29 thoughts on “LegalZoom Query

  1. An app prepared by LegalZoom is submitted under the inventor’s name, so you’ll never know whether LegalZoom prepared it…until the inventor hires you to fix it. Under Section 10 ethical duties, 37 CFR §10.46 and 37 CRF §10.21, registered practitioners have an obligation to report unauthorized practice of law and to assist in maintaining the integrity and competence of the legal profession. So, I have.

    The PTO is investigating, but since the LegalZoom attorneys weren’t registered, the USPTO has no real jurisdiction over them. so, my understanding is that we’re waiting for an inventor to be damaged enough to file a suit against LegalZoom.

    My prediction: an inventor will lose a patent enforcement suit because the patent will be invalidated over prior art when the provisional it was based on is found not to have met 112. Then, inventor will sue LegalZoom and THEN things will change.

    BTW – LegalZoom had $156 million in revenue last year and in May 2012 filed to go public but has delayed it due to market conditions.

  2. “Specifically, in the software industry, progress is highly sequential: progress is typically made through a large number of small steps, each building on the previous ones.”

    This guy has a Nobel Prize? Did get it out of a gumball machine?

  3. I’ve had limited exposure to LegalZoom, but they appear to provide a “fill-in-the-blanks” format for gathering info, then perhaps develop “claims” based on the resulting text. Perhaps a cruder form of some of the “patent-writing” programs. They do pass on some proposed utility apps to attorneys, including members and contract attorneys associated with the SHIMOKAGI law firm of Southern Calif. This firm also advertises for “virtual” attorneys to work from remote locations. They probably have other contract attorneys availabel. These arrangments do pose some interesting ethical questions.

  4. I recently saw a LinkedIn job posting for IP Counsel – the company must have some lawyers on staff – located in Irvine, CA

  5. That’s not exactly true. Legalzoom also has the option of having an application prepared and filed by a patent attorney based on the invention disclosure supplied by the inventor, but of course the patent attorney is not named as the Attorney/Agent.

  6. Would an appropriate nexus of determining “involved” be those who have a duty of candor? Even if they are just “filling out forms,” are they not involved enough to invoke that duty?

  7. look for:
    “1) I claim an apparatus, method and trademark for the ashtray according to the attached photograph.

    2) The apparatus, method and trademark for the ashtray according to the attached photograph, wherein it is one of the colors of the rainbow.

    3) The apparatus, method and trademark for the ashtray according to the attached photograph, wherein it has a unicorn picture on it.”

  8. Calm down Obama. Private property rights have been a boon to this country. China has no private rights. Go try out that system.. THERE. Not here.

  9. They prepare an application and forms through an interview type process. Just like their other forms.

    YOU then file pro se. no attorney involved.

  10. US patent 7,861,705 does not list an attorney of record, but was filed at the same time as a design patent for the same inventor that lists legal zoom as the attorney of record. A reasonable guess is that this patent was handled Legal Zoom. Also, patent 7,823,758 based on an acknowledgement the provisional was filed by Legalzoom. I do not see similar boiler plate between them that would suggest the two inventors were working from the same template.

  11. How does Legal Zoom list themselves as attorneys of record? They are not a law firm. According to PTO records, not a single patent attorney lists them as an employer. Can you imagine a private company filing a complaint in Federal Court for another company and listing itself as attorney of record. The judge would be running to the books to see how hard it could slap the company down. Where is the PTO OED?

  12. Hmm,

    Substantive points made on other threads remain unanswered by MM because he feels the need to “contribute” such worthwhile gems to an adult conversation as this one…

    Dead prisoners.

  13. patents are worthless anyways – so what is the point? patent lawyers and their clients are so delusional. patents are the kiss of death for any developing technology. patent lawyers are worse than used car salesman – at least with a used car salesman you get something useful, a car.

  14. Can anyone point out a few patents/published apps for legal zoom handled apps? Perhaps there is some common language or phrasing that would distinguish, even if drafters are independent contractors.

  15. As for provisionals, folks a legal zoom require the inventor to write the entire disclosure. A patent attorney supposedly looks it over and then it is filed. I have only seen a couple that I converted over the last couple of years and they were all disasters. One inventor was pretty pissed off when I told them that Legal Zoom basically got paid to fill out the SB16 for them…

  16. A couple questions for the legal community of patent practitioners relating to Legal Zoom. How does this organization pass muster with ethics requirements? Legal Zoom is not a law firm. If they pass the work on to a patent attorney, then that patent attorney is either (1) paying for referrals from a non-attorney which is prohibited by many/most state bars, or (2) they are fee splitting with a non-attorney which is again prohibited by many/most state bars. Any thoughts?

  17. My guess: You can tell the difference when they submit their response to the first office action, and it has brain matter on it from where the poor inventor’s head spontaneously exploded.

  18. Check out that application to an “Idea, Submission, Ranking And Incubating System And Method”.

    It’s a method of ranking ideas and coming up with methods of monetizing the best one …. USING A POWERFUL COMPUTER BRAIN!!!!!!

    So awesome.

  19. If they’re pro se and worthless, but pass the filing requirements…. they’re legal zoom.

    I respect what they do with form contracts and such, but patents, by their nature, are one off. They’re hurting more than helping. They’re not Inventhelp, but they’re not far away.

  20. The ones that I have seen all looked pro se prepared and filed. I am not sure that they will have a finger print.

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