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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