What Is a Patent Agent?

What is a patent agent? A patent agent is a person who has passed the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent bar. This means that the person is legally able to work on, file, and initiate applications for clients who are interested in acquiring a patent.

The vast majority of inventions that inventors create and then apply for patents involve engineering or a science application. Due to this, the USPTO does require that patent agents have a background in engineering or science before they complete the Bar.

Also, the professional will have had to attend law school.

How Is a Patent Agent Different from a Patent Attorney?

A patent agent can practice at or with the Patent Office and also with the Trademark Office. This type of work involves client advising as well as the participation in trials and other legal proceedings.

Patent agents do practice law at the USPTO as it applies to patents. However, since the guidelines to become a patent agent are stringent and based on a technical or scientific background, a patent agent can expect to be hired by an outside law firm or business. In this regard, a patent agent is chosen over a patent attorney to oversee problems associated with patents and trademarks.

Where do Patent Agents Work?

A patent agents can work with other companies and law office, and they also have the option of practicing as individuals. Of course, the agent can also retain a job as a USPTO examiner.

How Many Patent Agents Are There in the United States?

According to the USPTO and statistics relating to the agency, the office has a 42,503 agents that are active and registered practitioners. There are over 30,000 patent attorneys and over 10,000 patent agents.

When it comes to the salary of the patent agent, economic reports indicate that the average salary of an agent at a private practice with fewer than five years of experience is well over $90,000.

Patent Agent vs. a Patent Attorney

Patent agents and attorneys are similar and work on the same types of projects and jobs. Both of these individuals must show a proficiency in regard to patent applications and the way they are prepared, filled out, and filed. The proficiency has been shown with the USPTO.

When it comes to the legal professionals, only lawyers and attorneys can draft papers, like non-disclosures and contracts. Also, lawyers are the only ones who are able to advise in regard to proceedings that take place in a courtroom.

Many patent attorneys actually start off as patent agents, so they are more than qualified to assist in all of the technical and legal aspects of patents.

Since you have the choice between choosing a patent agent or lawyer if you want to draft a patent application, you should look closely at the experience that the individual has in relation to the type of patent that you require. This will help to ensure that the professional is able to assist you.

Experience also means that the agent has worked long enough to garner experience in their field. Three years is often seen as a minimum requirement to be experienced as a patent agent. When choosing the professional, make sure that you ask about relevant experience, education, and post-graduate work. While more inexperienced patent agents may be cheaper, they can cost you a lot more in the long run if your application need to be revamped and refiled.

While these things are true, any person who has been admitted to the patent bar is able to legally represent clients as it pertains to filling out and executing patent applications. This means that you have your choice of professionals when it comes to submitting your application through the examination process.

You do need to think about whether there will be any court matter in relation to your patent application and your patent. If you think that there will be a serious issue that needs to be resolved in court, then it is wise to go with a patent attorney right away.

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