BlueIron was formed in response to a weakness in the way patents are prepared. My personal experience was that I needed a patent attorney’s advice and experience – and I paid for it – but he had continually refused to give it to me.
It wasn’t until after I took the patent bar and began to practice that I realized the key element: the attorneys are *prevented* from giving real business advice because of malpractice fears. I was told that independent inventors were “walking malpractice suits” and I only presented options to the inventors and *they had to choose* the course of action.
As a client, I was frustrated because I needed help in making that choice, but I found out later that the attorney would *never* give me the advice I needed. He would be happy to explain everything to me – at $600/hr.
BlueIron is an attempt to change that dynamic.
Having been a practicing engineer who went through the patent process a few times, and then having gone to law school later in life, I noticed some big gaps in what each side expects.
The client expects that the attorney is in their corner and is there to help them. In reality, the attorney gets paid by selling hours – not value – so they set up the conversation to appear to answer their questions but never really seem to give real advice.
The attorney expects the client to already have the answers and know what they want. The attorney is a scrivener, who takes someone’s invention and writes it down “in legalese” to send it to the Patent Office. The attorney says “it’s what the client said to do” even though the attorney is laughing with their colleagues about the absurdity of the client.
BlueIron realigns everybody’s interests around what the client really wants.
The client comes to a patent attorney and says “I want a patent,” but what they really want is a business tool. They want to protect their investment in R&D and marketing. They want to be able to keep competitors at bay. They want to be able to negotiate license agreements or have fodder for cross licensing with competitors. (BlueIron is not designed for inventors who only want a plaque to hang on the wall.)
BlueIron changes the dynamics of the attorney-client relationship so that the *attorney* has the financial motivation to build the business tool that the entrepreneur client needs. BlueIron is focused only on building the best patents possible, because BlueIron’s collateral is only that patent asset. This is much different than the attorney having equity in the business.
When an attorney has equity in the business, their decision making ability is compromised. They now have a conflict of interest: they are supposed to be the unbiased trusted advisor and counselor for the business, but they have a stake in the outcome. In most states, attorneys are prohibited from having equity in the business because of the ethics problems it brings up.
BlueIron is designed to turn the notion of the attorney-client privilege on its head. We keep the good parts by having a Common Interest Agreement that protects against discovery problems in litigation, and we replace the bad parts with economic incentives to align the attorney’s goals with the client’s goals.
We see this as a win-win situation.