Published 09/27/2019 by Marin Cionca
Can an Online Patent Attorney File My Patent?
There are several patent services online. I’ll describe some below in the hope that if you are looking for one online, this information will help you choose wisely.
Online Patent Services Provided by Entities that are NOT Law Firms
Proceed with caution. Some of these online entities are not law firms, have no patent attorneys or patent agents as part of their staff, but claim to be able to file your application for patent with the USPTO. Some may just file what you provided them as they are not qualified or permitted by the law (e.g., they have not registered patent attorneys) to write the application before filing it with the USPTO. So, you may be a victim of GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). Your patent application may have serious flaws and possibly be unsalvageable. I have seen it. So, stay away from these online patent filing services.
There is another category in this class. Those are online patent services that are not law firms but supposedly connect you with a patent attorney to write and file your patent application. And, I guess, they get a cut of the money you spend. This is a complicated relationship in my view. Who will be responsible if the patent application turns out to be bad? The online patent service or the patent attorney you were referred to, or who wrote the application in the background, maybe without you ever meeting or talking with that patent attorney? It may depend on the nature of the contract(s) you signed with the online patent filing service and/or with the patent attorney. I have seen dissatisfied inventors coming to my office after trying to work with these service providers.
Online Patent Attorneys and Patent Law Firms
Work directly with one of these. Because patent law is federal law, you can choose a patent attorney from anywhere in the U.S., who is licensed in any of the U.S. states and is also registered with the USPTO as a patent attorney. The patent attorney doesn’t need to be located or licensed in the state where you reside. So, if you are comfortable working remotely with a patent attorney, search online for the attorney you prefer in terms of the fee charged, experience, size of the law firm, personality, subject matter or technology expertise, and so on. We, here at CIONCA IP for example, while we are located in California, because of our online presence, were able to be found and engaged by many clients who live outside of California and even outside of the United States. We obtained many patents for clients from for example Florida, Indiana, Oregon, Montana, New Jersey, Germany, Australia, Bulgaria, France, and so on. The technology available today (email, secure websites and online payments, web conference applications) make the remote working relationship as effective as working with someone in person, in the local office.
Choosing to work with a patent service you find online is fine. Just make sure is a USPTO registered patent attorney with the experience and fee structure you want or a law firm that has such patent attorney.
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Marin Cionca, Esq.
Registered Patent Attorney
USPTO Reg. No. 63899
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