Spot Warning Signs and Ask the Right Follow up Questions


As an inventor with a great product, the best thing you can do in the early stages of your idea is to reach out and inquire about your options in receiving patent support. Yet, when the response calls and e-mails start to flood in from varied companies trying to solicit your business, there are some important warning signs to keep in mind.

These warning signs are really grand terminology and broad promises that may seem ideal but are truly just a big red flag. Below find the land mines you need to be aware of, facts on why

these statements are highly questionable as well as the best response questions to ask:

1. In-depth Patent Searches for fractions on the dollar

  • FACT:

    Patent Searches should always be done by a proven Registered Patent Attorney, whose name and contact information must be shared with you as per USPTO Ethic Rules. Beyond the research they should offer you a patentability opinion about their findings and how it relates to your budding idea. There is a significant difference between classification searches and a thorough legal patent search. Don't let anyone confuse the two or claim they have the same value, it just doesn't cut it.

    Plus, According to the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), hiring a patent attorney to perform a search with patentability opinion can cost an average of $2,000.

    • Will this patent search include a legal patentability opinion specific to my innovation?
    • Which patent attorney in your network is conducting the search?
    • How can you justify the stark difference from AIPLA quotes for a patent search with a legal patentability opinion and yours?

2. Offering 3D graphics, patent drawings and other supportive materials in stages

  • FACT:

    To make an informed discussion about the potential of your innovation it is important to lay a strong foundation and supportive content such as independent market research, graphics and detailed documentation of your product is crucial to that foundation. In addition, it can empower you with a full scope of your idea all at once and not in minor stages.

    • How much time between each stage, what are they and why?
    • What are the costs for these different stages and how will this affect my ability to begin the drafting of my patent application?
    • Is there a cost after my filing for separate marketing services?

3. Prices that are noted with an * or do not clarify exact patent-pending protection

  • FACT:

    Numbers will be thrown around as you speak to varied companies but it's important to keep in mind the service you are receiving for your investment. There is no one-shop approach to developing intellectual property so there can't be a one-price fits all for the services that support your intellectual property.

    • You have an asterisk (*) by your pricing what does that mean and what does this rate include exactly?
    • What type of patent protection will I have and how will the actions and execution of my application be handled?
    • How did you come up with this pricing?