If you choose to hire a patent practitioner, they will help you throughout the complex patent process. You may even consider granting them power of attorney over your patent application. This means they will be responsible for acting as a liaison between you and the USPTO in regards to your patent. In these instances, all the correspondence received from the USPTO will be handled through your patent practitioner. They will need to file all responses to Office actions, send in fees, etc…

Therefore, it’s imperative your patent practitioner keep in touch with you and let you know how the patent prosecution process is going. It is best if they are willing to send you copies of the correspondence they receive so you know exactly where you stand. The examination of a patent may take years, so a good practitioner will form a solid bond with you and follow through with all the paperwork, keeping you posted on any news.

This makes a patent practitioner’s job twofold. First, they must file a well written application, complete with all the required paperwork, and novel, descriptive claims resulting in the broadest patent protection possible (that way, it will be less likely for a competitor to infringe on your invention). Second, they must act as the liaison between you and the USPTO throughout the long and tedious patent prosecution process.

This second part is very important. If even one deadline is missed, your application will be abandoned. That means all the time and money you have spent up until then was for nothing. In addition, the profit potential for your invention can dwindle to nothing if you lose out on the patent.

The lesson is that if you choose to use a practitioner, you need to stay in touch with him or her and make sure they are doing their job. Do not just leave it all up to them – your invention is far too important. Even if you have a practitioner handle the correspondence, make sure you contact them frequently and let them know if you move – they may need to ask you questions, or they may need more money for fees that come up during the process.