I would like to have a distribution contract reviewed by a lawyer specialized in worldwide intellectual property, to ensure that the contract is fair for all parties involved.
I asked to one lawyer and he replied that his hourly rate was $450 and that it would take them up to 4 hours to do this review. If we rewrite the contract, most likely we will have to have it reviewed again.
Are these the standard rates for contract reviews? Are there other options I should know about before paying a lawyer this much to review a contract?
There is no "standard rate". As in other professions, different providers have different billing structures.
My hourly rate is substantially below what you were quoted because I have low overhead. I could not estimate the time required to review the agreement without looking at it, but four hours does not strike me as necessarily out of line.
Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Shop around if you want. The key would be in determining if they really have "worldwide intellectual property" expertise. What is their non-legal background? Often these attorneys have dual degrees in computer science (this should match your needs) and law for example.
You might try and give yourself some wiggle room and ask for a set limit on the hours (cry poverty), but you want to include a second review as well. In a way, you're getting a fixed price.
IP lawyers are notoriously expensive, and $450/hour is on the low side in the S.F. Bay Area. Other parts of the country tend to be cheaper.
Also, are there really lawyers that specialize in worldwide IP? I believe that IP laws tend to differ from country to country, and it'll depend on which countries your distribution agreement covers.