There were a few comments on my post about lowering costs. Notably, Doug Sorcco suggested the concept of the embedded patent attorney and Matt Buchanan added some comments. Doug and Matt both describe the patent attorney who knows the insides of your business, walks the halls, and attends both business and engineering meetings. No surprise here, I like the idea.
This is one of the most important ways to lower patent costs, and as Doug suggests, one reason for firing your patent attorney if he/she does not do this for free.
In talking with a client last week, we got on one of our favorite topics: almost nobody has the big picture in mind when it comes to patent protection.
The client was a CEO of a small company with a little revenue and a couple of very broad and early patents in their rapidly developing field. His biggest complaint is that most of the patent and legal experts know their specialty, but cannot integrate it into a cohesive business plan.
The Patent Pending Blog has a great post on the chances of success for independent inventors. The bottom line: 5% or so of the independent inventors that Bob Shaver sees actually winds up making money off of their patents.
This is why the first piece of advice for all independent inventors, especially first timers, is to do a business plan before spending money on a patent.
What I suggest is writing a business plan for a large company in the market that might like to license the invention. This hypothetical company needs to see a definable advantage to the product in their marketplace with their margins.