Can I prepare and file my own patent/trademark/copyright?

The real question is not can you, but should you?

Having an intellectual property (IP) attorney prepare a patent/trademark/copyright application can be a large financial investment. The US patent and trademark office allows inventors to file their own applications without an IP attorney. So, should you save your start-up or small business some money and file the application yourself?

A patent attorney for small businesses and start-ups.

Devin Miller (IP Attorney)

Electrical Engineer


Small business owner

Patents, trademarks, and copyrights may become a sizeable investment for a start-up or small business. The question is often asked, "I am a smart person, I understand my business better than an attorney, can't I do this myself?" If you ask an attorney, you will get a biased that you need an attorney. After all they went to school for years to earn a degree to practice law. Plus, now they have large student loans to repay. But, just because the answer is biased does not make it wrong. To determine whether you not you need an attorney, you need to consider why you want a patent, trademark, or copyright.

Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are an investment.
Patent pending status.


Sometime businesses just want to be able to mark their product as patent/trademark/copyright pending to try and scare off competitors. If this is the case for you, you many consider preparing and filing your own patent/trademark/copyright. Although you patent/trademark/copyright application will not likely result in an actual patent/trademark/copyright, it gives you a period of time to show you have something pending to try and scare of the competition.

Long-Term Investment

If you are looking to use patent/trademark/copyright as an asset of you company that you invest in, then you should highly consider using an intellectual property attorney to help you prepare and file your patent/trademark/copyright application. It isn't that you are not smart enough to understand your own business or your invention, the issue is that there are a lot of nuances to patent/trademark/copyright.  

Intellectual property is a long term investment.

When preparing a patent/trademark/copyright application, your intellectual property attorney considers how to get you the best coverage to protect your business or invention. How would someone design around your invention? How do can I best prepare to argue that this business or invention is different than what is already out on the market place? What recent court cases might affect this patent/trademark/copyright? These are just a few of the many questions an attorney considers in preparing your application.

Experience matters of patent applications.

Experience Matters

Any good intellectual property attorney can pick up an application and with just a few second determine whether it was prepared by an attorney or not. Why? Because, there is a difference in the quality of the application. Note, I said quality, not content. An inventor or small business owner may generate great content, but the quality of the application includes how things are described, the style of the application, and whether there are legal mistakes made.

The choice is yours. As an attorney, I freely admit my answer may be biased, but the biased comes from seeing the pitfall that start-ups and small business face going it alone. Good intellectual property attorneys are there to create value for your business, because they want to grow right along side of your business as they help you along the way. So should you go it alone or seek an intellectual property attorney to help you? It all goes back to what you want your patent/trademark/copyright for.

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