Project Description

Do I Need To Hire An Attorney To Draft A Patent Application For Me?

The short answer:
The short answer is that some inventors draft and prosecute their own patent applications. The number of inventors who draft and prosecute their own patent applications is very small, and these inventors usually have a lot of previous experience helping patent attorneys draft patent applications. PatentDirection does not recommend inventors draft their own patent applications.

The not-quite-as-short-answer:
If you are a self funded start-up, entrepreneur, or independent inventor, you're probably tempted to draft your own patent application. You may be able to do so successfully, however, it's not something PatentDirection recommends. Preparing a patent application is a skill set learned over a long period of time in an apprenticeship type relationship with an experienced patent attorney. Sufficiently preparing a patent application takes more than adequately describing the invention. There are legal requirements that a patent application must comply with. For instance, the specification of a patent application must "enable" another person of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention without undue experimentation. Over the years, case law has further defined how thoroughly an invention needs to be described to meet that requirement. Moreover, depending on how you claim the invention, there are different requirements for supporting those claims. Failing to know how to meet these and other requirements can lead to not receiving a patent from the Patent Office or receiving a patent that would not hold up in court down the road. Furthermore, when people other than patent attorneys or agents draft patent applications, they fall into traps such as discussing existing patents in their application and using words that have judicially defined meanings without recognizing they do. Drafting a patent application requires specialized knowledge and if not drafted correctly the chances of it becoming an issued patent fall drastically. I hope I've convinced you not to draft your own application. However, at a minimum, you should hire a patent attorney or agent to proof read your application.

"There are over a million patent applications pending at the Patent Office!"

Assuming that you, as an inventor, successfully draft and file your patent application, the success rate for non-patent professionals in prosecuting the patent application is very low. Please see the module entitled "what happens after I file a patent application" to learn about patent prosecution. In short, after a patent application is filed, the attorney or agent will negotiate with the Patent Office to get the inventor an issued patent. Similar to drafting a patent application, patent prosecution is a skill set that is learned over a long period of time and it's expensive for the client if not done correctly. If a non-patent professional prosecutes his own patent, there's a much higher chance that it will not become an issued patent.

Whew - That was a lot. You deserve a cold one for sticking with us to the end there.

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