Hello CoFounders, I am working on an invention/product and am looking into reputable, honest patent search and prototype service companies. The product is a physical product, no software/tech. I am based in CA. It would be nice to find one locally, but ultimately I am seeking one that can best help (honest, quality of design and prototype). Does anyone here have experience working with Aiello Designs? Any experience or strong recommendations of any quality patent search and prototype companies? Thank you kindly
You might consider LegalZoom.
I am firstname.lastname@example.org
For patent questions I suggest you work with a law firm that has experience with Startups. Danielson Legal LLC. www.danielsonlegal.com works with startups. Regarding prototyping without a review of your prints and application a referral to just any prototype company would not be much use.
If you do not have a copy already get Patent It Yourself, by David Pressman, Nolo press. Even if you hire a patent attorney or agent I have found this a great guide to understanding the process. Read the section on patent searching and then do a search online on patent search resources. The book is a little dated there. The last time I looked there are now some excellent free online sources to do basic and advanced searches. If you determine a Design Patent may be adequate, this is more difficult and time consuming to search. You almost have to look at thousands of prior patents. For example there are a plethora of designs for pill boxes. Sometimes easier to generate the drawings and file.
You should do some searching yourself as the inventor. It can be a sobering experience. It also gives you a better perspective of the competitive landscape. Later if you do hire a search firm you can better direct their search. There is a big national firm and another one I know in Pasadena. If you have $$ they can speed the search.
I have a very biased opinion about the patent process. I find the America Invents Act greatly hurts the individual poorly funded inventor if they are applying for a Utility Patent. The main problem is the law changes the US from first to invent to first to file. And Utility patents are not cheap if you need an agent of attorney. You really need to reduce a concept to a functional prototype to write a good patent. It has taken me at least three years each time. If you write a patent based on your initial concept you run the risk of describing things that are not workable. This can cause litigation expenses if you are in an aggressive field like biotech. If it is something basic like a clever purse, not as much an issue.
As a patent information professional for over 30 years, a patent attorney for 15+, and current patent agent, I do not recommend Legal Zoom.In the US, the one major professional search organization has stubbornly refused to consider certification of patent searchers unlike the rest of the world. My best advice if you want to hire a company is to first read the research of patent search on the free site Free Patents Online (www.fpo.org/research) and visit the inventors resource site of the USPTO www.USPTO.org/patents. They provide volunteers to help you search. I also like David Hitchcock's search book- but it is time consuming. I know of an excellent firm that I have no affiliation in your field if you contact me at my private or LinkedIN account.