What is this thing called a patent agent? 5 Answers as of April 20, 2015

Is a patent agent different than a lawyer? Do you need both to file a patent? I want to file a patent and was just wondering if I should find one.

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Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Either a patent attorney or a patent agent can help you complete and submit a patent application. The attorney has passed the general bar exam and is licensed to practice law. Both the attorney and the agent have backgrounds in science or engineering and both have passed the patent bar exam. It is well worth the time and money to have an agent or attorney help you with your application as getting a patent is generally very expensive and the agent or attorney can make sure you're not wasting your money.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 4/20/2015
Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
In brief, a patent agent is an individual having a technical background who has passed an exam that qualifies the individual to draft and prosecute patent applications for others. A patent agent is not qualified to practice law. A patent attorney is qualified to draft patents *and* practice law (e.g. both). Some aspects of patent practice require legal skills, knowledge, and licensure that a patent agent would not have. Usually, a patent agent charges less than a patent attorney. On the other hand, a patent attorney generally has skill and knowledge that a patent agent does not have. You can also self-file your patent application and prosecute it yourself. However, when difficult problems or issues come up, the patent attorney should be much better equipped to help overcome them (e.g. patent attorney > patent agent > self-help, usually).
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/17/2015
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
A patent agent is licensed by the patent office to prepare, file and prosecute patents with the US patent office. They are not licensed to practice general law.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/17/2015
Webb IP Law Group
Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
An attorney who is registered to practice with the US Patent and Trademark Office is called a patent attorney. A non-attorney who is registered to practice with the US Patent and Trademark Office is called a patent agent.
Answer Applies to: Utah
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
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