A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted for a limited period of time to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention.
There are two types of patent applications you can make to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
- A provisional patent. This type isn’t reviewed by a USPTO examiner. Basically, it’a placeholder to establish an early filing date.
- A non-provisional application, which must be filed within one year of a provisional application, is reviewed by an USPTO examiner and may lead to an issued patent.
You don’t have to have a patent to sell a product or service that you’ve invented. Most people who choose not to work with an attorney, file a provisional application.
Do I Have to Hire an Attorney?
There’s no requirement to use a patent attorney in Philadelphia to file a patent, but it’s probably in your best interest to work with one. A patent can give you a competitive edge, but the process is a slow, complex one and even with an attorney most patents get rejected at least once.
Patent Law in Philadelphia
Patent law is particularly important in the Philadelphia area where there are so many pharmaceutical and biotech companies. A strong patent portfolio is essential for these companies because a single drug can be worth millions–even billions–over time, and because these are such highly competitive arenas.
Questions to Ask a Patent Attorney
Before you hire a patent attorney in Philadelphia, here are some questions you should ask before choosing someone to represent you.
- Are you licensed to practice and in good standing with the USPTO?
- How many patent applications do you file each year?
- What is your success rate in handling patent applications?
- Have your clients been able to license or enforce the patents you’ve drafted?
- Describe your client mix. What proportion are large corporations, startups, independent inventors, or universities?
- Who in your firm would be working on my account?
- How frequently do you meet with clients?
- What obstacles do you anticipate for my case?
- What is your billing model and can you provide an estimate of overall costs?
There’s a degree of complexity involved in completing and filing an application that meets all of the rules and requirements. Because patent law in Philadelphia is important, and because there are many potential pitfalls in filing an application, it’s in your best interests to hire an experienced patent attorney.
There’s no requirement to use a patent attorney in Philadelphia to file a patent, but it’s probably in your best interest to work with one.