What is a patent attorney?
A patent attorney is an attorney that has passed the patent bar exam, is licensed at the USPTO to write, and prosecute patent applications and can file PCT applications with the USPTO as the receiving entity. The patent bar exam is a federal exam that grants them the right to represent clients before the USPTO. A patent attorney can also provide legal advice because they have passed a state bar exam and are licensed to practice law.
Unlike IP attorneys, patent attorneys specialize in patents and are required to have expertise in technical areas important to understanding a client’s inventions.
What is a patent agent?
A patent agent is a licensed professional that has passed the patent bar exam and is licensed at the USPTO to write and prosecute patent applications and file PCT applications with the USPTO as the receiving entity.
Their license allows them to do everything that a patent attorney can, except provide legal advice.
Patent agents specialize in patents and are required to have expertise in technical areas important to understanding a client’s inventions.
Patent agents work with inventors, researchers, and attorneys to evaluate an invention disclosure, assess patentability, draft a fileable patent application, and analyze and respond to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Currently, the USPTO has 42,503 agents that are active and registered practitioners.
How are they alike?
Patent attorneys and agents are similar in that they are both permitted to assess patents, work with inventors, draft applications and communicate with the USPTO. However, regarding the legal aspect of the patent process, patent agents are not permitted to provide legal advice if an infringement occurs or if licensing opportunities present themselves.
How are they different?
In the United States, patent agents can perform a variety of the same tasks as attorneys, including representing clients before the USPTO. However, unlike patent attorneys, patent agents cannot represent clients in other legal matters, such as prosecuting an infringement in court.
Do they cooperate?
Fortunately, at Stanton IP Law Firm, we have a team of patent and IP attorneys as well as patent agents that cooperate during patent prosecution process. This provides a major advantage to our clients as most firms do not have patent agents on staff. Their expertise and insight on the USPTO process and experience with patent filings create a superior environment for the inventor where they can rest assured that the rights to their invention have been thoroughly analyzed by both a patent attorney and agent. This also reduces cost for our clients as many technical inventions containing legal aspects require the expertise of both an attorney and an agent. Call us today or click the link below to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our patent attorneys.