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zomie
12-15-2012, 10:19 PM
I am looking for a legal firm that is in the bay area with experience in firearms and intellectual property. Does anyone have any suggestions? Ideally a group friendly to an individual client ...

zomie
01-20-2013, 1:29 AM
Ttt

jdberger
01-20-2013, 1:31 AM
Lots of folks who do IP.

Wilson Sonsini is a possible.

Send me a PM and we can explore some options.

glbtrottr
01-20-2013, 9:36 AM
The best attorney for you would be Michael Kimball. He's pure IP and formerly Counsel at yahoo and a number of others.

Tell him I referred you - Mooney Pilot- he will know exactly.

SamsDX
01-20-2013, 10:22 AM
Since it sounds like you'll be starting a firearms-related business, I'm guessing you'll need counsel for the regulatory compliance issues and so forth? Getting that squared away would be just as important as securing your IP, and the various firearms business-specific attorneys out there would likely have good referrals for you.

Being in the business of legal services for a while now, I've come to a conclusion that there's a right kind of attorney for every job, and not everyone is suitable for every legal issue, even within the subfield of IP. There are the large national firms like the Wilson Sonsinis, Orricks, or what have you that have IP practices, but they tend to be on the expensive side, and would be more suitable for "bet the company" type litigation with exposure up to tens and hundreds of million dollars. With billing rates easily in the $400~$600 range, they may be overkill for what you're looking for.

There are also large, high-end, multi-office IP-only firms like Fish and Richardson, Knobbe Martens, and Blakely Sokoloff. Their cost structure used to be along the same lines as the big general practice firms, but I've noticed that they are starting to come down to compete with the next category of firms.

Next are the smaller IP boutiques who would probably fit your needs exactly, because while most of them have a client base comprised of small to medium sized companies, they regularly handle the startups and individual business concerns. Their cost structure is not as high as the high-end IP firms, but not as low as the solo or two to three person shops.

And speaking of the solo IP practitioners, there are plenty of good ones out there, so I wouldn't necessarily discount their value out of hand. Many used to work for the bigger firms, and wanted to get out of the grind of those places. It doesn't mean they're any less skilled or any less capable as the attorneys who do the same exact work just in a different setting.

I wouldn't get too hung up on finding an attorney who's intimately familiar with firearms technology, however. So long as they have a good foundation in mechanical engineering and patent law, they'll be able to pick up the firearms-specific terminology and the concepts with a bit of education on your part. Speaking of which, if you are thinking about filing patent applications, the attorney will have to be a registered practitioner with the USPTO (separate bar exam and registration apart from the California Bar) to be able to do so.

I wish I could give you specific referrals to firms in the Bay Area, but my knowledge of the kind of firms that are well-suited for you only extends to Southern California. Working remotely is possible, but I speak from experience that nothing beats an in-person meeting for invention disclosures, and an attorney who is readily available in your vicinity.

zomie
01-21-2013, 11:09 PM
Sam, I tend to agree to the idea of general council.

I have several patents through companies I have worked for and I know the process and sadly the price tag :(

I basically am looking for control/protection over an idea long enough to shop it around to see if the concept is valid. If there is enough interest I will probably look into further legal help per your suggestion. I expect I will also have to move if I hope to do any kind of manufacturing.

There are a few IP firms I know in the area that would help. The only reason i was figuring someone who has worked in firearm related endeavors was their comfort with the subject matter. I see your point though about anyone with a strong mechanical engineering background. I just didn't want any complications on the subject matter.

I agree in person is best and has always been the best in my prior experience.


jdberger, I pm'ed ya.

glbtrottr, Hmm interesting we probably know a bunch of the same folks :) I worked for a number of years over at Yahoo! and have a few patents through the Yahoo! patent group.

Mitch
01-22-2013, 7:41 AM
Ben Langlotz, firearms patent and trademark attorney:


LANGLOTZ PATENT & TRADEMARK WORKS, INC.
Bennet K. Langlotz, Patent and Trademark Attorney
tel, fax 888 852 4246 (Pacific Time Zone)
bennet at langlotz.com

Not in the Bay Area, but you can do a lot over the phone and via e-mail.

glbtrottr
01-22-2013, 8:45 AM
glbtrottr, Hmm interesting we probably know a bunch of the same folks :) I worked for a number of years over at Yahoo! and have a few patents through the Yahoo! patent group.

Mike is a squid...(I won't hold it against him) and a pilot. He really enjoys his private practice.

The Mooney he flies is technically complex for an airplane. :)

luvtolean
01-22-2013, 8:51 AM
There are a few IP firms I know in the area that would help. The only reason i was figuring someone who has worked in firearm related endeavors was their comfort with the subject matter. I see your point though about anyone with a strong mechanical engineering background. I just didn't want any complications on the subject matter.

If you could find "that guy", I'd expect a better job on prior art, at least in less hours billed. Not to mention when drafting claims, he might have a better idea of what's important.

Good luck with your endeavor!

zomie
01-22-2013, 12:18 PM
Ben Langlotz, firearms patent and trademark attorney:


LANGLOTZ PATENT & TRADEMARK WORKS, INC.
Bennet K. Langlotz, Patent and Trademark Attorney
tel, fax 888 852 4246 (Pacific Time Zone)
bennet at langlotz.com

Not in the Bay Area, but you can do a lot over the phone and via e-mail.

This does look promising:
http://www.smallentity.com/patent-attorney-directory/by-firm/Langlotz-Patent---and---Trademark-Works,-Inc.

I could do a trip to Reno I guess. The rest usually can be done over the phone.

Thank you for the recommendations! If anyone else has one please let me know I am hoping to get in contact with someone in the next few weeks.

TransplantTexan
01-22-2013, 9:21 PM
pm sent

SamsDX
01-23-2013, 9:13 AM
Thank you for the recommendations! If anyone else has one please let me know I am hoping to get in contact with someone in the next few weeks.

It looks like that Langlotz firm has some pretty big clients - in the random links that I clicked, I see he's represented Sig Sauer, John Noveske (on his Flaming Pig flash hider), and Dillon Aero (for their machine gun) among many others. I've seen his advertisements in Small Arms Review, too.

Depending on how much more research time you're willing to put into it, I would also suggest an assignee search on the PTO site or Freepatentsonline.com (use the modifier /an) for your anticipated market peers (whether you're thinking about becoming the next Smith & Wesson, the next AAC, the next BattleComp, the next Battle Arms Development, etc.), and see who they hired to prepare their application.

Being represented by a patent attorney with extensive firearms knowledge is certainly an advantage, but I'm not sure if you'll save that much more money. Most prior art searches are outsourced to other firms anyway, and I'd be somewhat wary of a patent attorney who does their own search. For one, not that there is an actual conflict of interest in the legal ethics sense, and not to accuse anyone who does of not being honest, but it's easy to gloss over prior art (and get accused of doing so) when doing a very thorough search for $X amount and finding dead-on prior art means that you're foregoing $X * 5, 6 or more in income for preparing and filing the patent application. Also, with patent searchers not needing to be PTO registered, they tend to be a lot cheaper; cheaper, anyway, than a PTO registered, State-barred patent attorney.

The point on better claims is well taken, however, because with a broader knowledge of the state of the art, they will be able to push the boundaries with the language in claiming certain features, while knowing when to back off with others. That wisdom and experience can't be quantified, but this factor, above anything monetary, would be the reason why you may want to put in the extra effort to find someone with gun experience.

Aside from the Langlotz firm you're planning on contacting, the existing attorneys with whom you've already worked before and have a good relationship would be a good place to start. You might be surprised with how many have experience with firearms, and would jump at the opportunity to serve you, even though their primary technical expertise might be something else (like Internet technologies, for example). If they themselves do not, they're bound to know colleagues who do. Just make the specific request that you need one with firearms knowledge, and I'm sure they'll try to help you out.

Good luck!