Chicago Patent Attorneys & Lawyers
How it Works
Chicago Patent Lawyers
Why Hire a Patent Attorney?
Patent law is complex. It takes a lot of research and gathering of supporting documents before application forms can be filled in and submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Since lawyers have resources not available to the public, inventors and scientists should hire a specialist in patent law to take care of the patent application process for them.What Is an Attorney?
An attorney is a licensed professional who advises clients on legal matters. Other names in the United States by which these professionals are known include "lawyer," "counsel," and "counselor." In some countries, the term "notary public" describes someone who practices law. This is not the case in the U.S. Here, a lawyer might also be a notary, but a notary is a lawyer. Be certain that anyone you consider hiring in Chicago has a license to practice law in Illinois.What Is a Patent?
A patent for an invention or horticultural discovery grants property rights to the inventor or scientist. The USPTO does not grant the applicant "the right to make, use, offer for sale, or sell" the invention or plant in the United States. Instead, it excludes others from doing so. The patent protects the applicant for a specified number of years.
There are three types of patents granted in the United States. A patent attorney will know which one you need.
- Utility Patent. This type of patent is granted to an inventor or someone who "discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof."
- Plant Patent. This type of patent is granted to a person who "discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant."
- Design Patent. This type of patent is granted to an inventor of "a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture."
Among the services offered by patent lawyers are:
- Determining whether an invention is patentable — Is it useful, novel, or innovative?
- Performing patent research for patents awarded in the U.S. and other countries — Are there any potential cases of patent infringement?
- Compiling required data and papers
- Completing all application documents
- Filing patent applications and paying associated fees
How to Find the Best Patent Attorney in Chicago
Of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., Illinois has the fourth-highest number of patent attorneys. If you know someone in Chicago who has been granted a patent, ask them for a referral. You can also browse UpCounsel for the top patent attorneys in Chicago. The following steps will help you narrow down your choices.
Read the Attorney Profiles
- What universities did the lawyer attend?
- What law school did the attorney attend?
- How long has the attorney been practicing law?
- In what areas of business law does the attorney specialize?
- How many clients applying for a patent has the attorney helped?
Meet With the Attorney(s)
When meeting with a patent attorney for the first time, consider the following:
- Where is the office located?
- What are the attorney's office hours?
- How easy is it to get an appointment?
- Is the office professional-looking?
- Does the attorney understand what help you need?
- Did the attorney pay attention to what you were saying?
- Has the attorney applied for their own patent?
- How much of what you need will the attorney ask a paralegal to do?
- How many attorneys work in the office?
- How much time does the attorney have for assisting you?
Do Your Homework
After the initial meeting, there are two more things you should consider.
Disciplinary Actions — Have any disciplinary actions been filed against the attorney or law firm?
Every state monitors the disciplinary actions filed against attorneys. In Illinois, the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, an agency of the Supreme Court of Illinois, investigates misconduct complaints against attorneys licensed in the state. Call the commission to ask if complaints have been filed against the attorneys you are considering.
- Comfort Level — Will you be comfortable discussing your invention in detail with the attorney?
Do you have any objections to showing your invention to the lawyer and demonstrating its use, if applicable? You need to be able to tell the attorney everything you can about your invention and feel comfortable answering truthfully all questions the lawyer asks.
Questions for a Patent Attorney
- What services does your firm offer?
- Have you assisted clients in my industry?
- Have you helped clients planning a business undertaking like mine?
- Have you worked with companies in the early stages of planning their business venture?
- How can I protect my intellectual property?
- Do I need to trademark anything?
- What licenses do I need?
- What contracts do I need?
- Which attorney in your firm will be helping me?
- How much time will an attorney in your firm spend each week helping me?
- What is your firm's hourly rate?
- Does your rate vary according to the type of work performed?
Why use UpCounsel to hire a Chicago Patent Attorney?
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Legal Services Offered by Our On-Demand Chicago Patent Attorneys
Our experienced Chicago 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 Chicago 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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- 5 min read
What Is the Inventive Step?
The inventive step is used to find out if the patent is in fact for a new item or just an obvious improvement on an existing item. Inventive steps make sure patents aren't awarded to existing inventions that the "inventor" just improved upon. These patents could allow someone to make money off of an item just because they tweaked it. This patent could also allow them to sue companies that improve their own processes just because they made small changes as well.
The applicant must prove that the improvement isn't obvious to people within the industry and that there are actually improvements that come with patenting the idea.
One of the key words when talking about the inventive step is "obvious." Many people also refer to the inventive step as the "non-obviousness clause." The EPO defines this as going beyond the expectations of technology, instead of just following the next natural step.
- 7 min read
How Much Does it Cost?
A patent can cost from $900 for a do-it-yourself application to between $5,000 and $10,000+ with the help of patent lawyers.
A patent protects an invention and the cost of the process to get the patent will depend on the type of patent (provisional, non-provisional, or utility) and the complexity of the invention.
The Cost of Each Patent Application Type
Before you can think about patent costs, you must come up with a unique product idea that doesn't copy prior art. Prior art is any idea or product that already exists. After you have an original idea, you are ready to file a patent application.
The cost of filing a patent application can usu
- 8 min read
What Is Patent Pending Infringement?
As soon as you file a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), your invention is "Patent Pending." Once your application is submitted, nobody can steal, sell, or use your invention without your permission. If this happens, they are infringing on your patent, assuming it gets issued. However, you cannot sue until your patent gets issued.
Say you invent something and want to sell it. You need to apply for a patent to prevent others from stealing your work and using it as their own. A patent is the only way to stop others from infringing on your work. The sooner you file a patent application, the better. You are protected from patent pending infringement from the day that your application is submitted.
Inventors in the U.S. used t
- 11 min read
Can You Patent an Idea?
Inventors often wonder, "can you patent an idea." The answer is no. On its own, an idea is not enough to earn a patent. However, an idea can easily turn into a patentable innovation. A person or company simply needs to extend the concept so that it has drawings that qualify for a patent.
What Stops a Person from Patenting an Idea?
The federal government wants to encourage innovation. It grants patents so that people and businesses can profit from their inventions.
The problem with this goal is that many people want patents. A patent is a powerful tool that gives the owner certain rights and privileges. The government has to make sure that a vague claim doesn't get a patent.
What is Intellectual Property for Software?
Why Intellectual Property for Software Is Important
Software innovation is valuable to individuals, start-ups, and businesses. The law is the best way to protect material such as software. To use the law as protection, programmers and businesses treat software as intellectual property.
When you treat your software as intellectual property, you have more control over who gets to use it and how it gets to the public. Otherwise, people might use it without permission, and you'll lose the chance to get paid when people use your software. In extreme cases, you might lose the right to use software