Unsolicited Offers of Services
Clients sometimes inform us that they have received an unsolicited letter, telephone call or e-mail purporting to offer professional services.
In most cases the contact details have been obtained from recently published documents such as patent specifications, trade marks or designs.
Clients should be very wary of such offers, particularly if they originate from overseas where the profession might not be tightly regulated.
Claims to provide cheaper services are not always what they might seem. Although the initial costs might be low they are often simply "a sprat to catch a mackerel".
We have seen quotes for filing overseas applications which on the face of it appear to be very low but this is not the full picture. Often initial costs have been reduced by negotiating heavily discounted fees with local agents, and the work is probably done by filing clerks without even being looked at by a qualified patent attorney.
Frequently there is no mention of further examination costs. If a qualified attorney eventually looks at the file the fees are probably going to be more in the long run because the attorney has to look at the case without any prior knowledge or guidance.
It is highly desirable that work in different countries should be coordinated, and the person who was responsible for preparing the application in the first place might possess valuable knowledge which is not apparent from reading the documents. Only he or she will know why a particular phrase was used, and this might be critical in determining whether or not the resulting protection is valid.
It takes a long time to build up relationships with overseas attorneys who can be relied on to do the work well. We value the service which we get from our overseas contacts, and we know that they can be trusted to flag up any potential problems at the filing stage. We also work with them closely during the examination stages, and we can be confident that their charges are not going to be unreasonable.
At the end of the day clients are free to use whatever professional organization best suits their needs, but in the world of IP (and in life generally for that matter) it is often false economy to try and do things on the cheap.
© Craske & Co., 2008
Last updated: 27 December 2010