An invention patent lawyer can do several things that patent agents or do it yourselfer's cannot. Lawyers are the only people that can represent you in legal matters. Sounds like common sense. That is not to say that you must have an attorney to file a patent. Most often I recommend the use of patent agents to help control costs as part of an overall patent strategy for inventors.
There are three things that patent lawyers can do that no one else can. For instance lawyers are the only people that can pursue patent infringement cases. If you find that someone is using your idea or patent without your approval you will need a patent lawyer to take them on legally or ask them to cease and desist.
There are thousands of patent infringement cases brought forward every year in the US. If you feel like a company is using your patent or somehow infringing on your claims you should contact a lawyer to determine if you have a case or not.
Patent lawyers are also the only people that can bring patent validation lawsuits. For instance if a company feels that a patent was granted that should not have been or the scope of the claims in a patent are too broad, that patent can be challenged in court. If the patent is found to be invalid the patent owner loses rights to their invention. In most cases these types of lawsuits only occur between large companies that have huge sums of money at stake. Most independent inventors will never be party to one of these lawsuits. However, the important point to consider is that patents can be overturned and if you are on either side of the lawsuit you will need to get an attorney.
The final thing that invention patent lawyers can do that patent agents cannot is represent clients before the Trademark Office of the USPTO. This is important if you choose to pursue trademark protection for your invention. Many times it is easy to file for a trademark on your own. It is also inexpensive. There may be times when you disagree with the USPTO on whether you are entitled to a trademark or not. If you cannot resolve this matter yourself you will need an attorney to assist you.
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