Discover how trademark, patent, and software law can help small business, entrepreneurs, and inventors. Check my blog for questions and answers.

Does An Inventor Have to Apply In Person?

My brother has created an item of apparel that he would like to patent, however there are no patent attorneys in Augusta, GA.

I thought that I could handle it in my area (Ocean County, NJ) but I can't believe that there are no patent attorneys near me. I recently moved to this area from New York City, where every service is at your fingertips. Hard to get used to. Can you tell me how to patent without visiting an attorney's office?

No, you can not apply for a patent in person, you must apply in writing to the US Patent Office. Usually, you do this through your attorney. Your attorney will write a patent filing (patent application) and submit it on your behalf. It is not typically necessary to meet with an attorney in person. Simply call and interview your attorney by phone.

Since you mentioned clothing (apparel), it is worth mentioning that apparel may be difficult to patent. Next to cooking, clothing is one of the oldest arts known. Because so many people have invented clothing of all types before your brother, this can make it more difficult go receive a patent. Remember, something about the apparel has be be new (invented) to receive patent protection.

Also, you might want to check out the guide on "How to find a Patent Attorney." I suggest in that guide that the a patent attorney you select should understand your invention and its technology. A patent attorney that is well versed in clothing may be able to help you determine if anything about your apparel is new.

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