Is there a certain technology you specialize in?
Chris: Yes. Most of our clients are out of Silicon Valley. We do high-tech chip patents and that is because we had some ties with some good guys a long time ago that continue to give us referrals. Also, they recognized we have more of a Midwestern overhead compared to a west coast overhead, so we save money there.
Do you work with other technologies?
Chris: Yes, sure. We can do other things. Mechanical things, we can handle that. I'd say the only thing we really don't dabble in is chemical patents. Electrical and mechanical, we can do most of that.
How does a person find out if their invention is already out there?
Chris: That's always tricky. We will do a patent search for a fee or the client can try their own patent search. It is normally a word based search on the Internet. We have databases and tricks to dial in quicker than the average Joe. If we don't find something that's close to an invention, we probably didn't look in the right spot. It's amazing how many things are either in the patent database or on a general Google search.
How long does it take to get a patent?
Chris: It's a sliding scale like anything else with the Patent Office. They say it shouldn't take more than three years from the time you file. It seems like a long time, but by the time everything gets rolling through the Patent Office, it doesn't seem to be that long.
They also have an adjustment to the length of the patent term. We call it a PTA, a patent term adjustment. You get extra time added to the end of your patent if the Patent Office is slow on certain deadlines. One of their first deadlines is to have their first response in fourteen months after you file. If they are slower than that, they will add time to your patent. Sometimes that adds up to years.
... to be continued.
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