What is a Patent?
A patent is an exclusive right granted by a state, particularly a national government, to an inventor or assignee, for a limited amount of time in exchange for a public disclosure of an invention or idea.
The procedure for issuing patents, the requirements placed on the holder of the patent and the extent to which the exclusivity rights protect the invention or idea will vary widely between countries based on particular national law and international agreement. In most cases, a patent application will include one or more claims to define the invention; to obtain a patent, the idea or invention must be new, useful, non-obvious or industrially applicable.
A patent offers the creator of a particular invention or idea the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, distributing or selling the patented invention without permission. A patent is simply, a right to prevent other manufacturers, individuals or producers from using the underling invention or idea.
Patents are regulated under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights; this organization will make patents available to WTO member states for any inventions or ideas relating to all fields of technology. The terms attached to such patents will offer exclusive rights to holders for a minimum of twenty years; however, different types of patents may have varying terms attached to the exclusivity of the underlying patent.
How To Find a Patent Attorney?
A patent attorney is a legal professional who possesses specialized qualifications necessary for representing individuals or clients who are in the process of obtaining patents. Additionally, a patent attorney will aid those seeking patents by acting in all matters relating to complex patent law.
The role of a patent attorney will differentiate between countries; the term is used differently in various jurisdictions or countries, meaning that a patent attorney may or may not obtain the same legal qualifications as a generalized legal practitioner. Furthermore, the titles patent attorney and patent agent may also be used interchangeably in some jurisdictions.
In the United States, a patent attorney may be labeled as a patent agent; both patent attorneys and patent agents represent clients before the patent office, which is part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Both patent agents and a patent attorney will prepare, file and prosecute patent applications; a patent attorney may also prove patentability opinions based on the ruling provided by the United States Supreme Court in Sperry v. Florida.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office impose Rules of Ethics and Professionalism that specifically clarifies that patent agents may not provide an opinion of validity for another party’s patent when the underlying client is seeking litigation and not seeking reexamination. These rules are instituted to discourage impediments aligned to the preparation and prosecution of a client’s patent.
Qualifications for a Patent Attorney:
A patent attorney must be admitted to the practice of law in at least one state of the U.S. To obtain licensing, the individual must pass the USPTO registration examination; once this examination is passed, the individual is allowed to prosecute and register patent applications. The USPTO registration examination will test a candidate’s knowledge of patent law and the policies and procedures latent in the USPTO’s Manuel of Patent Examining Procedure.
Upon satisfaction of this examination, the individual will legally be labeled a patent attorney. Because a patent attorney is admitted to practice patent law in a specific state, the individual can additionally provide legal services outside the Patent Office if he or she is practicing within the jurisdiction they are admitted or if the law of the jurisdiction otherwise permits them to practice.
These various legal services include: appealing a decision by the Patent Office to a court, advising a client on matters relating to the licensing of the underlying invention and advise the client on matters pertaining to infringements.