How to Select a Patent Attorney

Most entrepreneurs do not know how to select a patent attorney.

Inventors and entrepreneurs are often mystified by the prospect of selecting a patent attorney – and the patent attorney knows this.

There are several patent attorneys in my area who give each client a large, bound volume that has their patent search results, their filed patent application, and the prosecution history of their patent. These are huge volumes, meticulously bound with gold embossed lettering on the spine.

The inventors carry these volumes around, treating them like gold.

The sad part is that these patent applications are so terribly written that they will never withstand any serious scrutiny, such as the due diligence that a venture capital company will do – and especially not litigation if there ever was an infringer.

Here is my suggestion for evaluating two or more patent attorneys:

1. Call each prospective patent attorney and ask for a sample of their work, preferably two issued patents, but a published application will be OK.

2. Take the work samples to *another* attorney and ask them several questions:

How would you attack this patent if it were asserted against me?
Would you do anything different if you were to write this patent?
What do you like/dislike about this patent?

This would be even better if you could take your prospective patent attorney’s work to a patent litigator, who is an expert at tearing apart patents – probably more so than another patent attorney.

The point of this process is to have *other experts* evaluate your prospective patent attorneys. You want professional opinions about the quality of your prospective patent attorney. Don’t make your decision based on superficial things, like whether the attorney gives you a big, bound volume of useless paper or not.