The Knowledge Gap: How does it develop?
Minneapolis patent attorney Steve Lundberg, founding shareholder of Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner explains how a knowledge gap can develope between patent lawyers and their clients.
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Any time you’re developing a patent portfolio, you typically end up with some pretty serious knowledge gaps between the patent attorneys on the one hand and the product development people or the marketing people on the other hand. And how does that occur? Well, initially when a patent attorney gets an invention to file on, usually they’ve got fairly good information about the technology. They should have a complete description of the invention, and they usually have a pretty decent idea of why this invention’s important to the company. So, at that point in time, at least the patent attorney should be in possession of a substantial amount – you know, a decent amount of knowledge in order for them to get their job done: to draft the patent, to address the market that the patent’s going to apply to.
What happens, though, is that the – on the flip side of that is not necessarily true – the engineering people understand the engineering well, they understand the market well, but don’t really understand the patent law process that well. So, typically, between the two parties together, one party may have the full picture and the other party doesn’t have as good a picture: the engineering people. And that can hurt you, because they may be – they may think that the patent attorney is getting protection for them that they can’t possibly get for them or they may be failing to tell the patent attorneys certain critical things that they just don’t understand are important. So that knowledge gap at the beginning typically isn’t as bad.