Healthy Relationships Between Clients and IP Practitioners

Between a client and his agent, things can go wrong very quickly.  Here are some common reasons.

  1. Money.  The cost of some activity is not clear to the client, or they think that once an application is filed, that issuance is just a matter of time, and not a matter of time AND money.  On the practitioner’s side, if a client does not have money, you are not going to get paid.
  2. Information.  Every client has a different level of sophistication.  Some are overwhelmed easily, and I find that with those, giving a time frame and full cost beginning to end is best.   Knowledgeable, clients are merely worried about getting a good deal.  Regardless of the type of client, the practitioner should be careful to have a written record of what was disclosed to the client in terms of risks and costs.  It is a good idea to confirm all instructions in writing.
  3. Bandwidth.  Practitioners must be aware that some clients need a lot of help with the patenting or trademarking process.   Clients need to be aware that all practitioners need to  bill their time, and cannot live off  last year’s filing.   If you want your agent /attorney to have bandwidth for you on a daily basis, you must be prepared to pay something for it.
  4. Endings.  Know when to say good-bye.  Circumstances change.  Be prepared to lose clients who think they have found greener fields somewhere else (as if that could possibly be true!).  Try to be grateful when a difficult client leaves you.  It’s hard, I know.  Clients, some practitioners may not be able to give you the intensive service you once had from them when they were starting out and filing your application because of a larger workload, or even personal matters.  Do not take it personally;  find a new practitioner and move on.

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