Western Patent Group



The US Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") has recognized for over a hundred years that merely being a lawyer in a State does not qualify one to represent inventors in patent-related matters in the PTO.   This is evidenced by the PTO giving its own Bar Exam to assure the quality and character of those who represent inventors in patent-related matters.

The PTO has certain requirements a person must meet before they can be admitted to take the Bar Exam.  Once an individual passes the Bar Exam, they become a Registered Patent Agent, and are then authorized to represent inventors in patent related matters before the PTO.  However, merely passing the Bar Exam given by the PTO does not reflect a Patent Agent's skill in preparing patent applications.   As in anything else, it takes experience to fully develop the necessary skills to write and prosecute a quality patent application in an efficient and successful manner.  (Some people are more "naturals" at it than others, just as in any other art form.)   A good patent Practitioner needs to also keep up with current case law in order to draft the broadest claims possible which are enforceable against infringers.  

A Registered Patent Agent who is also a member of a State Bar Association is sometimes referred to as a Patent Lawyer or a Patent Attorney.  However, state courts have nothing to do with obtaining a patent, since the patent statutes are Federal matters and not subject to State law.   A Patent Attorney can represent their clients in  court, but obtaining a patent does not generally require that the individual go to court, except in rare circumstances where the law is being challenged, or when other remedies which only a court can administer are necessary.  Therefore, I believe that many people who desire to obtain a patent and hire a Patent Attorney are often paying for something which they really do not need.  However, Patent Agents who are not members of a State Bar Association are generally not authorized to do contract work, which includes drafting patent Assignments, Licensing Agreements, and other matters within the purview of state law.

It is well-known that Registered Patent Agents typically charge reduced fees to their clients as compared with the rates charged by a typical Patent Attorney.   The trick is to get an Agent who is experienced enough and knowledgeable in the law enough to do a good job for you.  One measure of a Patent Agent's worth may be in the number and type of patents he/she has successfully prosecuted.  Another good measure is the feedback which former clients give.  Experience in industry and other educational achievements may also be relevant.   Industry and business connections too.

The topic of fees is difficult since every case varies in complexity.   People always call and ask how much it will cost to have a patent application prepared on their invention, but they do not want to say what their invention is !   This puts me in a difficult situation, since I have no knowledge of how much time will be involved in writing it.  (Writing an application on a computer-controlled boost-pressure control system for a combustion engine takes more time and effort than a back pillow.)   Once I know what the invention is, then I can provide a cost estimate.   Suffice it to say that in many cases a patent application written could be prepared by us for around $ 4000.   About 60 % of the inventions I encounter fall within this category.   For more complex inventions, preparation of the application will take more time and effort and more compensation will accordingly be required.  Regardless, you will save thousands, since the going rate for the preparation of a patent application from other providers is considerably higher.  

I hope this has helped.  If you have any trouble with figuring out who you want to hire, feel free to email or call and I'll be happy to aid you in any way I can, even if it means referring you to a good Patent Lawyer.

Faithfully yours,

Christopher J. Whewell, M.S.

& Registered Patent Agent

call (512) 763-1142

Important Notice:   Use of this website will not establish an attorney-client, agent-client, or other commercial relationship, and such a relationship will only exist if and after an engagement letter has been signed.   No representations or warranties are made with respect to any of the information contained within this website, and particularly in reference to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose.  The material contained within this website and its links is for general information purposes only, and shall not be construed as legal advice; nor should it be relied upon in place of seeking legal advice relative to your individual situation from a qualified Patent Practitioner or Counsel.   

Since the law is always evolving, the information contained within this website may not always be current with the most recent changes.

copyright 1998-2015 WESTERN PATENT GROUP