Inventors often struggle to transform innovative ideas into reality to make our lives easier. At times, they may think they have created the novel machine, technique, or improvement to a previous invention, but someone may have already beaten them to it.
Alternatively, their hard work pays off. They file for a patent to secure exclusive rights to their concept or design, but lack of experience and knowledge may lead to clerical errors and deprive them of any.
Patents are one of the trickiest intellectual property cases and need correct handling to prevent future infringements. It is best to work with a patent agent or attorney, which helps create and file a solid patent that reserves all rights to a person’s invention. Patent engineer is another term people often use, but how do all these professionals differ?
A patent contains a description of the claimed invention and a list of claims indicating the applicant’s scope of patent protection. A patent engineer works with patent lawyers or agents to help with preparing and prosecuting patent information.
A patent engineer requires at least a bachelor’s degree in the scientific domain to provide technical expertise to patent attorneys. However, they don’t have a degree in law or the training and certification required for patent agents, but they can acquire them to progress further in the field of intellectual property.
They work with inventors to find existing patents and write technical aspects for their patents that clearly describe the invention. They help support attorneys during litigation proceedings such that the patent passes infringement clearance.
Like patent attorneys, patent agents also need to have scientific knowledge. Additionally, they need to pass a special bar exam given by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and be members of the Patent Bar.
They work closely with the party that requires a patent to evaluate their intellectual property and its patentability. Therefore, they help prepare and file patent applications that meet the legal requirements and substantive requirements relating to technical details of the idea that require disclosure by law.
Additionally, they provide guidance for a variety of patent-related issues. Patent agents can become patent attorneys and help clients during litigation.
Patent attorneys are lawyers that have passed the federal bar exam to practice law. They may also have a specialized scientific degree that helps them understand their client’s inventions as well and have passed the patent bar exam.
Their work is very similar to patent agents in terms of filing and preparing applications for patents; however, they can also argue patent infringement cases in a court of law. Knowing patent procedures, federal rules and regulations, and ethical guidelines, they are regarded as legal experts in patents.
Inventions have to be unique, useful, and non-obvious to have grounds to qualify for a patent.
While individuals can file a patent themselves, it takes time and commitment to learn about the process’s complexities and requirements. Hence, the best course of action is to hire professional help to prevent any complications when filing a patent.