Updated July 28, 2020:

Patent Infringement Contingency Lawyers

A patent infringement contingency lawyer can help you with your patent infringement issues, particularly if you come across an issue wherein you are being deprived of income for your own creative works, without having given prior authorization to do so. A patent infringement contingency attorney will come in handy as this type of attorney only collects fees on a contingent basis, meaning that, if you don’t collect, they don’t collect.

What Does a Patent Attorney Do?

You, as an inventor, should be mindful that patent attorneys aren’t generally litigators. Specifically, a patent attorney is a licensed attorney who has also taken and passed a patent exam, thereby holding certification to file and prosecute patent applications.

If you are seeking assistance with obtaining a patent, then a patent attorney will not work on a contingency basis. For example, if you have an invention that you want to obtain patent protection on, a patent attorney can assist you with the process. However, if the U.S Patent and Trademark Office deems your invention invalid, you still owe your attorney legal fees. In fact, generally speaking, most patent attorneys do not litigate patent infringement cases. For that, you’ll need to hire an actual patent litigation firm.

Even if you do in fact speak to patent litigators, they may or may not accept fees on a contingent basis, as patent infringement cases can be rather risky and lengthy. Therefore, patent litigators will have spent months on your case to try to ensure the most favorable outcome for you. If you lose the case, they still expect to be paid for the work they put in.

For those firms that do in fact charge fees on a contingent basis, you’ll want to ensure that you first meet with the attorney at the firm, so that the attorney can assess your issue and identify whether or not it will be a good case. If so, then you can work out the fee arrangement. There are four (4) types of fee arrangements made, which include the following:

  • Full fee. This simply means that you will have to pay up-front for a majority of the costs, and can expect additional costs to be factored in after the work is done.
  • Hybrid fee.  If you can pay a hybrid fee, then you will pay a reduced hourly fee. For example, if the attorney charges $1,400/hour, then you will pay around 50% of that fee, or $700/hour. Additionally, after the case is settled, the firm will earn a contingency fee based on how much money is being awarded to you (between 15-20%, depending on your geographical region, size of the firm, and other considerations).
  • Partial contingent fee. With this type of arrangement, you, the client, will cover all out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. travel, paperwork, etc.) while the attorney will accept a fee on a contingency basis. Therefore, while you are paying for such expenses, if the attorney can’t secure a win for your case, then you owe her nothing more.
  • Full contingent fee. If you’ve worked on this type of fee arrangement, you will be required to pay expenses of around 33% only if the attorney wins your case. No other up-front fees are required in this type of fee schedule. This type of fee agreement is rare in patent infringement cases.

Other Considerations When Hiring a Patent Lawyer

  • Some firms include a payment clause in the retainer agreement specifying that money is to be advanced to the client when need be; however, the client is responsible for repaying such advancements. Therefore, if you, the client, lose your case, you may still owe your attorney a significant amount of money depending on how much money you are being advanced throughout the litigation of your case.
  • Even if a law firm agrees to a certain fee arrangement, your attorney could change his or her mind if your case seems to be reaching a dead end. After some time has passed during the litigation of your case (usually after $100,000 is spent on your case), the attorney may attempt to have you settle the case by accepting any settlement offers that come your way.
  • Keep in mind that the firm you hire may identify a conflict of interest with one or more of the defendants; therefore, you may be forced into hiring more than one firm for different defendants in your case.
  • The defendant could counter-sue, putting you and your business (if you own one) at risk. Specifically, the countersuit could be against you for fraud/deceit, breach of contract, patent misuse, antitrust violations, etc. If you are in fact countersued, this means additional legal fees on your end.

If you need help with finding a patent infringement contingency lawyer, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.