You are a start-up or small company. You are growing in size and growing in Intellectual Property (IP) legal work, but your company still does not have the funds to hire an in-house IP attorney. While your company may currently staff a few in-house corporate attorneys, their expertise is generally confined to non-IP areas of law. Consequently, they do not have the requisite experience to advise on IP strategy, nor the credentials to draft and prosecute patent applications before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Although your company may have an in-house IP attorney, your company may still need temporary help from an outside law firm if your in-house IP attorney is on a leave of absence (e.g., maternity or paternity leave). This could also happen if your in-house IP attorney takes a detour in his or her career path. For example, if your in-house IP attorney wants to try a new role at a different business unit within your company, that creates a temporary open position to be filled in while your in-house attorney is trying the new role. In some instances, as the business in your company is growing, your in-house IP attorney may be overwhelmed and needs help to handle overflow work. In some other instances, during an inevitable economic crisis, your company may experience a hiring pause that prevents the company from considering an additional headcount. In some other further instances, your in-house IP attorney has left the position and this also creates a temporary position to be filled in while your company finds the right replacement. Therefore, you will need to hire an outside law firm to develop your company’s patent portfolio and to solve your company’s need for temporary help with minimal need for training and financial investment.