Patent & Trademark Firm

patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
edited April 2008 in Protecting Your Ideas
I am a patent and trademark attorney.  Does anybody have a feel for how to reach small business owners who need a patent and trademark attorney?  I am trying to grow my firm.  Thanks.
James Lindon, Ph.D.
440-333-0011
 Joel2007-2-12 15:56:23
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Comments

  • theswaynestertheswaynester Posts: 15subscriber
    Hi Dr. Lindon--First of all, welcome to the forum.Gauging by the number of posts from entrepreneurs about patents that I am forced to respond with "I`m really not sure..." I would say StartUp Nation is a great place to network with just the sort of people who could help you grow your business.My advice would be to stick around, help people with questions, and serve as a resource. I bet you`ll establish a lot of contacts.
    Matt 
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
    Thanks for the words of encouragement.  I help people obtain patents and trademarks, then defend them if needed [i.e. infringement] or defend themselves against accusations of infringement.  I know there are a lot of misconceptions about patents and trademarks out there.  I understand the temptation to "do it yourself" since many law firms charge so much.  I hope to offer a more affordable alternative.  Thanks again.
  • EricEric Posts: 8subscriber
    P&T
    Welcome! Great name grab by the way. I for one would be sure to consider your services. My brother and I intend to file dozens of patents during the next few decades. We`ve been soaked relentlessly by one very high powered firm in Chicago. We`d love to consider a worthy alternative. If you don`t charge me to make considerations and respond to this message....that`s a good start!
    As the Swaynester said. Stick around. There will be plenty of opportunities to network. I`ll be sure to keep in touch and let you know when we`re ready to consider another move.
    ~Eric
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
    Thanks, Eric.  Most things I do are on a "flat fee" basis except things that are impossible to predict - like litigation.  One thing that inventors and small business people don`t like about buying legal services is unpredictability.  I try to eliminate that and generally do eliminate that.
  • EricEric Posts: 8subscriber
    Thanks, Eric.  Most things I do are on a "flat fee" basis except things that are impossible to predict - like litigation.  One thing that inventors and small business people don`t like about buying legal services is unpredictability.  I try to eliminate that and generally do eliminate that.
    LOL I`ve had $30k worth of unpredictability and counting! Yeah, that`s without litigation. 
    But we`ll survive. Somehow!
  • SethSeth Posts: 2subscriber
    James,
    Can you tell us the benefits of using an attorney to file a trademark? The "flat fee`s" seems to vary greatly! What can a small business owner expect to pay for a trademark filing/research using an attorney and what services should be expected?
    Can a business owner help lower costs with a trademark attorney by doing research or other things him/herself? It great to have an trademark attorney part of the SUN community.
  • WickedWicked Posts: 2subscriber
    Hi -
    This is my first post on SUN
    P&T -
    Glad to see you`re making a concentrated
    effort in hitting the niche of small businesses. Many, if not most, startups do not understand the intricacies of obtaining patents and/or registered trademarks. For some, the research on patents alone will be overwhelming thus driving them to their local law firm for services. Obviously the bigger the firm the more expensive their services.
     
    In my opinion, you should definitely get a website up and running ASAP. By visiting forums like this and showing your willingness to help, you`ll start gaining word of mouth advertising. I would look into offline SEO strategies for your website. The image you should portray (in my humble opinion) is one that caters to the small business and start ups. You should make it a point to say you`re here for the new(er) businesses as well as the established ones. Because you are small, you can focus on more personal interaction and relationships with your clients compared to the big firms. Other area(s) to touch upon are: 1) your cost vs those of large firms 2) Your expertise and willingness to only handle services within that expertise 3) Your interest in helping new business and startups with the capacity, knowledge, and expertise to help established ones too.
     
    To get the name out, there are volumes of books and articles on online marketing. I would focus on creative marketing that will get your name out with the least amount of costs. A few that I recommend you look into are:
     
    1) Blogs! Blogs! Blogs!
    2) Article Submissions
    3) Forums and message boards
     
    Good luck and I hope it works well for you. On your website, if you put what your flat fees are, that would increase the interest of those visiting your site. Often those doing research don`t have time to follow up with emails and such inquiring prices and fees. Be one step ahead of your competitors by listing the prices that you are certain of.
     
    - Eric
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
    The need to hire an attorney to file a patent or trademark application is similar to the need to hire a dentist to pull a tooth.  They can both help you decide whether it is even necessary or a good idea to act.  They can also help you to avoid the sometimes disasterous results of the learning curve that comes from teaching  yourself.
    I learned a long time ago [sometimes the hard way] there were things I should not do on my own - fix my car, pull my tooth, build my house, manufacture my shoes, etc....  It`s a matter of where each person draws the line and how much time he/she wants to spend learning a new field and how much risk he/she likes in the future.
     
  • JamyeJamye Posts: 0subscriber
    Wow...
    A Lawyer with a Doctorate (or is it a Doctor with a `Lawyerate`), but I jest...
    The image you should portray (in my humble opinion) is one that caters to the small business and start ups. You should make it a point to say you`re here for the new(er) businesses as well as the established ones. Because you are small, you can focus on more personal interaction and relationships with your clients compared to the big firms.
    In addition to Eric`s post above...
    When it comes to intricate subjects like P & T, I always like to feel that the person I am doing business with is educating me about the subject.  That definitely helps me feel like I am making more informed decisions about our dealings.  Eric`s advice is good way to go about that.
    As a web developer/designer by trade, I always spend a lot of time educating my clients.  Not because I need to, but because I want to.  The more they know, the easier it is for me to get a decision out of them.
    (I have some general P&T questions, that I will post separately.)
  • JamyeJamye Posts: 0subscriber
    What can a small business owner expect to pay for a trademark filing/research using an attorney and what services should be expected?
    Can a business owner help lower costs with a trademark attorney by doing research or other things him/herself?
    These are questions I would love to hear the answers to.
    Example:  Everything used in the business process/revenue model already exists separately, but to my knowledge the technologies are not being used in this combination for this specific industry.  Can I patent a business process like this even if only to license it to a larger company?  If I can and what I have is patentable, I may be in need of your services sooner than later.
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
    I do a lot of education with my clients.  For those clients in the Cleveland Ohio area, I spend two hours in my office with the client before I file anything at all.  Sometimes, the best thing to file right now is nothing.  Timing is important.  i`d rather wait to do it right.
    Fees are tough to discuss because they vary by geography.  The total fee to file a trademark application in a single class of goods is generally less than a thousand dollars.  Beyond that, costs depend a lot on how easy or difficult the USPTO is in its examination of the application.
    Novelty in the patentability arena requires a new combination of elements.  The elements can be old as long as the combination is novel.
     
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
    If the client helps and the help saves time, it will save money.  If the client helps and the help costs time, it will cost money.  I had a client once that wanted to `help` with everything I did - which included discussing for 30 minutes every letter I wrote, even when the letter took 10 mintues.  She turned a 10 minute project into a 40 minute project.  She was shocked when she got a bill and saw she got a bill for 40 minutes for the letter.
    There is a fine line between helping your lawyer and hurting yourself.  If your lawyer needs that type of "supervision," you should get another lawyer and let your lawyer do his or her job. 
    How can you help your dentist?  Brush and floss your teeth.  When you go to him and he is drilling in your mouth, the best advice is sit still and think happy thoughts.  Sometimes, helping is not helping.
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
    Category of what?  I`m not sure what you mean.  Categories, or art units, make no substantive difference in patent law.  Art units only determine what group of examiners will examine the patent application.
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark Posts: 104subscriber
    generally utility patents protect functional features, design patents protect ornamental features.
  • SethSeth Posts: 2subscriber
    As a small business owner who is contemplating filing for trademarks I happen to agree with Daniel.
    First help small businesses with the Tradmarks and Copyrights and then reap the rewards when the business grows or when you go after the bad guys who knowingly infring on those trademarks.
    On the other hand I know the value of an experienced and good attorney (or any professional) who gives personal legal advise and protection. For anyone looking to market to the small business owner I would suggest a middle ground.
    Small business owners want to know the vendors and proffessionals they choose are 100% on their side...looking to help the small business grow big. Loyalty will be there! Just ask around.     
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