TERMS OF SERVICE1. Limited Scope of Representation. You are engaging Neustel Law Offices, LTD (hereinafter “NLO”) only to file your self-drafted U.S. Provisional Patent Application as-is without review. Therefore, and as examples only, EXCLUDED from the limited scope of representation are:
– technologies involving chemical, biotechnology and biology;
– search and/or review of prior art;
– determination of inventorship;
– determination of ownership;
– assessment of novelty and/or non-obviousness of the invention;
– assessment of statutory bars to patentability;
– infringement of patents owned by others;
– conversion of your provisional application to a non-provisional application;
– reviewing documents you provide that are not part of a provisional application to be filed including, but not limited to, an Application Data Sheet or Cover Sheet.
Client may retain NLO to provide all or some of the excluded services under a separate retention agreement.
2. Terms of Engagement. You are engaging NLO solely to file a self-drafted U.S. Provisional Patent Application that you are self-drafting (or have already self-drafted). The self-drafted U.S. provisional patent application will be filed in the name of the inventor(s) and not in the name of any company desiring to own the patent rights which will require a separate patent assignment agreement and separate engagement with NLO if you want NLO to prepare the patent assignment agreement. In other words, the inventor(s) will individually own the patent rights for the U.S. provisional patent application until a separate patent assignment agreement is both executed by the inventor(s) and recorded with the USPTO. You are not engaging NLO to draft your U.S. Provisional Patent Application (if you want NLO to draft your provisional patent application you need to request a fee quote in writing from NLO). This engagement is only for the filing a U.S. Provisional Patent Application self-drafted by you and is not for additional legal services such as, but not limited to, a patent search, patent assignment agreement preparation, patent assignment agreement recordation, preparation of the provisional or non-provisional patent application, infringement search or legal opinion. We do not review or use USPTO documents provided to us such as, but not limited to, an Application Data Sheet or Cover Sheet (i.e. we only consider the information you provide to us via the online form for inventorship and related information – any information provided in another document will not be reviewed or used). If you want any additional legal services, you must request the same separately in writing and a separate retainer will be required for the service prior to being retained. After completion of this filing, changes may occur in the applicable laws or regulations that could have an impact upon your future rights and liabilities. Unless you engage our office after the closing to provide additional advice on issues arising from the matter, NLO has no continuing obligation to advise you with respect to future legal developments. Unless the parties hereto make a different agreement in writing, this agreement will govern any other future services NLO may perform for Client.
3. Conditions. This contract will not take effect and NLO will have no obligation to provide services until Client confirms this agreement and pays the required retainer. Neustel Law Offices, LTD may not accept your case and may return all original documents/payments without filing your provisional patent application for various reasons at their sole discretion including, but not limited to, conflict of interest.
4. Client’s Duties.
|4.1.||Client agrees to be forthright with NLO and to cooperate with NLO at all times. Client agrees to keep NLO informed of future developments, abide by this Contract, and pay NLO’s bills on time.|
|4.2.||Client agrees to keep NLO advised of Client’s current address, telephone number and e-mail address.|
|4.3.||Client agrees to keep NLO informed of potential problems or dissatisfaction with NLO’s legal services by notifying NLO of the same in writing within thirty (30) days of identifying the potential problem or dissatisfaction so NLO may investigate and remedy the same. Client agrees to provide NLO at least thirty (30) days to attempt to investigate and remedy the potential problem.|
|4.4.||Client agrees to identify only the true inventor(s) for the application (inventor is a person who contributed to the structure/function of the invention as described in the provisional patent application and not just a party contributing financially). If an individual has been incorrectly identified as an “inventor”, Client agrees to notify NLO in writing of the incorrect identification of inventorship so NLO may make the necessary corrections.|
5. Fees & Expenses.
|5.1.||RETAINER. You agree to provide the required retainer to be utilized in the payment for services provided regarding the filing of the patent application with the U.S. Patent Office.|
|5.2.||ADDITIONAL SERVICES. The total cost for filing the U.S. Provisional Patent Application is only for filing provisional patent application with the U.S. Patent Office. This total cost does not include any subsequent services provided or USPTO fees due after the filing date of this patent application. Client understands that unless they have ordered a separate patent search that the total cost does not include a patent search. In addition, the USPTO filing fee is subject to change based upon the USPTO fee schedule. Client shall be responsible for paying any changes in the USPTO fee schedule. If NLO withdraws or is discharged from representation before completion of the filing of the U.S. Provisional Patent Application, NLO shall bill Client for services rendered based upon the hourly rate at the time of termination of the relationship and shall apply the same to any retainer and invoice the remainder.|
|5.3.||TIME FRAME. Please expect the filing of your U.S. Provisional Patent Application to take at least one business day (i.e. it could be a few days longer). IF THIS TIME FRAME IS NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR YOU, PLEASE CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY IN WRITING SO WE CAN ATTEMPT TO ADJUST THE TIMING OF YOUR APPLICATION. IF AT ANY TIME YOU FEEL THAT THE APPLICATION PREPARATION IS TAKING LONGER THAN EXPECTED, YOU AGREE TO NOTIFY US IN WRITING OF THE SAME SO WE CAN TAKE THE APPROPRIATE ACTIONS. Nothing in this Contract and nothing in NLO’s statements to Client will be construed as a promise or guarantee about the completion time for filing the self-drafted patent application. NLO makes no such promises or guarantees. NLO’s comments about the time of completion of Client’s matter are expressions of opinion only.|
|5.4.||FUTURE SERVICES REQUIRED. It should be noted that you will need to have a non-provisional patent application prepared and filed within one-year of the filing date for your U.S. Provisional Patent Application if you want to maintain your provisional applications priority date. Please ensure to contact our office at least three (3) months prior to the one-year anniversary date of your U.S. Provisional Patent Application if you want us to prepare and file a non-provisional patent application.|
|5.5.||HOURLY CONSULTATIONS. Consultations with Client and additional services provided after the date of filing the U.S. Provisional Patent Application or for matters not directly related to the preparation of the application will be billed at our hourly rate. Hourly rates for attorneys typically range between $225 – $300 per hour. Hourly rates for legal assistants, paralegals and legal interns typically are $75 – $100 per hour. Charges are in minimum amounts of two tenths (0.20) of an hour. Please visit www.neustel.com/fees.htm for an updated fee schedule for NLO’s services as our fees frequently change without notice. The fees stated in this letter may not be the most up-to-date and you should refer to our website (see above) in order to view the most up-to-date fee schedule. Billing rates may be raised periodically without notice. Client hereby agrees with any such new basic hourly rates if Client does not discharge NLO within the thirty (30) day period subsequent to receipt of the first statement reflecting any such changes in the rates being charged.|
|5.6.||INVOICES. Monthly statements are prepared and processed by our accounting department. If you have questions concerning a statement, please call me or our accounting department at 800-281-7009. We prepare our statements on the assumption that payment will be received within 30 days of receipt. To keep our costs low and in fairness to us and our clients who remit promptly, we reserve the right to decline representation to clients who do not pay within the guidelines without making mutually acceptable arrangements for delayed payments. Client agrees that we may, at our election, withdraw from any such representation.|
6. Payment. NLO shall send to Client periodic statements for fees and costs incurred that have not been paid via a retainer. If any statement is disputed by Client, Client shall notify NLO within thirty (30) days of receipt of such statement by Client. If no such notification is received by NLO in writing within said thirty (30) days, the statement shall be deemed correct. Client shall pay NLO’s statements within thirty (30) days of the mailing of each statement. All amounts delinquent for thirty (30) days or more shall, at NLO’s option, bear interest at the rate of seven percent (7.0%) per annum late fee, and Client expressly acknowledges this obligation and duty to promptly pay all statements.
7. Discharge and Withdrawal. Client may discharge NLO at any time. NLO may withdraw with Client’s consent or for good cause at anytime. Good cause shall be deemed to specifically include, but is not limited to, Client’s failure to pay statements, Client’s failure to provide a retainer in a timely manner, Client’s breach of this Contract, Client’s refusal to cooperate with NLO or to follow NLO’s advice on a material matter, Client’s being difficult to work with, or any other fact or circumstance that would render NLO’s continuing representation unlawful or unethical.
8. Conclusion of Services. When NLO’s services conclude, all unpaid charges shall become immediately due and payable. After NLO’s services conclude, NLO will, upon Client’s written request, deliver Client’s file to Client along with any Client funds or property in NLO’s possession. NLO’s services will conclude the day of filing the U.S. Provisional Patent Application.
9. Disclaimer of Promise or Guarantee. Nothing in this Contract and nothing in NLO’s statements to Client will be construed as a promise or guarantee about the outcome of Client’s matter. NLO makes no such promises or guarantees. NLO’s comments about the outcome of Client’s matter are expressions of opinion only. In addition, NLO does not make any promises, statements or guarantees regarding the potential commercial success of the invention or the potential value of any resulting patent(s) or infringement issues.
10. ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES. NLO AND CLIENT AGREE THAT ANY CLAIM OR DISPUTE BETWEEN THEM OR AGAINST ANY AGENT, EMPLOYEE, SUCCESSOR, OR ASSIGN OF THE OTHER, WHETHER RELATED TO THIS AGREEMENT OR OTHERWISE, AND ANY CLAIM OR DISPUTE RELATED TO THIS AGREEMENT OR THE RELATIONSHIP OR DUTIES CONTEMPLATED UNDER THIS AGREEMENT, INCLUDING THE VALIDITY OF THIS ARBITRATION AGREEMENT, SHALL BE RESOLVED BY BINDING ARBITRATION UNDER THE RULES OF THE AMERICAN ARBITRATION ASSOCIATION. THIS AGREEMENT SHALL BE GOVERNED BY AND INTERPRETED UNDER THE FEDERAL ARBITRATION ACT (9 U.S.C. SECTIONS 1-16). BY AGREEING TO ARBITRATION, BOTH NLO AND CLIENT GIVE UP THEIR RIGHTS TO A TRIAL BY JURY OF ALL DISPUTES ARISING FROM THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY CLAIM FOR MALPRACTICE, NEGLIGENCE, FEE DISPUTES, BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY, DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES, BREACH OF CONTRACT, OR THE LIKE. YOU SHOULD CONSIDER WHETHER ARBITRATION IS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU, AND YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH INDEPENDENT COUNSEL IF YOU BELIEVE IT APPROPRIATE TO DO SO. BY SIGNING THIS LETTER, YOU AGREE THAT THE ARBITRATOR’S DECISION SHALL BE BINDING, CONCLUSIVE AND NONAPPEALABLE. ANY AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR(S) MAY BE ENTERED AS A JUDGMENT IN ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION. IN THE EVENT A COURT HAVING JURISDICTION FINDS ANY PORTION OF THIS AGREEMENT UNENFORCEABLE, THAT PORTION SHALL NOT BE EFFECTIVE AND THE REMAINDER OF THE AGREEMENT SHALL REMAIN EFFECTIVE. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS AGREEMENT, NLO AND CLIENT ACKNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTAND, AND AGREE THAT ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES UNDER THIS AGREEMENT HAS ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES WHEN COMPARED TO SUBJECTING SUCH DISPUTES TO THE COURT PROCESS AND A JURY TRIAL, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO:
- ARBITRATION IS DONE IN PRIVATE AND MAY PROVIDE A FASTER RESOLUTION OF ANY DISPUTES THAN A COURT OF LAW;
- ARBITRATION MAY PROVIDE A LESS EXPENSIVE MEANS OF REACHING A RESOLUTION OF THE PARTIES’ DIFFERENCES;
- ARBITRATION MAY PROVIDE A MORE INFORMAL MEANS OF RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES;
- ARBITRATION MAY ALLOW LESS DISCOVERY THAN THAT ALLOWED IN A LAWSUIT AND THE ARBITRATOR MAY BE UNABLE TO REQUIRE THIRD PARTIES TO PARTICIPATE IN AN ARBITRATION OR TO PROVIDE DOCUMENTS OR WITNESSES;
- ARBITRATION WAIVES THE RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL;
- ARBITRATION IS BINDING AND APPEALS ARE LIMITED;
- ARBITRATION WILL BE DECIDED BY AN INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATOR OR A PANEL OF ARBITRATORS; AND
- ARBITRATION MAY REQUIRE NLO OR CLIENT TO PAY THE FEES/COSTS OF ARBITRATION.
12. Conflicts of Interest. Recognizing and addressing conflicts of interest is a continuing issue for attorneys and clients. We have implemented policies and procedures to identify actual and potential conflicts at the outset of each engagement. From time to time we may be asked to represent someone whose interests may differ from the interests of Client. We are accepting this engagement with Client’s understanding and express consent that our representation of Client will not preclude us from accepting an engagement from a new or existing client, including litigation or other matters that may involve Client. However, we will not accept an engagement that is directly adverse to the Client if either: (1) it would be substantially related to the subject matter of our representation of the Client; or (2) would impair the confidentiality of proprietary, sensitive or otherwise confidential communications made to us by the Client. That is, the Client is our sole client with respect to this engagement. Individuals that are affiliated with the Client, such as officers, directors or employees, are not clients of NLO, unless we otherwise agree in writing.
Please acknowledge your understanding and agreement regarding the terms of our engagement by checking the appropriate box.