What is a Patent Agent?

PATENTS are grants issued by a government office, such as USPTO, that gives its owner the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention where the laws of that government are enforced.

A registered patent agency, such as InventHelp represents inventors who apply for patents. Patent agents are scientists or engineers who are not lawyers and who have met the Patent Office’s (USPTO) educational requirements and have passed the same licensing examination that patent attorneys pass called the “patent bar.” To pass this exam, the agent must have the same knowledge of pertinent areas of patent law and federal regulations as does a patent attorney.

An inventor may choose either a patent agent or a patent attorney for representation before the Patent Office. The Patent Office recognizes both patent agents and patent attorneys. Although patent agents cannot appear in court in matters of patent litigation, most cases do not require legal action. Fees charged by patent agents are usually substantially less than patent attorney fees as was described in this post.

The patent practitioner (agent or attorney) starts a client’s case by evaluating the patentability of the invention and the scope of appropriate claims by doing a search to uncover “prior art”. Once the case is written and submitted to the USPTO, the patent agent then represents the client in written and oral discussions with the patent examiner while the case is pending. This usually requires several written and telephonic communications with the Examiner until allowance is achieved. In rare cases, the patent agent may appeal a difficult case through various committees and boards of the USPTO.

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