What is the difference between a patent attorney and a patent agent and how are they different? 6 Answers as of April 20, 2015

In my search to find a good patent lawyer for my invention, a friend mentioned that I could alternatively seek the assistance of a patent agent. Are patent agents and patent attorneys two different classifications of attorneys?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
A patent attorney is a person who has graduated from law school, passed the general bar exam, and then passed the patent bar exam. A patent agent does not have a law degree or a license to practice law but has passed the patent bar exam. Both attorneys and agents must have a background in science or engineering.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 4/20/2015
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
A patent agent is not an attorney and is not permitted to practice law. Patent agents are licensed only to draft and pursue patent applications before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They cannot appear in courts or do other legal work. Patent agents usually acquire technical expertise in specify scientific fields such as chemistry, biotechnology, engineering or software development/mathematics. Many attorneys keep patent agents on their staff to assist on technical science matters or to conduct technical prior art searches. Patent agents are not a good substitute for experienced patent counsel because they are not trained in the law and cannot assess litigation and related business risks. If you cannot afford an attorney, a patent agent is the next best choice but like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/17/2015
Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
Not the same. As a rule the patent attorney should have superior skills and is licensed to support legal aspects of patent practice.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/17/2015
Webb IP Law Group
Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
Patent agents can practice before the USPTO but they are not attorneys.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 4/17/2015
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Both patent attorneys and patent agents are licensed by the US patent office to prepare and file patent applications. A patent attorney is licensed in one or more states and can prepare other legal document that are common for an attorney. Generally a patent agent is less expensive.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/17/2015
    Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
    Patent Attorneys must graduate from law school and then pass (at least) two bar exams - one for the state where they work and the Patent Office bar exam. Patent agents have, like patent attorneys, at least a bachelor's degree in science or engineering - and they must pass the Patent bar exam. Patent agents are NOT attorneys - so they cannot do any legal work other than patent application work. You can hire either person to do your patent work - and the agent is typically lower cost than the attorney. You can search for agents and attorneys at this website - part of the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) site: https://oedci.uspto.gov/OEDCI/ Note that you can search by name or by city & state, as well as by business name. Good Luck!
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/17/2015
Click to View More Answers: