Patent attorneys are professionally licensed attorneys who
are allowed to stand before and operate within the United
States Patent and Trademark Office. Contrasting, Patent
Agents are not necessarily lawyers, but are allowed to
practice within these same offices. Many agents come from
different backgrounds, not necessarily law.
To be clear, a skilled patent attorney or agent doesn't
necessarily work on trademark issues. In fact, patents and
trademarks are detached unities of the same government
branch holding to the same idea-the protection of an
inventor's invention or a business's identity. Patents and
trademarks are officially filed for and observed, but do
not require the same type (or amount) of work in order to
obtain one or the other.
When looking to hire a patent attorney or patent agent, you
may find one that provides services that the other does not
and vice-versa. If you are planning to litigate, or
planning to pursue a patent claim in court, then a patent
attorney will have the credentials necessary to stand in
front of a court or law, but perhaps not the right to work
with patent applications.
However, a patent agent will have the technical knowledge
and know-how to work with and/or prosecute patent
applications, but will not be able to litigate in a court
outside the USPTO.
This difficult choice is left to the discretion of the
inventor. It most often depends if she or he believes that
there is a possibility that the patent will be rejected,
which will bring on possible litigation. If this is the
case, it might be important to hire an experienced patent
attorney who has dealt with such cases and will know
exactly how to handle such a case in court.
Consequently, it might be better to hire an experienced
patent agent who would know how to properly word the patent
application (a former scientist, for example, who
understands what you're requesting) so as it won't be
rejected in the first place, but rather accepted based on
its originality and well-documented approach.
In any regard, whomever you wish to work with, she or he
will have to be both qualified and proficient enough to
move throughout the mounds of legal work and research that
obtaining a patent requires.
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About the Author .Paul Johnson works as a software developer. Over the last
ten years, he's made a variety of inventions which he's
patented. He shares his experiences and advice in a series
of articles about us patent searches and patent
By: Paul Johnson