How To Verify The Credentials Of A Patent Attorney
This is the sixth post in my series entitled “How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search.” If you read the previous posts, you should have made a list of potential patent attorneys that you are interested in hiring. Now it’s time to make sure that they are who they say they are.
As I mentioned in my last post, one of the challenges with finding a good, affordable patent attorney is that many good patent attorney at smaller firms do not like to advertise. In contrast, many patent scam artists and large, expensive firms love to advertise. However, most patent attorneys will have some sort of “digital presence” online as a web page or Linked-In.
So I suggest taking the following steps to verify the credentials of a potential patent attorney.
Step 1: Visit Their Webpage — At a minimum, their web page should have a professional photo of them, their mailing address, email address, and a phone number where they can be reached. Their web page will also indicate if they are registered to practice before the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and if they are admitted to any state bars. Remember, to be a patent attorney they must be registered to practice before the USPTO and be admitted to at least one state bar.
Websites are usually considered advertisements by state bars, so websites are usually monitored for bar compliance. This means that if they are in fact admitted to practice by a state bar, then the information on their website should be reasonably accurate.
Optional Step: Visit their Linked-In Profile — If the patent attorney is on Linked-In, then you can check the information that you see there against the information on their web page.
Step 2: Verify The Patent Attorney Is A Patent Agent — Visit the USPTO attorney/agent search engine by clicking here or Googling “USPTO attorney search” (it will be the first non-advertisement).
Type the last name of the attorney or agent into the Last Name field and hit search.
If your patent attorney or patent agent is listed, then they are registered to practice before the USPTO. You can also make sure that their contact information matches the information that you found on their web page.
By clicking here or Googling “USPTO oed reading room,” you can see if the patent attorney or patent agent was subject to any disciplinary proceedings by the USPTO.
Just type their last name into the field labeled “Respondent Name.” No hits mean no discipline.
Step 3: Verify The Patent Attorney’s State Bar Credentials — If verifying the credentials of a patent attorney, search the state bar of the state that they are admitted to. Generally, you can find this by Googling “[[insert name of state]] Bar Attorney Search.” For your convenience, I provide links to the search pages of some of the patent-heavy state bars.
By looking up a patent attorney’s last name, you should be able to verify if the attorney is admitted to practice in that state, and match their contact information to that of their website. Some state bars like Texas and California will also provide a lot more information to help with your verification.
Hopefully, you like what you find.
The next post in my “How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search” series will cover “Patent Attorney Costs And Expectations.” Click here for the next post.