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Common Mistakes in Patenting: Paying the Wrong Price

Common Mistakes in Patenting: Paying the Wrong Price

People say, “You get what you pay for.”  The implication is that if you pay too little, you will get an inferior product or service.  Experience suggests you get less than you pay for in some cases. Who has not paid too much for a restaurant meal, a hotel room or an article of clothing?

The same considerations apply in preparation and filing of a patent application. The price by itself is not an indicator of quality. In other words, the cheapest is not necessarily the best and the most expensive is not necessarily the best.

As in any other purchase, look for obvious high overhead costs that can drive up the price. A large office in a posh building on a desirable street costs money. If you buy services from such an office, part of the price of service is paying for the office itself. The same is true of the number of employees. Every employee is paid. If you meet three secretaries and a receptionist on your first visit to an office, part of the price of service is paying for the support staff. Evaluate your financial circumstances to see if you feel comfortable spending part of your IP budget on the “prestige” of a large office.

On the other hand, if you get a price quote that seems very low, you should also be wary. Even if the quote is a flat fee, there is always an estimated number of work hours behind it. A professional that quotes you an unusually low price may be offering to do an unusually small amount of work.

Somewhere in the middle is a price that reflects a reasonable amount of work by a skilled professional working in an organization with modest overhead costs.

Identifying a skilled professional involves trusting your instincts to a certain degree. Did the person seem conversant with the technology at your initial meeting? Did they ask appropriate questions about what is new and what is standard? Did they take an interest in, and understand, your business model?  Did they raise the subject of future product development? Finally, is the person you met with the person that will actually be doing the work?

Using this approach, you can find a service provider that will translate most of the money you pay for their service into quality work product.


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