If you have never worked in a company that makes products, learn about how such companies establish their New Product Development process, and where patents fit in. Do ask a colleague who has worked in-house as to how often, absent a robust process, the wrong patent decisions are made and how. That colleague may confirm for you that, absent a process that robustly includes patents, critical patent opportunities are lost so often that the phenomenon has its own name (“loss of IP“).
Recognize that you are seeing only a self-selected fraction of possible clients: only those coordinated enough to come and seek your help. This, however, is not a representative fraction of all companies that do Research & Development. In fact, some disregard patents and experience loss of IP, to the detriment of their owners. And some ask for a patent attorney for the first time when they are sued for patent infringement.
In planning patent strategy with a prospective client company, it is very difficult to convey everything in a single consultation. Typically the prospective client will leave the consultation session with their questions answered. After that, however, they may develop additional questions. Or, they may hear things within their company that mislead them – the type of things that you could respond to if you heard, but you might never get to hear.
The Patent Ready® book can help in such a consultation. It provides a space in an early page for you to personalize it, with your name and contact information. You can give a patent consultation to a prospective client by pointing to a few diagrams in the book. You can answer many possible questions by pointing to other diagrams. And then you can give this book to the prospective client, who will keep it and refer to it for life. As they refer to it, many misconceptions will be dispelled, for example as to why filing patent applications cannot be delayed past some point, and why provisionals are inadequate for certain purposes. It will inform them of when, as they do their work, they are ready for higher-end legal work for their circumstances. The book does not do that legal work, however; rather, its most repeated phrase is “ask your patent attorney”. So, when at the time they wonder who their patent attorney should be and who gave them this book, they will be able to find your name where you entered it in its early page, plus your contact information.
Having “Patent Ready” as a convenient reference is like having a “User’s Manual” for the United States patent system (as well as the corresponding systems of other countries). It covers the subject very thoroughly; and yet, it should be understandable to company executives, managers and engineers who have no particular background or experience with the patent law. Greg Kavounas’ use of Figures in Patent Ready to illustrate the subject matter being discussed provides clarity and serves to enhance the reader’s understanding of a somewhat complex subject. Mr. Kavounas’ coverage of strategies, opportunities and risks brings to the reader’s attention real world considerations that must be dealt with in order to optimally navigate through the patent system.
Norman Zafman, Founder
Blakely, Sokoloff, Taylor & Zafman LLP