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QUESTION: I have met with Inventhelp regarding an idea, and paid $1000 for a patent search and a “blueprint” of my idea. I was told that I could file for a design patent. I spoke with an attorney who didn’t really know too much about patents and he quoted me $5k-10k. Is that the norm? Can I trust that by using a service like legal zoom, all of my paperwork will be in order?

ANSWER: You can file a patent application with or without an attorney. However, there would be advantages of using an attorney. A big advantage is that you do not need to learn all of the many patent office rules for preparing/filing an application. Having an attorney prepare/file your application will very likely reduce the number and extent of the problems you might create by doing it yourself. And the problems you create might not be “fixable.”