Patent attorneys are the legal professionals who represent clients who are seeking to obtain a patent for an invention. The United States Congress has established different types of patents to protect various inventions. Knowing how to use each type of patent application can help inventors make the most of the US Patent Office to protect their invention. A patent attorney can assist in conducting a patent search to determine the full scope of the technique in question in the relevant field.
This search must cover patents and publications from all over the world. If a patent is obtained, the lawyer can help to enforce potential infringements and take steps to assert the rights of the inventor. All patent attorneys must have a background in science (physics, chemistry, etc.).The four most common types are engineers with degrees in mechanical, chemical, electrical, or computer engineering. The lawyer's scientific or engineering background must match that of the invention.
For instance, a software engineer would not be suitable for writing a chemical patent. The most common type of patent is the “utility patent”, which safeguards the functional aspects of an invention. It actually grants three different types of patents. In addition to utility patents, inventors can apply for design patents and plant patents. Plant patents protect, with certain limitations, new and different plant varieties.
Design patents protect the ornamental appearance of an “article of manufacture”, which is essentially something that the design is applied to (such as a lamp, chair, or computer icon), rather than just being an abstract work of art. These types of patents are not mutually exclusive; it is possible for an invention to be eligible for more than one type of patent. A competent patent attorney can help identify not only what type or types of patents are most likely to be granted, but also how each type can create value for the invention. Furthermore, many foreign countries offer these same types of patents or variations thereof. Patent attorneys who are experienced in filing international applications and who collaborate with their foreign counterparts can help protect an invention around the world. Patent attorneys must be admitted to a state or territorial bar association or that of the District of Columbia.
It is possible for an inventor to prepare a patent application or provisional patent application on their own after researching the law online. This is just one example of how inventors can use multiple patent applications to reduce risk, cover all bases, or extend patent protection. It is expensive, but some types of inventions will always be more costly to patent than others. The process of processing a normal patent application can be difficult because it involves a specific format and requires extensive knowledge of patent laws and regulations. The USPTO registration exam (also known as the registration exam to practice in patent cases before the United States Patent and Trademark Office or patent bar exam) assesses the applicant's knowledge of US law.
It is often beneficial to conduct a comprehensive patentability search prior to filing an application in order to anticipate any reasons for rejection that a patent examiner may present and allow applications to be prepared accordingly. A provisional patent gives inventors an extra year to decide if and how they should file a utility patent. Patent law is even more complex than other areas of law, so it is usually in your best interest to seek legal representation when it comes to patents. Find out how to file a patent application, if you need an attorney or can do it yourself, and what it means to have a pending patent. Patent attorneys, such as those at Allen, Dyer, Doppelt & Gilchrist, are also aware of the special challenges faced by certain types of inventions such as those in certain biomedical fields and inventions implemented in software where how the invention is presented and claimed can be critical for its eligibility for patent protection regardless if it is new or not. The provisional patent for your egg beater gives you one year to learn more about the device and its potential market.
A patent attorney is an attorney with experience in intellectual property law related to protecting an inventor's property rights. Other countries may have different certifications or qualifications for patent attorneys or have processes that do not require more than someone with general legal credentials.