Meet registered patent attorney Jake Ward and his staff at Ward Law Office LLC. Jake works alongside his wife and Business Manager, Kristi; Office Manager, Jenn; and Associate Attorney, AJ, in their office on the second floor of the Laird Arcade building, in downtown Tiffin. The patent and trademark law firm opened their doors this January, although Jake has been practicing patent law for over 12 years.
Quite simply, “We help inventors. That’s our job,” Jake explains. They have opened over fifty new cases, with more than ten new clients, since January. The firm represents independent inventors and businesses locally, and across the United States. Local companies include Cooper Tire, Ballreich’s, Ralph’s Joy of Living, and Creative Plastic Concepts. The firm also helps many foreign companies, in countries such as the UK, Brazil, China, Israel, and Canada.
Usually, patent attorneys congregate in large cities, and you pay a premium. Locating his office in Tiffin has allowed Jake to keep his rates more affordable to entrepreneurs and small businesses. “I’ve been in the Laird a few years; it’s a great space,” Jake said. “I like the energy here, and it’s fun to be a part of it.”
Jake said that at any given time there are about 500,000 patent applications pending in the United States. With only roughly 40,000 practicing registered patent attorneys and nearly 10,000 patent examiners, the process can be lengthy.
The patent process takes about three years, while the trademark process takes about six months to one year, on average. First, the firm learns about the invention, then they conduct research to see if it can be patented. They then file the patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Washington D.C., and argue the merits until an agreement is reached and a new patent is issued. Once filed, and prior to issuance of the patent, the invention is considered “Patent Pending.”
Jake is also a recognized authority in his field. He is an adjunct professor teaching patent law and patent practice at the University of Toledo, College of Law. He often speaks to chambers of commerce, business incubators, technical organizations, and libraries on the topic. “I try to educate people about the changing state of the law,” he said. “Due to the America Invents Act in 2011, which overhauled the patent process in the United States, patent law has changed more over the past decade than it had in the previous 60 years.”
He also maintains a patent and trademark law blog, Anticipate This!, which sheds some light on the industry and his business, while also pointing out humorous and interesting patents.
Jake encourages anyone with an idea to consult with him – “You don’t have to be a genius to be an inventor,” Jake said. “If you’ve solved a problem, then you’ve invented – in a sense, we’re all inventors. So, if you’re considering a new product or process, come talk to us.” Ward Law Office can be reached by email at email@example.com or by telephone at (419) 408-5500.