Time = Money! (or, how to best protect your technology with a low budget)
In the past, I've wrote about the importance of a provisional patent application throughout the life of a patent, and about the importance of it being as complete as possible. However, drafting a good patent application is not easy. It takes a lot of training, and it requires understanding the legal framework and the different requirements of different territories. Oh, it also takes TIME. A lot of time.
I've never seen a great provisional patent application drafted by a non-professional and non-experienced person. I did however see a hole bunch of poorly drafted provisional patent applications that caused a lot of trouble to the patent owners.
So what can you do when you simply cannot afford paying for patent attorney time to draft a full scale patent application?
There are two popular modes of operation:
The first mode, which is the one that I urge you not to take, is to find a patent attorney that is willing to make a "best effort" under a limited budget. Assuming that drafting a full patent application costs X, you can find patent attorneys that are willing to take X/4, or even less, for preparing a provisional patent application for you. However, it needs to be very clear: if you pay X/4 instead of X, the patent attorney will only spend one quarter of the time really required to draft the patent application. This will result in a poorly drafted provisional, one that you may find yourself sorry you even filed.
The second mode, which I recommend, is finding a patent attorney that can provide you with tools and guidance for drafting a good provisional patent application. Having someone tell you what you need to do, review your work as you progress, provide you with tips and comments, will be a much better utilization of a low budget. Instead of having a patent attorney spend one quarter of the time required to draft the patent application, use this attorney time to get assistance, and write the description yourself. As I've mentioned - drafting a patent application requires time. If you cannot afford patent attorney time, and assuming that you recognize the importance of patent protection - use your own time!
I certainly appreciate the fact that your time also equals money. This is not an easy solution. There is no easy solution. BUT, if you want to protect your intellectual property, you need to consider what will provide the best result? What will the investors appreciate? What will survive Due Diligence? The answer is that a patent application drafted by a patent attorney with one quarter of the required time will not.