Do-It-Yourself Patents
Date: Saturday, April 01, 2006 @ 11:41:00 GMT
Topic: Legal

By: Hugh Loebner (IEEE Spectrum OnLine - Tomorrow's Technology Today)

How one inventor dispensed with lawyers

I have been told that no one should apply for a patent without the help of a lawyer and that any inventor who does so is foolishly risking making a mistake that could cost him or her dearly. But I have six patents under my belt, and I wrote them and applied for all of them myself. I've been through pretty much the whole gamut of U.S. Patent Office travails: rejections, (successful) appeals, and even that rare event—a patent reissue. Much as I revel in being a distinctive and unique individual, I don't believe I possess a special aptitude, and I think most inventors would benefit from writing their own patents.

Consider the following:

  • It is very unlikely that your invention (despite its brilliance) will ever be commercially successful, since only about one in 1000 is, so any mistakes on the application probably won't matter.

  • Most patents held to be invalid were drafted by attorneys, so a lawyer is not a silver bullet against risk. Among other problems, attorneys can fail to understand the invention adequately and thus make claims that are too broad or too narrow.

  • Doing the work yourself—known legally as acting pro se—will save you a lot of money.

(via KeelyNet)
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