Legal Tips and Resources
How do I know a patent lawyer won’t steal my idea? Patent lawyers frequently receive calls from inventors/creators who are interested in patenting an idea or creation but are concerned about another party stealing it before it is approved by the USPTO.
We have not known of any patent lawyer to steal ideas from their clients. In fact, a lawyer engaging in this type of behavior would be a very troublesome endeavor. Not only is this illegal, but it would likely destroy any reputation the lawyer had, their practice, and career. A patent lawyer would need to overcome many problems, including a breach of attorney-client privilege and fraud investigated by the USPTO.
If you have created something and are considering a patent, you should understand a patent lawyer has a legal and ethical obligation to maintain the confidentiality of information from their clients. They cannot reveal any information or details without the consent of the client. Not only does this obligation apply to clients, but also anyone who has contacted the patent lawyer for further advice.
In order to be cited as the inventor on a patent, you must have made a “significant” contribution to the invention or creation. It would be unethical for a patent lawyer to declare they are the inventor if they had no involvement in the invention. In the event that a lawyer did claim this on a patent application, a client would likely be able to challenge their claim in court. If he or she is found guilty, they could lose their reputation, have to pay significant fines and fees, and possibly be disbarred from practicing law.
How You Can Protect Yourself
Realistically, the odds of a patent lawyer stealing your idea are very slim. You don’t need to worry about this. However, there are other people who may have unethical intentions. Therefore, one of the best ways you can protect yourself is to document the conception and development of your creation.
In 2013, the USPTO introduced a “First to File” opportunity. This is a relatively affordable and fast method that can grant you a provisional patent application which gives you 12 months to complete your creation and file for an official patent.
Filing a Patent without a Patent Lawyer
You can file for a patent without a patent lawyer. Before you make the decision to do so, you should understand that this could be a costly move. A patent lawyer is much more than an intermediary between you and the USPTO. A patent lawyer can perform an extensive patent search, analysis, and opinion of your creation. This helps you to understand the scope of the potential patent and whether you should pursue the application.
If you decide to file for a patent, the application must be carefully formatted in a way that includes detail-specific information and images. A trademark lawyer, can be invaluable towards formating the application and wording a claim; thereby, bolstering the application. If you are looking for a qualified, experienced patent lawyer, please call a law firm today.