A patent disclosure interview is when a patent agent/attorney has an interview with the inventor about their invention. These can take an hour or two, and it is the best way for the attorney to begin to understand the invention. It is also the best way for the attorney and client to get to know each other.
A good patent agent/attorney can add a huge amount of value during a patent disclosure interview.
A good disclosure interview is an opportunity to shape the invention into something that makes sense for the business as well as sets the proper expectations for the inventors. A good disclosure meeting is also brutally exhausting if done well.
There are patent attorneys who will do a disclosure meeting and pass their notes off to an associate to write a patent application. This is usually done so that the associate who does not contact the client. Typically, the partner wants to protect the client from being ‘stolen’ by the associate or some other trivial reason. This is an asinine practice and a huge disservice to the client.
From personal experience, it is critical that I completely understand the invention for me to write a good patent application. I cannot craft claims that are broad and can be properly allowed if I can’t explore the invention with the inventors. I can’t meet the company’s business goals if I don’t have clear direction from the business managers. Anything less, and I am shooting in the dark.
One of the most tangible ways the patent agent/attorney adds value is helping the inventors fully flesh out the scope and applicability of their invention. This is done by alternatively looking at the breadth and narrowness of their invention, as well as to understand the invention in different business contexts.
The patent disclosure interview is by far and away the most fun of the entire patent drafting process. Throughout the invention disclosure meeting, I attempt to capture the essence of the invention, but also explore how broad or narrow the invention can be applied.
When you go through the patent disclosure interview with your attorney, you should be led through a series of questions that uncover as many aspects of your invention. But also, the attorney or agent should spend a fair amount of time understanding your business, your competitors, and ultimately your business goals for the asset you are creating.
If that is not happening, or not happening as well as you would like, talk to your attorney. It may be time to find another attorney before you spend money on a bad asset.