent protection is required. The typical steps an inventor will take to obtain and keep a patent include: patentability searching, disclosing the invention to professional patent counsel, having patent counsel prepare and prosecute a patent application before the USPTO/PCT, payment of issue fees, and payment of maintenance fees.
Once you reach a positive evaluation of your search results, you can disclose your invention to us, either in person, or by FAX, mail, or e-mail. We will then review your information, and quote firm, fixed, costs to proceed. (A nondisclosure agreement is not required between us, but we suggest it for your peace of mind, and to promote its use in your business practice. In any event, we are bound by our personal and professional ethics and cannot "steal your ideas").
Assuming you hire Inventor Services, LLC, you will pay a retainer in advance to cover the cost of each phase of work (application, Office Action, etc.). We then draft and file a patent application on your behalf in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application will typically require about 2 to 4 weeks for us to complete. After a period of time, the USPTO will examine the application, decide if the invention is patentable, and issue an opinion in the form of an Office Action. In most cases, the USPTO will reject the claims as being anticipated and/or obvious, and arguments must be made pointing out the error of the rejection. Claims may also be amended to avoid a rejection. The first response (Office Action) from the USPTO can take about a year, depending on their current backlog of work. We will briefly evaluate the Office Action, and tell you the expected retainer cost for a response. We charge a variable fee that depends upon the scope of required work. A general rule-of-thumb is that a moderately complex patent obtained through our services may cost a total approaching $6,000 by the time it finally issues (including search and USPTO fees).
The process of getting a patent can be rather lengthy. A patent may not actually issue until 3 or more years after the initial application date. The current life of a utility patent expires 20 years from the filing date. Three times during the 20 year patent life you will be required to pay maintenance fees to keep your patent in force.
Patent protection is not economically trivial to obtain or to keep; you must evaluate your potential to recover your costs. A patent gives you only the right to exclude others from making and selling your invention. Prior inventors have the same rights to excercise against you. In general, you make money either by making and selling your invention, or licensing others to do so. You may even find that you have to license prior technology in order to make your invention. Your improvement over the prior art does not permit you to infringe prior patents. Before you spend a lot of time, money, and effort, please try to ensure it will be worth your costs.