The website http://www.USPTO.gov offers inventors an extremely helpful resource, of which John is a part of. I often receive legal questions but can’t answer them. I simply don’t have the knowledge – they do.
“We’ve been holding hour-length online forums for several years now. Inventors send in questions, and we do our best to answer them. Just yesterday, we received over 200 questions. Obviously we can’t answer all those questions adequately in an hour. And some are too complex for an immediate response. So we’ve transcribed and catalogued all of these discussions. Topics range from the actual process of applying for a patent, how to fill out specific forms, how much those forms cost, etc.”
John also offered advice on how to discern a legitimate invention marketing company that aids inventors from fraudulent ones. A lot of scam companies exist. Don’t fall prey to one.
“There are four questions you need to ask a prospective company. These questions are: how many positive evaluations have you received in the past five years? How many inventors have earned a net profit from their inventions? How many people have contracted after working with you? What other names have you been known as and who have you worked with?”
You must have these questions answered, preferably in writing. In order to comply with a law established in 1999 that protects inventors, the company will answer these questions truthfully. Make sure to ask questions – if their success rates are low, ask why. Do research. The website http://www.USPTO.gov catalogues complaints written about invention marketing companies. If you’re curious about a specific company, look them up.
The USPTO website offers an additional service – a comprehensive listing of all registered patent attorneys, organized geographically and by type.
“It’s a good place to start,” John offered, “but when you’re looking for a patent attorney, you want to feel comfortable with them first and foremost. So schedule a fifteen to thirty minute interview.”
John also advised finding an attorney specific to your invention’s field.
“All patent attorneys are not the same. Each has a specialization, such as mechanical, chemical, or electrical. It’s especially important to find the right match if your product is high-tech.”