This question definitely falls under the “there’s no straight answer.” I’ll discuss a few of the factors:
- Whether you are willing to give up control. Many inventors are wary to give up the reigns after putting in many countless sleepless nights creating their product. However, when you choose to hire a patent attorney you have to buy in after doing so. For example, you hire a patent attorney to help you draft a non-provisional patent application. The attorney asks for you to draft as much as you can of a first draft before he takes over. You do just that, and spend a decent amount of time in the process. About a month later, the attorney shows you his finished product, but you notice it is drastically different from what you gave her. What do you do here? Well I’ve heard of a bunch of inventors that insist the attorney change it back to the inventor’s draft. It is not until the USPTO rejects the application months or years later that these type of power-hungry inventors realize the importance of trusting your patent attorney.
- Whether your attorney has worked with similar patents. If your attorney has written patent applications for similar products in your market then chances are s/he will write more of the application. Conversely, you will likely search and draft more in the portions of the application involving “prior art” if your attorney has not drafted something similarly in the past.
- Whether you are trying to save money. You can minimize high rate billable hours by doing as much research as possible on your own to verify the eligibility of your patent (conduct needed searches), and assembling all relevant documentation and material to reduce a lawyer’s billable hours down the road.