my business

About setting the initial consultation fee

Feb 26, 2022

About setting the initial consultation fee

One of the first things I considered when opening my own office was how to set the initial consultation fee.

In the case of patent attorneys, there is an impression that the initial consultation fee is relatively free, and it is true that we cannot know the difficulty level of what kind of case the client has.

However, on the other hand, the Japan Patent Attorneys Association also has a free intellectual property counseling room, but in the story of a friend in the same industry who has experience of counseling in such a counseling room, it seems that there are some unfortunate people who go to such a consultation room many times and try to proceed with IP business with almost no money, and in conclusion, in my case, the first consultation fee is not free. I decided to deduct the initial consultation fee from the cost if we are to accept the application work in earnest. In my impression, there are relatively many people who deduct the initial consultation fee when they actually accept the work.

Intellectual property is invisible, but it is about the property that is legally defined, albeit intangible, and its handling requires a high degree of specialized knowledge. And patent attorneys spend a lot of time and money to acquire that expertise. This also applies to other professionals. It is often said that professional work does not require initial costs or purchases, but in reality, it takes a lot of time and money to become a professional and to provide appropriate quality services to clients. This is often said by Westerners, maybe for some Japanese cultural reason, and even large companies tend to be stingy on services that are invisible. Certainly invisible, there may be some difficulties in pricing the service. And nowadays, when there is an internet, at first glance, there may be a part where even general people can easily find the answer to things related to law. Certainly, now that the Internet and legal tech have advanced, it is happening that the services provided by professionals will be replaced by them, but sometimes while receiving consultations on intellectual property from acquaintances, although it is well-examined, they have a dangerous idea in the important legal judgment part, and I personally think that there is a professional turn in such cases.

It is true that when starting a business, you want to do so with as little cost as possible, and that spending money is not always a good thing. However, it is also very important to make the decision to leave what is best left to professionals, to buy time with money, or to buy risk avoidance with money, although this is not limited to intellectual property. In the case of IP, it seems that businesses that spend money in an appropriate manner are often more successful.