Any time new ideas and innovations culminate in products brought to the marketplace, it is a natural concern that competitors and new market participants will readily copy these ideas and innovations. If the copying happens before the innovators are able to protect the ideas, through the drafting and filing of a patent application before the relevant authorities, the resulting impact can be detrimental to any size business, be the innovator a startup or multinational corporation.
The best patent firms understand not only the essential principles of patent law in their local jurisdictions, but are also bring with them attorneys well versed in technology, as well as the willingness to work with and understand their clients’ technical focus and management strategies. Leading patent law firms, whether larger firms or boutiques, stand behind their work product, and create patents able to withstand contentious licensing discussions and even patent litigation actions.
Patenting requires that the patent applications covering a company’s products be properly drafted, filed and prosecuted before relevant national and regional patent offices throughout the world. Good patenting usually results from hiring patent attorneys having relevant experience and education in the technology being covered, including advanced degrees in sciences and industry know-how. That is how top firms handle patents.
Best practices also require knowledge about the leading strategies and tactics for patent procurement, licensing and enforcement. These practices require a fundamental understanding of the law, which adapts and changes often with new challenges, and also the practical application of the law through diverse and extensive practice. Top firms employing these techniques are able to craft patented claims providing the proper breadth of patent protection, to artfully cover competitors’ copy-cat products, and even account for future generations of products, without being susceptible to invalidation due to preexisting innovations and a host of mistakes easily made in the esoteric patenting process found in every patent system.
It is recommended that the buyer beware, because patent agents and inexperienced attorneys may cause problems that are not likely discovered until years following patenting, when the stakes are high. Highly experienced patent professionals, the best of the lot, have the understanding that of perhaps thousands of patents reviewed for licensing to infringers for value, or needed for enforcement against bad actors, only a very few will properly cover competitor products and not run the risk of easy invalidation during the span of a litigation or before the relevant patent authority. In the U.S. in particular, patent enforcement actions face numerous allegedly antedating references applied by defendants to invalidate patented claims, both in the litigation in the relevant U.S. district court, and also before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in the form of an Inter Partes Review or an Ex Parte Reexamination.
Choosing the best law firm to take care of such vitally important matters can mean the difference between profiting handsomely from the company’s innovations and ideas or instead spending a fortune in human and financial capital only to have innovative ideas be easily copied by competitors with no legal recourse. Obtaining a lawyer who understands patent law and a company’s core technology is of fundamental importance, and this is especially true for cutting-edge innovators in the high tech and bio-tech industries.
This is not to say that firms seeking patent counsel should not be cost conscious, particularly as legal fees have escalated in stagnant economies. However, choosing an excellent patent firm is still the preferred choice. In recent years, startups and other innovators have opted to hire boutique patent firms, offering reduced fees without skimping on attorney experience, to keep fees in line with tight budgets. As experienced practitioners understand, patents are about quality versus quantity, so fewer well-crafted patents covering a company’s strategic objectives are preferred today versus amassing many worthless patents produced cheaply.