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Patent It Yourself vs. Hiring a Patent Attorney

Deciding whether to patent an invention yourself or to hire a patent attorney is a difficult decision for inventors. Every year, thousands of inventors attempt to self-draft their own provisional patent application. However, a provisional patent application will not issue into a granted patent by itself and you still need to file a non-provisional patent application which is significantly more difficult to prepare than a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application has no specific format, whereas a non-provisional patent application has specific non-provisional patent application parts you must include and draft properly.  For more information, see Provisional Patent Applications vs. Non-Provisional Patent Applications.

If you decide to prepare and file your own patent application, we do not recommend attempting to prepare and file a non-provisional patent application which can be very difficult to prepare.  A provisional patent application is generally more suitable for self-drafting by inventors since they are not examined by the U.S. Patent Office and the difficult "claims" section is not required.  Regardless if you attempt to patent it yourself or hire a patent attorney, it is still strongly recommended that you have a professional U.S. patent search performed before filing your patent application. 

Finally, it is also strongly recommended to have a patent attorney at least file your self-drafted provisional patent application.  Neustel Law Offices offers a provisional filing service you can use to have your provisional patent application professionally filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).

  

Balance Benefits vs. Risks of Self-Drafting (i.e. Patenting It Yourself)

When determining if you should patent your invention yourself, it is important to weigh all of the benefits and risks associated with doing so.  If the benefits do not significantly outweigh the risks, you should not attempt to patent your invention yourself.

  

Benefits of Self-Drafting

Below are some of the potential benefits of preparing and filing a patent application yourself:

  • You can save thousands of dollars in patent attorney fees.
  • You can prepare and file the patent application when you want without having to rely on fitting into a patent attorney's schedule or paying rush fees.

  

Risks of Self-Drafting

Below are some of the potential risks of preparing and filing a patent application yourself:

  • You may make costly mistakes in preparing the patent application that results in the loss of some or all of your patent rights.
  • You will need to spend a significant amount of time learning how to prepare and file a patent application.
  • You may not be ready to file for patent protection in foreign countries within one-year of your patent application (self-drafted patent applications are sometimes filed prior to the invention being fully developed).

  

Closing Statement

Self-drafting a patent application is an important decision that should not be taken lightly.  If you decide to self-draft, you should use a third-party provisional patent application writing software such as PatentWizard developed by Michael S. Neustel and have your provisional patent application filed by a licensed U.S. patent attorney.  Finally, the ultimate decision is up to you and typically comes down to the potential up-front savings vs. the potential long-term costs.

 

Michael Neustel is the founder of the National Inventor Fraud Center, Inc.