Charlotte Patent Lawyers for Hire
Why Hire a Patent Attorney?
You do not need to have an attorney to file a patent. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will allow you to file your patent by yourself, but most business professionals find this isn't the best plan. As an entrepreneur, your intellectual property is one of your most valuable assets. Make sure you're protecting it properly by hiring a patent attorney to guide you through the process. Your patent attorney will help you navigate the many complexities in the process.
- Determining Whether You Can File a Patent: You can't patent just any idea or invention. You must complete a U.S. patent search to determine whether your concept already has a patent. This is best done by a professional who can ensure your patent will pass review with the USPTO so your work filing is not in vain.
- Choosing Between Provisional and Nonprovisional Patents: Provisional patents do not provide full protection for your property. An examiner does not review them, and they have no claims section, which defines the scope of the parent. A nonprovisional patent is more complex to file, but it offers enforceable claims and leads to a USPTO-issued patent.
- Navigating the Complexities of a Nonprovisional Patent: A nonprovisional patent is the end goal for most inventors. However, this is extremely difficult to file on your own. A single mistake in the lengthy application process will result in your patent being thrown out. A qualified patent attorney in Charlotte can help you complete the nonprovisional patent application correctly.
- Preparing You to File for Patent Protection in Foreign Countries: You must file for patent protection in foreign countries within one year of filing your original patent application. If you're planning to do this yourself, you may face snags in the application process that slow you down and cause you to miss this crucial window. A patent attorney will help you stay on track.
Working with a top Charlotte, North Carolina, patent attorney will ensure your patent is filed correctly and in a timely manner. This leaves you free to focus on the next stage of your business or product development.
How to Find the Best Patent Attorney
Patent attorneys must have a well-rounded educational background to practice this type of law. They have to pass the patent bar exam to represent clients before the USPTO and have a degree in a technical discipline that will qualify them as an expert in that area.
Patent law is an area of exclusive federal law. Thus, an unlicensed attorney can maintain an office in Charlotte or work for a North Carolina law firm. However, the attorney must indicate in any public communication that he or she is not licensed in North Carolina. You can still work with a patent attorney who is licensed in another state. However, it's a good idea to choose one who is licensed with the North Carolina State Bar for your Charlotte patent. You can also make sure the lawyer is in good standing with the state bar before hiring him or her.
In addition to patent law, your chosen attorney should have an extensive knowledge of the technical area that's most applicable to your patent. Patent attorneys hold a diverse range of degrees and may have backgrounds in electrical engineering, chemistry, mechanical engineering, pharmacology, or another area. If you're patenting an electrical invention, choose an attorney with a background in engineering. If you're hoping to patent a health care product, an attorney with a degree in pharmacology is better suited to your needs.
The USPTO maintains a directory of active patent attorneys in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. If you use another search method, make sure the person you find is a patent attorney and not a patent agent or someone offering patent services. Patent agents may have more knowledge of the patent process than a general layperson. However, they don't have the legal background that an attorney has. Patent agents cannot advise on patent infringement or patent licensing. Also, they have no knowledge of other areas of business law, as your patent attorney might.
When choosing a patent attorney, make sure he or she has adequate experience to handle the complexity and competition level of your patent. If there are many similar patents in your area, choose an attorney with a proven history of working with challenging patents.
Questions for a Patent Attorney
- What costs will I incur for your services?
- Do you offer a free initial consultation?
- Do we need to meet in person, or are you comfortable exchanging documents online and working through phone and email?
- Do you complete the patent search yourself or delegate this task to a patent searcher? If a patent searcher is used, what is his or her background and level of experience?
- Will you provide a patentability opinion in writing?
- Do you work with independent inventors often?
If you're looking to file a patent in Charlotte, North Carolina, the right attorney is a valuable asset who will streamline the process.
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Legal Services Offered by Our On-Demand Charlotte Patent Attorneys
Our experienced Charlotte patent attorneys & lawyers represent individuals and businesses throughout the world with domestic and foreign patent preparation and prosecution matters. They have extensive experience handling applications from nearly every sector of technology, including biotechnology, computer hardware and software, communication networks, internet systems and methods, automotive, medical equipment, construction technology, consumer electronics, and clean technology research and development.
Our patent attorneys are of the most highly trained in the industry, requiring a scientific background, and passing a second level of testing known as the Patent Bar Examination. Thousands of patents are submitted to the patent office every day and a patent committee reviews each patent for its validity. The process requires that correctly drafted documentation present a clear case for the novelty of the invention, which is best made by a patent attorney with a higher education background in your industry.
Our Charlotte patent attorneys & lawyers can help you file a provisional patent, which lasts for 1-year and allows you to immediately begin using/manufacturing your invention with the confidence that your idea is protected. These types of patents are great if you think your idea will change a lot over the next year before you file a (non-provisional) patent. These patents are easier to obtain and are less expensive but you should have a patent lawyer review your provisional patent application to insure that you are meeting your objectives when you file your patent.
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