A patent attorney will be your most trusted friend if ever you intend filing an application for your latest invention. This is because filing for a patent is a complicated and protracted process that requires you to have in-depth knowledge of patent rules and laws and other technical procedures. You should have previous knowledge of how the patent office works; its various departments and the prevailing practices. You would also have to do all that paperwork yourself; not to mention unending follow-ups with the authorities. They can certainly save you all that hassle and also ensure that your patent application is approved at the earliest.
Once you Hire a Patent Attorney
After you have hired a patent attorney, you will have to hand over a power of attorney or authorization papers to him. This authorization paper is part of your application papers and must be submitted along with all other documents. Once the authorization paper or power of attorney has been submitted, your patent office will no longer communicate with you but will correspond directly with your attorney.
Understandably, your patent lawyer is the most important link between you and the patent office and on him depends the success or failure of your application. Your attorney is also the person who knows every detail about your invention and idea before you have been able to patent it. Naturally, unscrupulous patent attorneys can easily sell your idea to another individual or corporation for personal financial gain. So how can you safeguard your precious invention against such risky possibility?
Hire a Registered Patent Attorney
The best way of safeguarding your invention before patenting it is to hire only registered patent attorneys. Registered attorneys are legally bound by the Australian Patents Act of 1990 (Federal Act) to maintain client confidentiality. No registered patent attorney will ever share your data or documents with another individual as doing so will put him at the danger of getting his registration revoked. The Federal Government regulates the standard and practices followed by registered patent attorneys through the Professional Standards Board (PSB) for Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys. The PSB has stringent codes that all registered patent attorneys follow if they want to continue practicing in their profession and one of the codes clearly forbids a registered patent attorney from disclosing client information.
When You Can No Longer Trust Your Patent Attorney
Understandably, you do not have to insist on a non-disclosure agreement if you are working with a registered patent attorney. You must insist on this certificate only if you opt for patent agents and not full-time attorneys.
However, even registered attorneys cannot be trusted blindly all the time.
Avoid Attorneys who insist on In-house Searches
Searching is an essential part of the patent application procedure. It involves going through national and international data bank from reliable and independent sources such as IP Australia for similar inventions that already exist. Your patent application and all that trouble will be successful only if there are no existing patents or applications pending for similar invention. Many patent attorneys have their own search mechanism where the results can make you feel that that no similar patents or application pending while in reality this is not true.