Since my initial meeting with attorney Philip Vales on 12-17-15 (over 1.8 years ago), I received zero phone calls and zero voice communication. My last email from him was on 1-14-16. But what should anyone expect from a lawyer?
The document above illustrates either blatant incompetence, deception, or just plain stupidity on the part of Philip Vales. Look closely. What's missing? See a year? No, because it's not there.
First, let me explain one thing. This review of Sarasota patent attorney Phillip Vales of Patent CEO will contain only facts. I want my review here to be professional. No name calling or attacks. The facts will speak for themselves. The words in the emails will speak for themselves. Patent CEO has seven offices in Florida. Now it's always a gamble when you hire someone to work for you. Especially when no reviews are available. And a bigger gamble if that someone is a lawyer. And in my case, a patent lawyer.
Here is my short back story of why I hired Phillip Vales. In the late 90's I came up with a product. I did a prototype. It worked well, was extremely functional, and best of all, proprietary. So I went to see a patent attorney in downtown Sarasota. After a brief consultation, I was informed a patent application would cost me five-seven thousand dollars. That I couldn't afford. Now I wanted to give up on my idea, but I couldn't. So I went through the time consuming and painstaking process of going to the USPTO (United States Patent Trademark Office) website to research patents. What I realized is that all patents contain a certain format, and repeat certain words a lot. So after doing many searches to see if a patent like my product existed, I was happy to learn no one had done one. So four months later I was finished with my patent application.
Many years passed without being able to afford getting my patent fine tuned and submitted by a professional. Then in early 2011 a very good friend loaned me the money to have a patent filing specialist work on my application. Her name was Dorothy in Bradenton Florida. I was very excited but pessimistic about her actually being able to help me. And I was right. It was like Dorothy had no common sense whatsoever. Instead of helping me with my patent to make it acceptable for submission, she spent most of the time asking questions and pointing out mistakes. After enduring four agonizing hours of her doing very little, and I had no choice but to leave. It was like she was totally inept and just winging it. She was without question completely incompetent. A nice lady, but be warned if anyone needs her services, you might end up like me. Wasted time and wasted money. I was so pissed off at this woman. This project was very, very important.
Now jump to December 2014. Again, I wanted to try to get my patent worked on and submitted. So out of the handful of patent lawyers close to me, I picked out Phillip Vales of Patent CEO. A very bad decision.
Below Is A Detailed Timeline Of My Emails With Attorney Phillip Vales
12-2014: Around the middle of December 2014, I did a Google search and located Patent CEO attorney Phillip Vales. Called and left a message. My call was returned the same day and an appointment was made.
12-17-15: Met with Phillip at a building not associated with the attorney's website. Meeting was at 1pm at a second floor conference room. Patent services and specifics were discussed along with fees.
12-17-15: Received an invoice from attorney probably within 1-2 hours after initial meeting for $1,339.00.
3-11-15: About 3 months later, I receive email from Phillip: "Hi Mr. Rinehart, I will be sending you a written portion of your application early next week if not sooner. My docket has been pushed back for about a month due to a personal matter".
3-23-15: Email from Phillip Vales: "Hi Mr. Rinehart, Please see attached a first draft of your invention. The drawings have not come back from the draftsman. I am sorry for the delay on this but the docket is what it is. As soon as the drawings come back I will forward them to you. Also, I will be sending you some paperwork that needs to be signed for filing of the application.
3-30-15: Email from Phillip Vales: " Hi Mr. Rinehart. Please see attached set of drawings for your application along with a POA and declaration, & micro entity forms for your application. Please fill out AIA 82A Transmittal Bottom of Page, AIA 82B POA Bottom of Page, AIA 08 Declaration Bottom of 2nd Page, SB 15 Entity Status Bottom of Page 1. (assumes income < 155,000 / year) I email attorney that drawing is wrong. A detailed drawing was given to him on our initial visit. I have trouble emailing video showing correct details of drawing, but finally was able to upload it with email.
3-31-15: Email from Phillip Vales: "I await your video. We can arrange payment by check to me".
4-27-15: Email from Phillip Vales: "Hi Charles. So we will reduce the size of that inner pocket. One thing that I want to ask you is the outer pocket having a button at top right need to OPEN out? Do we need to have that feature or is that something having to do with your prototype demonstrator model and not for the patent? Thanks".
5-1-15: Email from Phillip: "Here is an update drawings set. Is there anything else"?
5-4-15: Email from Phillip Vales: "Hi Charles. Attached please see some more changes I had the draftsman make. I am billing you via PayPal for faster processing. Thanks".
5-4-15: I receive email from PayPal with an invoice for invoice for $1,300.
5-4-15: I emailed Phillip Vales that I put a check in mail. I inform him this is faster than the 2-3 day waiting for PayPal processing.
5-27-15: Email from Phillip Vales: "Hi Mr. Rinehart. I am looking everywhere for the POA, DECLARATION and ENITY forms. I sent these a couple at the end of MARCH. Did you send them to us? I have attached them again for your signature. For the entity form I will fill it out if you indicate to me in an email that you earn less than 155,000 / year which I believe you told me when we met. Please fill out the bottom portion only and forward to me at this email address for our filing of your application. I am currently on vacation and am doing this remotely so please scan and email them to me. Thanks..."
(57 days passed before Phillip Vales reminded me that POA, Declaration, and Entity forms had not been filled out and signed by me)
I had an oversight on paper work I was late filling out and sending back to Phillip. So I lost three months of time.
6-3-15: Email from Phillip Vales: "Hi. Was just checking on those documents. Hope you didn't send them to the Lakewood Ranch place. They should be sent to the address down BELOW….. I prefer email scan if you can do it helps with my schedule". (this is the first time I've ever heard the term 'email scan'. I had no idea what email scan was, nor did I have time to learn it. In Wikihow, there are seven steps to doing an email scan. It's not something most people know.
6-3-15 was my last email from the Phillip Vales. So sevens months later, on 1-7-16, I decided to email Philip. I wrote "Since it has been seven months without any correspondence from you, I wanted to make this attempt. It definitely has been more than enough time for the USPTO receive my application. I have sent applications to them twice, so I'm familiar with the time frame involved".
1-7-16: 216 days have passed without any word from Phillip Vales. So I email him: "Since it has been seven months without any correspondence from you, I wanted to make this attempt. It definitely has been more than enough time for the USPTO receive my application. I have sent applications to them twice, so I'm familiar with the time frame involved".
1-7-16: Email from Philip Vales: "Hi Charles, Happy New Year! I hope the below answers any and all of your questions. I just checked on your application status and have attached an image as it appears on my PAIR (Patent Application Information Retrieval) page. The application was filed way back in AUGUST 5 and received (Funny thing is when I sent my patent application off myself a few years earlier, I received a notification that my application was received) APP NO.14818348. Prediction is that it will be acted on in 15 mo. I thought that we sent you a filing receipt back then (I received nothing). I have attached it again in this email".
1-8-16: My email to Philip Vales: "Yes Happy New Year to you. I appreciate hearing back from you, and that things are still in motion. After such a lengthy amount of time had passed with no correspondence, I thought the worst. Obviously I was wrong. I will print out the files and add them to my other paper work. Thank you again for your time and attention. Take care".
1-11-16: Email from Philip Vales: Hi Charles. For you we need an updated POA. Please fill out only the portion that states Signature of Applicant at the bottom. For the co inventor we need both the POA AIA 82. There is a $35 surcharge for late declaration filing. I don't usually have this problem but I need to see if there is a change of inventorship fee of $130 is also required. However, this may only apply after first examiner action.
I will get back to you if I found out something differently".
1-13-16: My email to Philip Vales: "I have decided not to go any further on my application and working with you. First, I did not hear from you for seven months. Second, you sent my application in with a signature in the wrong spot. The signature apparently was in the wrong spot because I do not understand every specific word terminology associated with patents. So I will consider my friend's $2600 a loss. I will make my third attempt at this endeavor with someone else at a later date. Perhaps I will get lucky then".
1-14-16: Email from Phillip Vales: "Hi Charles 1- First let me inform you that my father WAS BEING BURIED (capitalized letters denotes yelling) about the time of this application filing as he DIED IN JULY at the age of 90 years old. Thus, I did not call you because of a period of mourning. However, I believe I sent you a message on your application at that time perhaps it went in to your spam filter? 2- I was completely unaware that you had another inventor as you did not inform me of this. The application is ACTIVE. All we need to do is correct the POA on the file that only requires your signature. This happens when representation changes.
3- I do not know what is wrong with the application that you think you need to file again? We can just UPDATE the POA for free as it does not require any new monies. The only thing that would possibly cause an added charge is the addition of a second inventor which I was never informed of until I noticed a document with two names on it and I acted to find out what was your intention with that as you had not informed me about this verbally or electronically. 4- I am attaching a POA for your signature again so that we can have it on file at the PTO for yourself at least and keep the present application active".
Notice the capitalized words in Phillip Vales last email? Most internet users probably know that capitalized words in correspondence means yelling. That is extremely unprofessional behavior by Phillip. Extremely unprofessional. However Phillip is a lawyer. So perhaps lashing out at a client is normal for him.
Update: On 1-31-16 I was considering contacting Phillip Vales and letting him continue with the patent. Over a year has passed since I hired him, and the patent was submitted in August 2015, so the wheels were well in motion. However I changed my mind. And here's why. First, I really have no confidence in him. Zero. His tone of talking down to me in the last email, including smart remarks and shouting, is totally unacceptable. And blatantly unprofessional. And second, 2 years have passed and he Phillip never picked up a phone to call me. That says everything I need to know about him.
Let me add this. When you deal with a business that you feel is not living up to reasonable expectations, no one should bend over and take it. No one. And never loose your temper and engage anyone. Be smart. Write a review. However, I believe a review like I've done here with facts far outweighs a review with unsubstantiated claims and foul language. I clearly feel that all the time that has passed without any correspondence from Phillip Vales was clearly unacceptable.
Also Phillip Vales explains in the 1-14-16 email that his dad died in July of 2015, and he was in a period of mourning. That was 5 months and 7 days before my last contact with him. To most, that would be a considerable amount of time to use as an excuse.
In closing, Philip Vale failed miserably in providing me with a completed patent. He failed pathetically in communicating instructions clearly. He relied on emails instead of phone calls which complication some of my understanding of the patent application process. If anyone is considering a patent attorney in the Sarasota-Venice-Bradenton area, you'd be smart to look elsewhere. To say Philip Vale is totally incompetent would be extremely accurate.