The Business of Patent Law

Different Strokes

I have talked to several different patent solos recently and it seems that each of us has our own reasons for going solo, our own work habits, and our own preferences for an optimum work situation.

I am the kind of person that thrives on large amounts of work. I seem to do my best work when overloaded. It forces me to concentrate and focus on the work at hand. When I am concentrating, I can really turn the crank. And these cases tend to be my best, even though they come at a rapid pace. I have a very hard time when the work is light. I tend to be less focused and have a hard time getting started. I also tend to get burned out after an intense period and need some recovery time.

Contrast that with an attorney I spoke with the other day. He seemed to like a much less hectic pace and preferred to do much more involved and complicated patent applications. He was not very interested in high volume work, but he wanted very challenging and difficult cases.

Another attorney had a real sweet spot: not too much, but not too little. When he had too much work, it became a real problem for him and he had a tendency to freeze when he felt overloaded. However, when work was very light, he had a hard time getting started. When he had just the right amount of work, he wrote the best cases.

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Thinking of Going Solo? Think processes.

I have met many people who have successfully transitioned to solo life as an attorney, patent agent, or other professional. I especially loved the opportunity because I got to make the entire business from scratch. On one hand, that is a terrifying thought where I had to figure everything out myself. On the other hand, it was immensely gratifying because I got to do things in a way that made sense to me.

As I was considering starting my own business, I spent a considerable amount of time designing processes with which I would run the business. I wanted to get on paper, or at least in my mind, how I was going to do things. I knew that I needed to be efficient, and I distinctly hate wasting time doing trivial things. So I set about trying to figure out how things would work smoothly.

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The Art of the Patent Disclosure Interview

One of the most rewarding parts of patent law is the disclosure interview. This is where a good patent agent/attorney can add value far in excess of the fees collected.

A good disclosure interview is an opportunity to shape the invention into something that makes sense for the business as well as sets the proper expectations for the inventors. A good disclosure meeting is also brutally exhausting if done well.

I do all of my patent cases for a fixed fee. Because of this, I need to be efficient and thorough at every step. I view the disclosure interview as the most essential step that helps me do the highest quality work for a reasonable price.

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