How to prepare for an initial meeting with a patent agent or a patent attorney?

The initial meeting with a patent agent or a patent attorney is very important because in some cases the initial meeting is free.  This means that inventors should take full advantage of this free offer to “squeeze” as much information out of this free meeting as is possible.   The initial meeting also allows the patent agent or patent attorney to determine the patent fees they would charge for your invention.

The Following are very simple steps that you can take to prepare for that initial meeting with a patent agent or a patent attorney.

1. Prepare drawings, pictures, or a prototype:

The best way for a patent agent or a patent attorney to understand your invention is to actually see it.

For example, say you are the first individual who invented the bicycle.  That is, no one else knows what a bicycle looks like.  Also, assume that you have no money to build a prototype and therefore, cannot take pictures of it.  Your invention is only in your mind.  In other words, all you have is your idea (the mental image of a bicycle in your mind), a pencil, and a paper.

In that case, all you need to do is to simply draw your idea, which in this case is a bicycle.  You do not have to draw anything fancy.  For example, simply draw a frame, two circles that represent wheels, two lines that represent pedals, a thick line that represents the bike chain, etc. on a regular piece of paper.  Make sure to sign and date it.

2. Write one paragraph about your invention


Write a simple paragraph (no more than 5 or so sentences) about the drawing, picture, or prototype of your invention.

Using the above bicycle example, you could write:

My invention is a man powered transportation machine that I call bicycle.

The bicycle has a frame with two wheels (back and front) connected to the frame.  It has a set of pedals connected to a chain, which, in turn, is connected to the back wheel.  When the pedals are rotated, the chain connected to the pedals moves, which moves the back wheel, which, in turn, moves the entire bicycle.  Make sure you sign and date your writings.

3. Patent Search your idea


Search patent databases such as or using keywords used in the paragraph you wrote about your invention.

For example, using, enter the key words you wrote in your short paragraph about your invention, the bicycle as follows:

wheels, frame, pedals

4. Review and print patent search results


Review the search results from your patent search, and print the patents that are most similar to your idea.

5. Organize


Create a folder and store your drawings, your short paragraph, and your search results and take them to the initial meeting with your patent agent or patent attorney.

By Peter Ganjian, BSEE

(Former United States Patent Examiner with the United States Patent and Trademark Office)

A Southern California Registered Patent Agent with Patent Law Agency, LLC Serving the communities of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, and Arcadia.