Patent Agent vs Patent Attorney: Everything You Need to Know
A patent agent is someone who has passed the Patent Bar through the US Patent and Trademark Office.3 min read
Patent Agent vs. Patent Attorney
A patent agent vs. patent attorney has both similarities and differences. A patent agent is someone who has passed the Patent Bar through the US Patent and Trademark Office. The individual is registered with the USPTO and is able to prepare, file, and execute applications for patents on behalf of individuals or clients.
The vast majority of inventions are ones that involve an aspect of engineering or science, so the USPTO does ask that individuals who become patent agents have a background in one of these two fields. The background is necessary before being able to take the Bar.
A patent attorney is a person who has gone to and graduated law school. This person has passed the state bar exam as well as the UPTO exam. Patent attorneys are able to practice at the US Patent and Trademark Office. Additionally, they are able to practice before the office. They can advise individuals in relation to contracts and they can be involved with trials involved patents and trademarks.
Patent agents are people who have a great deal more education in terms of technical subjects and they likely possess a greater background in either science of engineering. Many agents will come to the law field after a career in a technical one.
Patent agents are only specifically allows to practice patent law through or with the USPTO. However, these individuals are often hired by law firms due to their extensive technical backgrounds. Legal departments for larger corporations will hire these people at times for the same reason. Patent agents may also be preferred to patent attorneys due to a more diverse and background.
Who Is Better?
Patent attorneys and agents are similar in a lot of different ways. Both of these professionals are able to prepare, execute, file patent applications with the USPTO. The main difference between these two individuals is the larger capacity for them to be able to practice law.
Patent agents are not lawyers, and thus they cannot give any legal advice. Specifically, they cannot give legal advice when it comes to licenses and possible infringements on already licensed patents.
Attorneys are the only people who are able to draft contracts and other documents like non-disclosure types of agreements. The lawyers are the ones that can represent clients during legal proceedings that involve the state or federal court system.
There are a wide variety of patent attorneys who actually start off as patent agents and then go to law school to become patent lawyers.
Experienced patent agents are individuals who are able to capably prepare patents in a complete manner. This is true of attorneys as well, and it really depends on the experience held by the individual when it comes to the work and assistance they are able to provide you.
For most patent agents, it takes several years of training minimally to operate at an optimal level of competency. Make sure to speak to agents and ask about their experience before working with them. Ask questions about education, training after college, and practice.
While less experienced agents may ask for smaller fees, this may not end out to be a bargain down the road. Basically, a lawyer may be needed to fix the application completed by an inexperienced agent.
When it comes to looking at attorneys and their experience, a person with three years of law school, a law degree, and a license to practice after passing the Bar is a good requirement to go by.
You should not consider lawyers who have practiced patent law only. Individuals who are experienced in a range of law subjects is a good choice. Also, a lawyer who has worked to prosecute patent infringement cases, litigate intellectual property concerns, and prepare paperwork in relation to trademarks may be a good choice. In many cases, a patent attorney can be considered for all legal matters involving parents, trademarks, infringements, and other legal matters, while a patent agent can only assist with patent applications and filings.
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