Most patent attorneys have some kind of technical background as an engineer or a scientist. Then they go to law school and start practicing law afterward; however, they never really get business experience or business training. The problem is that a patent is primarily a business tool — so hiring a patent lawyer with business experience can be a valuable asset to individuals and small companies seeking to patent their inventions.
Why Business Experience Matters
Russ Weinzimmer, a patent attorney whose practice works with individuals and small companies to help them protect their inventions and intellectual property, says that because most patents are not litigated, the key value of a patent is its business value. He explained:
Even though it’s actually a legal document, it’s also a technical document. There’s a lot of technical information in a patent and it takes a lot of technical and legal skill to draft a good patent. Unfortunately, what is often neglected is the business perspective in how to draft the patent application. Business experience and business insight can substantially improve the value and effectiveness of a patent.
Using MBAs to Address a Patent’s Strategic Business Elements
Weinzimmer says that many of the attorneys that he deals with simply do not have the needed business acumen. He told us that his firm provides that and explained that while he would never restrict himself to only hiring patent attorneys that are as business oriented as he is, he makes sure that those attorneys get the proper business training. He continued:
Some firms have a philosophy which seems to ignore the full business situation of their client. They don’t even know what to ask and their strategy does not require that business input because it ignores the strategic business elements of a patent. While some firms do address those issues, they tend to do it without real thought — and many times it’s just as a byproduct of the usual procedure.
However, we do something quite different. We offer services that are performed by an experienced MBA. We will analyze the market for the invention and do financial projections on what the invention can earn in that market.
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