The first thing to notice is that there is no such thing as contingency representation for the purpose of preparing, filing and ultimately obtaining a patent. Patent attorneys and patent agents simply do not take contingency clients when the matter is patent procurement. When you file a patent application you need to depend on the fact that you will get a fair examination by a fair patent examiner they may just look at the law and your invention from a different point of view. The patent process cannot be controlled because ultimately you have a patent examiner you need to please but you have complete ability to define the invention and guide process to a positive outcome which can be achieved in a high percentage of cases if the attorney is familiar with the technology and the client is willing to pay enough to do the work actually required. But as is the case in virtually all aspects of life there are Patent Examiners that do not play by the rules, and there is no accounting for the Patent Examiner with an honestly held difference of opinion. Sometimes, perhaps frequently, inventors give up during the patent examination process not because they couldn’t realistically obtain anything but because obtaining a patent becomes too difficult, too time-consuming and no longer worth the effort.
After the invention is completed and patent process is also over, there are all kinds of hurdles to money showing up. You need to find a licensee and get the licensee to part with the money, you need to build the invention and wait for the customers to start buying. When your invention is asked to come to market you may be told to bring the stuff exactly what the people are looking for, but then wind up getting beaten out by the improvement. Aside from the fact that a great many things that can go wrong on the way from invention to money inventors who have no skin in the game typically fold like a pop tent the first time there is a glitch. This rationale frequently does not get through or understand because most inventors will think that this all makes sense for the other inventors but not for them because their invention is going to be worth a million dollars and everyone would be demanding it.
As you are sending time figuring out whether there is the market and how large the market is don’t make the mistake many inventor’s makes. As no product or service is going to be purchased by everyone. Remember only about one-third of America watches the Super Bowl, about half of the people in the U.S. do not file or are not counted on a federal income tax filing, only 79% of Americans know that the earth revolves around the sun and only 76% of Americans know that the nation achieved its independence from the England/Great Britain/UK. See Gallup poll. So 100% is never achievable. Not to put too fine a point on it, but patent attorneys and patent agents don’t want to be “let in on”, your invention.
The inventors’ who spend a lot of time and energy searching out patent attorneys or patent agents who will work on the contingency basis are wasting their time. The time spent looking for contingency representation which is the industry equivalent of the unicorn could be better spent in any number of ways, including working over-time or picking up a second job to make more money so you can pursue at least the critical first steps (i.e., patent search and provisional patent application) before going out to look for help developing the invention and finding investors. Successful inventors and investors hire competent patent professionals and pay them so that they can devote the necessary time to do a good job. It is at least somewhat, common, however, for inventors to start down the patent path perhaps with a patent search and provisional patent filing and then go out seeking the investors.