A competitor has recently released a product that is clearly an infringement on your patent. You want to protect your commercial rights so you’ve decided to hire a patent lawyer.

Unlike patent attorneys who usually deal with the application process of patents, patent lawyers specialise in intellectual property law and are primarily involved in patent litigations in court. Patent lawyers are key in enforcing your patent, but also help in creating commercial value through methods such as licensing agreements. Hiring the right patent lawyer is essential to making sure your intellectual property rights are adequately protected.

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Here are 4 important questions to ask when hiring a patent lawyer:

1. What is your experience?

Experience is particularly important in patents due to the complexity of this area of law. The pitfalls and common traps that need to be avoided in preparing for and during the court process means that having a lawyer experienced in patent litigation can be invaluable. For example, the defendant could file a counter-claim for “revocation” demanding the patent holder prove that their rights are valid and have been infringed. This process would waste a significant amount of time and resources.

Patent experience is also useful when dealing with improving the value of the intellectual property. Licensing agreements allows patent rights to be passed on to third parties with certain terms and conditions attached. Since license is founded in contract law, the terms are usually negotiable. This allows an experienced patent lawyer to ensure you get the better end of the bargain.

2. What problems do you anticipate from my case?

Prior to deciding whether to pursue litigation, it is often useful to ask an expert about the potential issues that may arise out of your case. Depending on the answer, sometimes it could be more cost-effective to seek an alternate means of resolution. This is because disputable issues can accumulate the costs significantly. According to an Australian Law Reform Commission report, the cost of litigating a patent infringement action can be $750, 000 or more. With fees that high, asking this question can help you determine whether you wish to proceed.

3. What are the costs?

As seen above, the costs associated with patent lawsuits can be overwhelmingly expensive. Especially for an inventor who has not secured sponsors, or a small start-up business, the fee of taking patent infringers to court may not fit into your budgetary constraints. This is especially true for a per-hour billing method. It is often unclear just how long a case may take to be finalised, so gaining any approximations may be unrealistic.

On the other hand, on a fixed-price fee, law firms provided an exact amount for the whole case. This allows for greater transparency to the costs and allows the patent holder to determine whether litigation is viable beforehand. LawPath’s Lawyer Directory offers an integrated search tool for patent lawyers with fixed-price quotes.

4. Do I need international protection?

Knowing from the get-go whether you need international intellectual property protection is essential. When your business operates in a global environment, you will need protections in each country you operate in. Patent systems such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), allows you to seek protection in a large number of countries in one application. However, the level of work entailing international protection means that there will be significant extra costs as well as logistical complexities involved.

Conclusion

The area of patent law is complex and involves pitfalls and traps at every turn. The litigation process can also be particularly expensive, especially if your patent involves international disputes. Therefore, hiring the right patent lawyer can determine the safety of your patent. Hire a suitable patent lawyer with LawPath’s lawyer directory to ensure your patent rights are fully protected.

Hiring a patent lawyer? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about obtaining a fixed-fee quote from our lawyer marketplace of 750+ lawyers or for any other legal needs.

Diana Liu

Diana is a Legal Intern at LawPath working with the content team. With an interest in torts law and commercial law, she is currently completing a Bachelor of Laws as well as a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).