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October 20, 2022
John Rizvi, Esq.

Can I Hire a Flat Rate Patent Attorney to File an Application or Do All Patent Lawyers Bill Hourly?

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Can you explain your flat rate service? I’ve seen a flat rate on your website, and we'd like to understand what that means.

Yeah. So, you know, when I was at the big fancy law firm in New York City, I mean, our clients were Exxon, and Motorola, and huge multinational corporations. And for those guys, having an hourly fee was fine. As an attorney, we would track our time, and we'd submit an invoice at the end of a project. And they would, they would pay that invoice. But individual inventors and small startups—like this is crazy. It would be like if you have somebody that if you want a swimming pool in your backyard, no other field bills the way lawyers bill—if your swimming pool contractor said that he would build you the swimming pool but you pay for materials, and then you pay $250 an hour, or $100 an hour, or whatever it is, you couldn't go forward. Like you have no idea how many hours it's going to take. If he builds pools for a living, he should know how many hours it takes. He should estimate and give you a fixed amount. And that's what pool contractors do. Now a lawyer that has been practicing as a patent lawyer for years—so I've been practicing, I've been in patent law for over 25 years—I don't need to charge hourly, because I look at the search results; I look at the complexity of the idea; I look at how many drawings I need, and then based on that, I provide a flat rate. And then there's no surprises. There is no uncertainty about what the patent is going to cost. It's all there in one fixed amount. So that's what I think—that's a better way for individual inventors and small businesses, entrepreneurs. That's the way to hire a patent attorney. I would not recommend going with someone, like most lawyers do, that charge an hourly rate, and then simply getting invoice after invoice for time that's been put in.

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