When Joseph and Roxana Yang founded PatentEsque Law Group in Los Altos Hills, Calif., in January 2005, they thought of their two-person intellectual property firm as similar to a country doctor’s practice before the bureaucratic days of managed health care.

So like old-fashioned medical practitioners, who made house calls and treated whatever ailed patients, the husband/wife team billed themselves as general practitioners of IP law, ready to tackle patent applications, litigation, management of patent portfolios and licensing negotiations.