You can have valuable rights stolen from you and be unable to do much about it for a number of reasons:
- The cost of correcting the problem is prohibitive.
- You lack proof of theft.
- No legal cause of action is apparent.
It costs money to file patent claims and even more money to protect the intellectual property rights of a company. Patenting an invention could easily cost as much as $20,000 or more. Defending a patent against infringement is even more expensive.
An intellectual property attorney can do much to prevent problems. First, attorneys can spot intellectual property in your business and devise ways to protect it more readily than you can. Certainly attorneys can prepare the appropriate documents, but they can also advise you on protective measures in matters such as hiring, firing, administration, and operations. Prevention is cheaper than the cure.
For assistance, ask your general business lawyer to recommend an intellectual property attorney and then interview prospective candidates. When screening candidates, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can you and the attorney effectively communicate with each other?
- Does the attorney explain advice in terms you understand?
- Do you feel confident in the attorney and the advice?
- Does the attorney adequately explain the fee and billing procedures?
- Is the attorney accessible by phone?
- Does the attorney return phone calls within twenty-four hours or have a procedure by which others from the office will call you and see if they can help?
- When you do speak with the attorney does he or she appear knowledgeable about you, your business, and the status of the matter at hand?
If the answers to any of these questions are less than positive, work on changing that answer by telling your attorney directly what is negative about your relationship. If several answers are negative, find another attorney.
© 2007 Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. All rights reserved.
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