A patent practitioner or agent can help you and assist with patent applications, especially if you do not know where to start. Generally, every single patent agent has a professional license from USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office.)
It would be best if you remembered that most agents could help inventors to submit and complete patent-application paperwork, writing the inventor’s legally enforceable claims, searching for something similar, and revising rejected applications, among other things.
Today, you can find more than forty thousand registered people to help you with this particular situation. They are either agents or attorneys, which means most of them have practiced law and decided to start working in this specific field.
You should know that attorneys have the same rights and jurisdictions as agents, but they have a law degree that allows them to know more than others.
Things to Know About Patent Agents
According to the USPTO, you should find a particular patent agent or attorney to prepare yourself for the application process.
The main reason for that is the complexity of paperwork and procedures that you should follow to be approved, so you need help from a professional.
However, compared with attorneys that could represent you in various legal settings, agents can only help you with application processes. On the other hand, if you have infringement issues, you should find an attorney instead.
Differences Between A Patent Attorney and An Agent
If your primary goal is to create and file an application to protect your invention, we recommend you find an agent that will help you with the process. You do not need help from the attorney because you can save money in the long run.
However, you can prepare and file an application without professional assistance, which is the least expensive option. Still, it is challenging to comply with all regulations you need to fulfill.
Therefore, you can do it if you have sufficient interest and free time to manage and learn the entire process’s complexities, which is not something most people can do.
Instead of entering a time-consuming process that will take you nowhere, you can find a proper agent that will provide you expertise for all options, including someone who can help you get your invention ready for the process or if you are a company that wishes to protect trade secrets.
In case you decide to represent yourself and avoid finding an agent, you should know that the USPTO would communicate only with certified professionals, which is why you need assistance along the way.
A path for Becoming a Patent Agent
Even though agents do not have to obtain a law degree similar to attorneys and state bar exam, they will have to undergo a patent bar exam from USPTO’s regulations. We are talking about Examination for Registration to Practice in Patient Cases before the USPTO.
Of course, agents can have various degrees, and they can be former university professors, which is something you need to remember. In some situations, they assist attorneys while preparing cases in law firms, which is another essential factor.
However, it would be best if you remembered that you would not hire an agent to represent you in court due to infringement or other reasons.
Keep in mind that the USPTO examination will measure the applicant’s understanding and knowledge of the US procedures, regulations, federal rules, and ethical guidelines.
Generally, an exam features a hundred multiple-choice questions, and candidates will have six hours to complete it, which you need to remember.
You should check here to enter the USPTO official website, which will help you find the best agent for your particular requirements.
Things to Know About Patent Attorneys
- Expertise – If you find a professional attorney, you will get information about different areas, which will help you make up your mind. Generally, to become an attorney and to obtain an ability to represent someone before the USPTO, he/she requires an undergraduate degree in science or engineering apart from a law degree. Since they must understand both legal and engineering aspects of a particular patent, they need to understand the specific technology and represent that knowledge to the courtroom.
- Understanding of Application Processes – Since they tend to focus mostly on trademarks and patents, you can expect from them a wide array of information that will help you get approval based on your current situation and invention. Remember that consent will require at least two years, which means that if you overlook fundamental aspects and deadlines, you will have to wait for more than you wanted in the first place. That is the main reason why you should find someone who can represent you to prevent the time consumption and other problems that may happen.
- Handling Complex Issues – You probably understand by now that the patent process is not that simple and requires a thorough understanding of all procedures before you can obtain approval. Every single step features a potential to fail, which means that you will lose legal rights to handle the process if you avoid it. Instead of making mistakes, we recommend you find a patent attorney to help you navigate throughout the way.
- Legal Advice – You probably understand that patent attorneys can help you both inside and outside of court, which means that they will understand your invention and business goals. Therefore, you can get legal advice on other aspects such as the type of patent, should you file a provisional application, the relationship of your filling with publications, timing requirements, and other related subjects that will help you with the process.