Patent Attorney Confidentiality
In my post entitled “Risks of Disclosing Your Invention Prior to a Patent Filing”, I discuss a number of risks associated with the pre-filing disclosure of an invention.
I did not address, however, pre-filing discussions with a patent attorney and would like to discuss that now. This is often an area of concern among inventors.
It is natural for inventors to be concerned about the confidentiality of their inventions.
It is important that I point out that revealing your invention to your patent attorney is not considered public disclosure of your invention and will not trigger the one-year bar date or other statutory deadlines associated with your filing.” Registered Patent Attorneys are licensed to practice before the United States Patent & Trademark Office and are legally bound by Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Section 10.57) to maintain the confidentiality of a client’s invention. If you have concerns about confidentiality, you may call the United States Patent Office of Enrollment and Discipline at (571) 272-6081.
It is important, however, to verify that the attorney you are dealing with is a Registered Patent Attorney licensed before the PTO. Ask the attorney for their PTO Registration Number (and verify it is sill valid). This can be done by visiting the online United States Patent & Trademark Office Roster of Registered Attorneys.
Although not required, you may also have your attorney sign a Non-disclosure agreement contractually obligating him to maintain all information provided in the strictest of confidence. I provide an executed Confidentiality/Non-disclosure Agreement as a matter of course at the initial consultation and find it provides much needed peace of mind to my clients and facilitates open and candid attorney-client communications.