Dear Mr. Crouch:
I am a solo physician and inventor. I am wondering if you can point me in the generally right direction to resolve this issue.
I went to a large, well-respected, nationally-known firm to file a patent application for an invention. The invention is not that complicated. It’s mechanical rather than electrical or chemical; in fact, I can make prototypes in my kitchen fairly quickly. The invention mostly relies on a new combination of existing devices/technology.
My attorney knew from the start that I am a solo inventor and under a tight budget. The final fees were astronomical. I paid them at the time because the lawyer had obviously worked hard and I had agreed to pay the hourly rate she had quoted. However, I recently discovered that the application is much, much longer than patents of similar complexity, and the fees I paid are much higher than for similar patents.
To give you a comparison, based on a word count, my patent application was literally twice as long as Dean Kamen’s patent for an early Segway device in 1994. My fees were three times as high as another firm (Cooley Godward) says to expect for fees for most routine patents (other than for complex patents such as biologics, pharmaceuticals, etc.).
My current plan is to go back to this attorney and have a frank discussion with her, and to ask for a partial refund. If she refuses, I plan to go to the state bar and file a complaint.
Is this the right way to go about this? Are there any precedents for recovering fees in this sort of situation in a way that won’t tie me up in further legal fees?
____ ____ M.D. (anonymized at the author’s request)