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Where do i find a pro bono patent laywer

Chicago, IL |

i have a invention i want to get patent but have no money

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Attorney answers 7

Posted

Consult the Patent Office link below.

This comment is NOT LEGAL ADVICE. The question asker and any third-party reading this comment SHOULD NOT RELY UPON this comment. Regardless of the information provided in this comment, any reader of this comment should CONSULT AN ATTORNEY to confirm the accuracy of this comment.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

Asker, you might be interested to know that the USPTO is under a funded mandate to promote pro bono services for small inventors by encouraging lawyer associations to provide such. The PTO will direct you to the associations providing pro bono services. However, common sense should tell you that the best attorneys do not do pro bono work because they have more prospective paying clients than they can handle. The ones doing pro bono are mostly novice attorneys, and quality varies greatly, but if the attorney is a "registered patent attorney" at least you know they know enough that the USPTO has certified them as competent to represent people before the USPTO and to charge for such services. If you pay nothing at least you know you will get more than what you pay for!

Posted

Unless you at east have the money for the official filing fees, you are probably out of luck. If you have at least that amount, depending upon what you want to patent and its commercial viability, you may be able to find someone who will defer their fees (but not many). Check with some of the law schools near you. They may have a clinic where patent law professor may be able/willing to help.

In any event, what is your purpose for wanting a patent? If you have no money, you probably can't commercialize your invention or afford to make the effort to get someone with money interested.

If you have invented something with commercial viability, talk to friends and family to see if you can muster up enough that way to pay for preparation of a proper patent application. In the meanwhile, do not disclose your invention (at least without a non-disclosure/non-use agreement drafted by a competent attorney in place) or you could kill your chances of getting any protection at all.

Good luck!

This information is intended to be general and educational in nature. It is not intended to be specific legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship. I require a signed retainer agreement from a potential client to establish an attorney-client relationship and before I will provide specific legal representation.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

And Asker, consider that a patent may not be what you need. One of the more successful inventors, author of a book on it, says moving fast to grab the initial shelf space is more important in this rapidly moving commercial world than getting a patent, and a provisional patent application and a trademark and a ton of persistence and conviction may be all you need to get going. Read "One Simple Idea" by Stephen Key (available on Kindle for under $14) and you will understand how he defied the odds to become a successful invention licensor. One key - he always uses an attorney for provisional patent applications. You should, too.

Posted

The first thing I would do is have the invention evaluated by a patent lawyer to make sure a patent is plausible and worth pursuing. You may be able to locate a law school IP clinic or as my colleague offered work with a pro bono program but this is easier said than done.

As a general rule of thumb, if there has not been much money invested in the invention or if it does not conern some serious techology pursuing a patent may not offer very much of return.

This is something you need to consider very carefully. Please discuss with several professionals before making any committments because this area is full of SCAM artists.

Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

Best regards,
Frank
Natoli-Lapin, LLC
(see Disclaimer)

The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad. Feel free to call for a free phone consultation; your inquiries are always welcome: CONTACT: 866-871-8655 Support@LanternLegal.com DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

And, nearly every patent attorney will give you a half hour or so of free initial consultation. Key word there is FREE. If you have no money, free is good and the advice you receive will be invaluable. You can also go to your library and find books on inventing and on writing patent applications. Hopefully, you realize after reading them that you should either use a patent attorney or just not file for patent. Pro se patent work is seldom worth anything and often very harmful.

Posted

There are very few patent lawyers or patent agents who will work pro bono. Further, if you do not have the modest sum necessary to pay for a patent application, then you probably also do not have sufficient resources to commercialize your product. Your first step is to consult with any of the lawyers on AVVO (such as myself) who offer free consultation. You need to find out if you have an invention that could be protected by a patent--you would be surprised how often people believe they have something that is very valuable, when in fact, it cannot be protected by patent law because it is either obvious or not novel. If it looks like you have a viable invention, then you need to draft a business plan and working finding investors either through crowd funding or more traditional mechanisms. We are waiting for issuance of new regulations from the SEC which will make it easier more feasible for persons in your situation to solicit investments via either crown-funding and/or equity investments of amounts under $1 million. This is an exciting time for persons in your situation, because if you have a valuable investment new mechanisms are about to be put into practice by the SEC that drastically improve your chances of raising the funding necessary to move forward with your project. As I said before, your first step is to have a free consultation with patent counsel. Many of the patent attorneys who work with start-up companies also help these companies prepare business plans and scout out potential investors. And be careful of scam artists---there are many non-lawyer organizations that offer assistance ot investors in commercializing inventions in exchange for modest fees of a few hundred dollars---these are invariably scams. It takes thousands of dollars to draft and prosecute a patent application, and much more to adequately fund commercialization efforts. Avoid the temptation to take the easy, cheap way out.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

Good advice. One of the most important things a novice inventor can do is to avoid getting scammed. Here's how: http://burdlaw.com/avoidscam.html

Posted

You may ask why there are no, or almost no pro-bono patent attorneys, and the answer is simple. A patent is a business asset that has value on its own, such as the title to real estate property, and as any business requires money.
You do not need a patent to manufacture/sell your product, so get your product in the market first, prove it is unique and use the money to fund your next business.
good luck

USPTO Registered Patent Attorney, Master of Intellectual Property law, MBA I am neither your attorney, nor my answers or comments in AVVO.com create an attorney-client relationship with you. You may accept or disregard my free advice in AVVO.com at your own risk. I am a Patent Attorney, admitted to the USPTO and to the Florida Bar.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

And in your next business, get protected if you can. Also, you MAY need to avoid a patent, so doing a patent search, even a cursory one on your own, is very important. Google "Google Advanced Patents Search" for a free resource that, if you use it to the point of becoming familiar with its robust features, will allow you to do a passable "screening" search. Of course, attorneys can do much, much better as they are familiar with such things as patent classification, forward and reverse citations, prior art lookups, claim analysis, etc. While it is technically correct that you do not need a patent attorney, every major business - almost without exception - uses one or more patent attorneys. Perhaps those successful business know something you should know - sound business judgment requires use of attorneys so you have the legal basis on which to make business judgments. There really is no substitute and shortcutting on legal work is very, very dangerous. Any patent lawyer with much experience can recount many horror stories about pro se patent work. We see them here on Avvo again and again.

Posted

It is extremely unlikely you will find a patent attorney willing to work pro bono. Patent law is a very specialized area of law which requires even more education than a simple law degree. If your item is so special,. you stand to make a significant amount of money. Go see a patent attorney and discuss your idea. If it is worth he effort, perhaps you can make some sort of arrangement for payment of fees.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

Actually, Judy, it's becoming more possible because the USPTO is under an AIA funding mandate [ see http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/programs.jsp ] to get patent lawyer associations and law schools to arrange for pro bono inventor representations. See this link for one of the first major pro bono patent programs - in Minnesota - http://www.uspto.gov/inventors/independent/eye/201108/probono.jsp. Here with the ISBA, it is not happening yet, since nearly all IL patent lawyers [I'm a rare exception.] are located in Chicago and you know how greedy Chicago lawyers all are. LOL

Posted

It is extremely rare to fine a patent attorney who will work pro bono on a patent case. There are a few that will defer fees, but that is rare as well. You are better off trying to borrow money from family and friends.

I am an attorney licensed to practice in Texas, Louisiana and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and the above may not be an accurate assessment of the laws for your area. The above should be taken as general guidance and not specific legal advice. For specific legal advice you should seek a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction practicing in the area specific to your issue. The above does not constitute or establish an attorney client relationship. If you wish to receive specific advice about your legal issue, then contact my office to schedule a personal consultation.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

Not so fast! That is slowly changing due to the AIA pro bono funding mandate. http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/programs.jsp

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