I thought I would post this since I have had a lot of responses to my other product development posts:
Several months ago a fellow engineer, and past college roomate, approached me about helping him bring his product to market. ###I was told that he had applied for a patent. ###
Whle reviewing his claims and descriptions for his patent application (in an effort to better understand his product), I noticed that it was not well written (as compaired with what my attorney had submitted on my product). ###My friend told me that he had written the description. ###After further probing, I discovered that his attorney charged him $2000.
After hearing this I was immediately suspicious and asked my friend why the attorney didn't rewrite the descriptions. ###I was given a lame excuse that didn't add up. ###I ended the discussion by saying that he ought to check on the status and verify that the attorney had indeed applied for a UTILITY PATENT.
As it turns out, my friend called and said that the attorney had applied for a PROVISIONAL PATENT. ###Provisional patents are only good for one year.
Although my friend can convert his provisional patent to a utility patent, here are the problems I see:
1) A provisional patent application costs about $80. ###My friend wrote the description. ###Why did the attorney charge him $2000? ....the attorney did virtually nothing!
2) Why didn't the attorney better inform my friend as to what he was applying for? ###Many people don't know the difference between patent types...my friend thought he was getting "long-term" protection, hence, a Utility Patent.
3) Now that my friend's Provisional Patent has expired, he has to convert it to a Utility Patent in order to maintain the protection during the period the provisional was issued. ###Based on what I read, my friend's description is not written well enough to win a Utility Patent (Provisional Patents are never reviewed by the PTO). ###This means, that if he ditches his current scamming attorney and goes with a respected firm, he will pay several more thousand just to file a utility patent (I say this because his provisional patent descriptions were poorly written).