Can I file for a patent on my own or do I need an attorney? 7 Answers as of April 20, 2015

How long does the patent application process take? Is it complicated? How much does it cost?

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Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
A patent application is extremely complex and expensive and if you don't do it right, the chances of the USPTO denying your application are very good. If you've obtained a patent before, you may be able to do the next one on your own. A patent attorney or a patent agent can save you a lot of time and money and increase greatly your chances of obtaining a patent. The examination process can take as little as 9 months according to the USPTO but usually takes much longer.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 4/20/2015
Mark Torche | Mark Torche
You can file for a patent without a patent attorney or agent, but I wouldn't recommend it. Patent law, like other law practices is highly specialized and there are many important things to consider as you apply for a patent. If your invention is not successful (that is you don't make much money from it) then it really doesn't matter, but if you are successful, then having a patent application that you filed without professional help could leave you very vulnerable if your patent is challenged. Of course I am a patent attorney and have vested interest in having people use a patent attorney; however, I truly believe that it is in your best interest to hire a patent professional if you want patent protection. Although I am an attorney, I wouldn't dream of not using a real estate attorney to close on a house or a tax attorney if I had a tax issue, etc. The law is constantly changing and you need to have someone familiar with the practice in order ensure you rights are protected. I understand that money is an issue, but I think it is often just a waste of money to try to file a patent application on your own. The patent process takes some time with most applications taking between 18 months to two years before we hear back from the patent office. The patent office has been working to improve the time and it does seem to be improving, but it is generally not a fast process. Some applications or more complicated than others and having a good patent professional to help explain the process is very important.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 4/14/2015
Webb IP Law Group
Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
You should get help from an attorney. It usually takes about 2 months to prepare and file the application. It usually takes about 2-3 years before they respond and they almost always respond with a rejection. The process is very complicated (the rule book is 10,000+ pages long). Plan on spending between about $7k - $12k with your attorney to prepare and file the application.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 4/14/2015
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
You can prepare a patent application on your own-but that would be a very bad idea. It usually is essential to obtain an attorney. It takes two to three years to get a patent and sometimes longer. We would need much more information to provide an accurate cost estimate. Cost depends on the nature of your invention, the technology and industry involved, and other factors. A general rule of thumb is that it costs between $7500 to $`15,000 to get patent, but it often costs much more. Most importantly, however, before applying for a patent, you should retain patent/IP counsel to conduct a patent/IP clearance analysis. You need to find out whether you can practice your invention without violating existing patent rights. This can be an expensive and time-consuming process, but it is essential. Most investors will require that you show them the results of your clearance analysis before they will invest in your business. Sometimes a clearance analysis can be conducted inexpensively (between $2500 and $4000) but more often than not the cost of the clearance analysis is much more. Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars on patent clearance analyses. It takes significant money to properly pursue patent rights. You should be wary of invention services that offer prices that are too good to be true. Your first step is to consult with experienced IP/patent counsel.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/14/2015
Gerald R. Black, Esq.
Gerald R. Black, Esq. | Gerald R. Black
The purpose of filing a Patent Application is to obtain a Patent that protects your technology - all of it. The U.S. Patent Office does allow an inventor to proceed without the assistance of counsel. It is a common misconception that everything that is disclosed in the Patent is protected. The metes and bounds of an issued Patent are the Claims. Only the technology that is claimed is protected. The costs of preparing and filing a Patent Application will vary with the scope and sophistication of the technology. Generally, an initial Application can be prepared and filed for as little as $2500. Counsel will generally bill you for the time necessary for preparing the Application. Oftentimes, if the inventor takes an active role in assisting Counsel, these costs can be minimized. The inventor can meet with Counsel in advance and discuss the technology of the invention and request a quote. Many Attorneys provide a free initial consultation. We would strongly recommend proceeding with the assistance of Counsel. Good luck! Gerald R. Black
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/14/2015
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
    You can file a patent yourself, you do not need a patent attorney or agent. You should read a book on preparing and filing your own patent application and / or you can get information from the US patent office web site at For a Design patent it usually takes about 18 months. For a Utility patent it usually takes about 3 years. Yes it is complicated. Nearly all patent agents, attorneys and examiner have both engineering or technical degrees and law degrees. Micro-entity for the filing and issue fees for a Design patent are currently $230 total and for Utility patents $640 IF you did it all correctly the first time and got the application allowed on the first examination.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/14/2015
    Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
    You can - but it is NOT recommended. What you save in attorney fees ($6000 and higher) - you likely lose in poor drafting choices. There are a number of books available to show you how to prepare and file a patent application - avoiding the expense of a patent attorney of agent - but these books are no substitute for a patent professional. Go to the US Patent Office website - and research patents using key words related to your invention. Read 10 or 20 patents related to your ide to see how they are crafted. It is a complicated area of the law. You can always "draft" your application based on what you have invented - using the "prior art" as a drafting guide - and then have a patent attorney (or agent) finalize the work before it is filed in the Patent Office. Filing is just the first step. The case will be examined and mist likely rejected by a patent examiner. Your patent attorney will then work with you to craft an appropriate response - likely with claim amendments - that might result in you obtaining a patent. Once granted - you still need to sell or license your patent to make money - unless you plan to manufacture and sell your produce directly to the public. It can be costly to make a product that is successful - but it does happen! Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/14/2015
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