The patent process involves a legal system of negotiation with the federal government. Specifically, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. The USPTO is a self-funded organization which receives, reviews, and issues patents.
Any person can file a patent at the USPTO pro se, meaning by themselves. (Correct Latin translation would be "for oneself") But, there is skill and knowledge of the patent office system and legal system that would lead an inventor to want to hire a patent attorney. Generally, that consideration would be to ensure that the patent is filed properly and to be sure that the patent issued actually protects the invention claimed.
Patent Attorneys. Unfortunately, not all attorneys are able to represent clients in their pursuit of patents at the USPTO. The USPTO allows only attorneys with sufficiently scientific backgrounds to test into the USPTO program. For example, the writer of this blog, Michael, has a degree in biophysics, biochemistry, and molecular biology. This USPTO requirement, therefore, limits the number of attorneys able to produce this sort of work. So, if you are looking for an attorney to help you with your patent, you must hire a patent attorney.
Once you have retained a patent attorney, he or she can instruct you on the steps involved in obtaining your patent. We also have blog posts on each step of the process here.
Michael Brubaker is a patent attorney in Seattle, WA who handles general inventions, pharmaceuticals, machinery, and chemical compositions.