When you have an original product that you think will take the world by storm, you need to patent it. If you do not, someone else can come up with the same idea, patent it, and make a bundle of money off an idea you probably had first. Do not spend the rest of your life wondering if you could have been the next Edison.
Get a patent and get going. First stop is a patent agent or a patent lawyer; both have different sets of patent services, but you can get a patent from either. Here is how they differ, in case you need a different sort of patent service.
The Patent Agent
Patent agents can help you get patents on your inventions. They can also help you research current and existing patents for items similar to yours. Research and development departments are open to patent agents to uncover patent names and products that might produce legal conflicts with your own.
Sometimes patent agents are also called patent lawyers, but only if they have a law degree and they are licensed to practice law in the state in which they reside. You can go to either a patent lawyer or a patent agent, but given the legal complexities, most inventors would prefer to go to a patent lawyer. However, visiting with a patent agent means that you get most of the potentially troublesome legal stuff out of the way and you have already done all the research and work a patent lawyer might do. All the patent lawyer has to do then is draw up your paperwork and make it airtight before you file it.
The Patent Lawyer
Patent lawyers can do a lot of what patent agents do. More often than not, however, patent lawyers request that clients do most of the research. The lawyer does most of the legal paperwork. If there is a problem with the name you have given your invention, the lawyer can contest it for you in court. If someone else claims that you stole the idea or that you are using the name given to an existing invention, the patent lawyer can argue that for you too.
If you are sued over your invention for any reason, such as falsifying claims, or lack of effective research, the patent lawyer defends you. Refiling any documents to reclaim a patent is also par for the course. In short, all of the legal stuff and court stuff is, and can only, be conducted by a patent lawyer, and not a patent agent. Finally, it should be noted that while a patent lawyer can be called a patent agent, a patent agent cannot be called a patent lawyer. Mixing this terminology up might get you into a bit of a jam if you encounter some serious legal trouble over your invention.
Who to Hire
If you conduct research on your own and cannot find anything that even remotely looks like your invention, or works like your invention, you may want to hire the patent lawyer. You have done the requisite research to make sure your invention is one-of-a-kind. Since your lawyer does not know any differently than you, he or she can honestly say in a court of law that your research is sound.
Hopefully, it never comes to that. Having the patent lawyer on retainer is not only handy for legal issues, but also effective for patenting other inventions that you create while waiting for your first item to take off and make you some money. Just make sure you run all of your inventions through patent research before you ask your patent lawyer to file for a patent. For more information, contact companies like Lingbeck Law Office.