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I am researching this company https://boldip.com/

How do I verify that

  1. It's even a real law firm
  2. It's credible
  3. It's great at its practice
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    I'm not sure if this is helpful but the USPTO puts out some information about what scammy patent practices are, as well as what legitimate ones are required to disclose. I think if they follow disclosure practices it may be safe to assume they're "credible".
    – rob
    Oct 3, 2022 at 14:36

3 Answers 3

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As to #1, the US Patent and Trademark Office has a patent practitioner search where you can verify if someone is a registered patent practitioner. If so, it means they passed a [registration process] that evaluates their "legal, scientific, and technical qualifications, as well as good moral character and reputation", as well as a multiple-choice exam.

I looked up a few of the attorneys listed on the firm's About Us page and they show up as registered.

So this seems like a good indication that they are a "real law firm".

This does not address whether they are "credible" (I'm not sure what that means), or how to evaluate the firm's quality, and I will leave it to someone else to answer that.

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    FWIW, the nature of the beast is that a client is generally in a poor position to evaluate the quality of their lawyers.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 3, 2022 at 22:28
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    The first qualification to become a registered practitioner before the USPTO is to have an undergraduate science or engineering degree but only some fields automatically count. Then pass the all-day test in patent law relevant to prosecuting patents and patent office procedures. Last I heard it had a first-try pass rate of about 50%. They post your name somewhere to see if anyone objects on moral grounds. This path is identical for attorneys and non attorneys. Former examiners can qualify for a shortcut. And then you need to learn how to actually draft and prosecute patent applications. Oct 4, 2022 at 5:08
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  1. The lawyer makes the law firm. If there is at least one lawyer who will sign off on any advice and representation on behalf of the client in a company, in other words, they provide legal services under the lead of a lawyer, and its formally established, it is — potentially besides of any other services they may provide per state law — a law firm. Accordingly, you may want to look at the individual attorneys track records (state bar disciplinary history) which may at least give a hint about the individual composition of the firm from this perspective. (The Auditor of State of California simply declared the Cal. State Bar to practically doing nothing about attorney misconduct, and acting as a cover-up agency for attorneys, and while I’m not sure about the practices in other states, I’d not put my hopes up high)

At times, incorporation or tax documents will list the scope of services a company provides, but typically even there one will on mot find “Any legal activity” or similar wording. In many states law firms are given a special designation and will be entitled tot the company form “professional corporation” or P.C. for short; however, that may not everywhere be the case in the U.S.

Do note, patent agents may prosecute patents before the USPTO, the Patent and Trademark Administrative Board (PTAB), but not before the Federal Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court; in a patent dispute, you will need a patent attorney, not an agent.

  1. The test of the pudding is the eating. You can read reviews about law firms, but be mindful of the fact that both Google and Yelp will take down reviews of the really nasty stuff on lawyers regardless if a judge declared that a review is substantially factual. You will simply not find reasons of the one-star reviews, the type of things you want to know to judge a law firm's trustworthiness and loyalty to their clients. It’s probably good practice to act according to the specific nature of the interaction within the relationship in terms of whether or not interest surely or necessarily align or not. And if not, proceed with caution.

  2. That’s probably even harder without not only knowing the patents they gained and lost, but the prior art around those patents, the actual scope of the invention provided by the inventor or inventors, and the scope of patent issued which tends to require some rather in-depth understanding of various fields of science and technology other than the legal aspect.

It’s important to know that “approval rates” may be misleading for many reasons: A law firm may simply refuse a case they are not confident they wouldn’t win (that might be a good test of that anecdotal pudding relative to whether or not a patent could be obtained based on how one presents it to a law firm); another issue, although it’s probably less probable, frankly, it is really hard to not be able to squeeze something out of a utility idea that at least in the most extremely narrowest sense would not pass obviousness. In other words, one may obtain a completely useless patent with no commercial value, and even the USPTO will probably gladly approved it if it’s narrow enough in hope one would keep paying the maintenance fees. I have not come across law firms that would run a scheme to get approvals at all costs, typically the client has enough discretion on the high-level strategizing to decide whether or not to pursue a patent whatever narrow it may be, or call it as the result would be worthless even with a grant.

The most important thing is an average-income individual or first inventor is generally best off spending the time to educate themselves to understand patent drafting at least to the extent that they would feel confident to file a provisional application as though they themselves would have to follow up on it, and file the non-provisional on it. (Of course, this on the balance of the competitiveness of the field and expectable probability of someone filing first and rendering one’s application obvious or rarely but even worse: Not novel)

There is no much wiggle room in the scope of the claims, and the overall description or specification of the patent in a non-provisional relative to its parent provisional. One must go in with knowing that however narrow they managed to squeeze out the invention and it’s exemplary embodiments in the provisional, that will be the widest breadth of the non-provisional. If one drafts it as though they would then file it as though they would then have to follow through with the non-provisional on the premise that anything left out is lost (unless of course one files another patent application before the publication of the non-provisional), then that’s the material one wants a patent attorney to see. Patent attorneys typically work with big companies who have in-house patent attorneys and their engineers are also thoroughly educated in drafting patents. When their application lands before their in-house or outside counsel, it is almost in shape and form. One simply must thoroughly understand the prior art, that’s a work you just can’t afford paying a lawyer for. In-house attorneys will do it, or outside counsels for multiple tens of thousands if it came to that but it does not, because the engineers do that job before the drafts get before a lawyer or patent agent.

The specific law firm in question: It would probably be the decades U.S. patent law scam if this law firm would not be a law firm, and even if only one of the attorneys listed as such would not have been admitted and in good standing with the USPTO and/or the Federal Circuit that would be quite the story too. As @Nate Eldredge informed that doesn’t seem to be the case, and one may view individual attorneys to have been registered and/or to be in good standing with the USPTO.

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    +1 for mentioning that patent agents can represent other before the appeals board. A few years ago I attended a National Association of Patent Practitioners conference held in Alexandria VA down the street from USPTO headquarters. Most of the sessions involved USPTO officials. The next to the last session featured people on the PTAB. One got a question about patent agents being allowed to appear before them and got it wrong! Oct 3, 2022 at 23:44
  • @GeorgeWhite thank you, your approval is greatly appreciated!
    – kisspuska
    Oct 4, 2022 at 0:01
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As others have noted it's easy to verify if an attorney or agent is registered but near impossible to know if they are good. Just like it would be hard for me to know if my doctor is any good (I don't have a medical degree) but there are some common sense things we can try:

  1. How long have they been practicing?
  2. Can you see their work product (note all patents are published so that should not be hard for them to share)
  3. Do they have online reviews from Google, etc?
  4. What is their background? A biotech person should not be writing a electrical engineering type patent.
  5. Do their prices align with your budget? I have seen patent quotes range from $3,000 to $40,000 just to write an application.

If you can satisfy items 1-5 and you have verified the person is registered with the USPTO you should generally be in good hands.

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