Hello, I am an engineer and newbie to IM. I have recently invented a product (in alternative-energy, if that matters), and am looking to begin filing for a patent. I would love to avoid working with a patent attorney, if possible, as I am not made of money (at least, not until my IM takes off ). Does anyone have experience with this process that could possibly shed some light? I have already experienced the pain of searching through the US Patent Office's Database (though I am familiar with db queries), and from here it just looks like lots of paperwork and headache. I know for starters I will want to file a provisional patent, but not sure what the next best step is, or if there is any way to avoid working with a patent attorney. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.