Information for individual inventors

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Oppedahl Patent Law Firm LLC does not encourage inquiries by individual inventors. Of the many individual inventors that our attorneys have served over the years, only a handful have ever made enough money from their inventions even to cover what we charged them. This does not mean the inventions were not good ones --- indeed we have seen some very clever and promising inventions from individual inventor clients, and we have obtained some patents for individual inventors of which we are very proud from a professional point of view. There is much in life, however, that depends on luck and being in the right place at the right time, with inventions as with anything else. For every deserving invention that makes money for its inventor, there are probably ninety-nine other very deserving inventions that happen not to fulfill their promise.

When we do accept work from a new client, we ask to be paid in advance. We put the money into an escrow account, to be applied toward later bills due. If the work we are asked to do does not use up the advance, we refund the balance. If the work we are asked to do goes beyond the amount of the advance, we expect to be paid for that additional work. Depending on the type of work and the technological area, the amount of the advance which we ask for may be anywhere from a thousand dollars to over ten thousand dollars.

Quite often, before we accept money from potential client who is an individual inventor, we ask to see a business plan in which the potential client makes clear that he or she has thought things through -- where the money for the business will come from, how the money will be spent, and so on. If we have not seen a business plan we are particularly hesitant to accept money from the potential client.

We generally do not do work on the basis of being paid out of the potential future profits from an invention. We generally do not do work for shares of stock in a business. We do our work for cash, generally paid in advance.

Looking around for the lowest bidder. Some inquiries from potential clients are inquiries intended to find the lowest bidder for a task. There are many repeat clients of our firm who find that our work ends up costing less than that of other patent firms, and who tell us they feel we do better work. But there is always someone who will quote a lower price than whatever fixed fee our firm would quote. If you are looking for a "low bidder", please go elsewhere.

Wasting our time. Each inquiry from a potential client costs us many hundreds of dollars in lost time on the part of every lawyer in the firm. Sometimes the value of our lost time due to an inquiry from a potential client will amount to thousands of dollars. This lost time is spent on conflict checking and is spent in communications with the potential client.

What should you do next?

Keep in mind that reading this page, or buying these books, does not make you a client of our firm. If, despite what we have said here, you nonetheless wish to explore whether our firm can accept you as a client, you may contact us. We emphasize that in such a contact you must not reveal anything to us of a confidential nature. We could then do a conflict check to see whether we are aware of any conflict that would prevent us from accepting you as a client. Please do not, however, waste your time and ours with such an inquiry if you are not prepared to pay for the work and indeed to advance funds to us to pay for such work.