What Does a Patent Lawyer Do?

Professionals from the Evergreen Valley Law Group answer the question, “What does a patent lawyer do?” For additional information and advice, call us today!

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The Role of a Patent Attorney

If you’ve created a new product, software, plant variety, machinery, or manufacturing design, securing your legal rights over your invention(s) is essential to avoid theft or unlicensed use by others.

To solidify your ownership rights, you would need to apply for patent registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, the application process is quite complex. There are a lot of legal requirements to meet and paperwork to file. The process is delicate, and mistakes could be costly, so it is essential to get professional help from a patent attorney for the registration process.

Patent lawyers are extremely important for inventors and businesses who intend to launch a new technology or product and obtain legal protection and ownership rights over them. The USPTO licenses these lawyers to help clients handle patent-related processes, including patent registration, infringement, and licensing. Read on to learn more about patent attorneys and the specific ways they can help with your patent rights.

What Qualifications Does a Patent Lawyer Have?

To become a patent lawyer, one must fulfill the requirements outlined in Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These requirements require patent practitioners to possess legal, technical, and scientific qualifications and a good moral character and reputation.

To become a patent practitioner, patent attorneys also need to succeed on the patent bar exam in addition to going to law school and becoming licensed with a state bar. They may also need formal technical knowledge to qualify for the licensing exam.

    Patent Attorney Services

    Patent attorneys work to help their clients obtain and maintain patent protection for their inventions.

    The clients, in turn, can reap the rewards of their invention and exclude others from making, using, or selling similar products.

    If you’re considering hiring an attorney for your patent-related issues, here are specific services your attorney can render:

    Filing Patent Applications

    Patent attorneys prepare and file patent applications on behalf of inventors. They ensure that each application is prepared according to the legal requirements and USPTO guidelines in both form and content to reduce the chances of rejection.

    Before applying, they can help you conduct the necessary research on prior art and determine the patentability of your invention with their technical and legal knowledge. They can also help you select the appropriate type of patent protection for your invention.

    Responding to the USPTO

    After the patent application is filed, patent attorneys respond to any correspondence from the USPTO on their client’s behalf.

    Once you elect to be represented by an attorney for the patent application process, the USPTO would forward their letters, responses, or objections directly to your attorney, who would be sure to respond appropriately.

    If any modifications or changes to the application are required, they make sure to make the required changes within the stipulated time frame while giving you periodic updates on the status of your application. You can rest easy knowing that steps are being taken by a professional to protect your invention.

    Dealing With Patent Infringement

    If there is an infringement of an issued patent by another person or competitor, patent lawyers may help the clients with dealing with such illegal or unauthorized use by sending legal notices or suing in court, or both depending on the circumstances of the case.

    Representing Clients in Patent Litigation

    Your patent attorney can represent you in court if you’re involved in any patent litigation or licensing dispute. In addition to infringement-related litigation, patent lawyers also represent clients in court cases and appeals against the USPTO.

    A patent attorney can also recognize instances where an out-of-court settlement would best benefit their clients. In such cases, they can mediate settlements and save their clients from the stress of a lengthy court battle.

    Drafting Intellectual Property Related Contracts

    With their knowledge of contract laws, patent attorneys can help draft contracts that involve transferring technical knowledge or know-how.

    They can also prepare and advise on licensing and non-disclosure agreements according to the requirements of the law.

    Advising Clients on Other Intellectual Property Rights

    Unlike patent agents who are expressly prohibited from giving legal advice, patent lawyers can advise clients on patent law and Intellectual Property (IP) related legal issues.

    Patent law is generally classified as an arm of the broader intellectual property law. In many cases, a patent attorney also practices as a general IP Attorney and can counsel clients on matters related to trademark law, copyright law, designs, and other forms of intellectual property.

    If required by the client, they may help with comprehensive intellectual property protection that covers both patent and trademark registration and, in some instances, copyright protection.

    Do I Need a Patent Attorney to Obtain a Patent?

    While an inventor may file a patent application on their own or through patent agents, hiring a patent attorney is considered a wise decision from a long-term perspective. 

    The cost of hiring a patent attorney is often seen as an investment rather than an expense. This is because a patent attorney possesses legal and technical knowledge and experience. They can obtain the most robust protection possible for your invention under the law using their up-to-date legal, technical, and business knowledge. If the application is poorly drafted and all the claims that can be made are not covered, competitors may take advantage of the loopholes and work around the patent to create similar products. This could cause you to lose significant amounts of money.

    Having a patent attorney also reduces the chances of delays in the patent application process as they know how and when to respond to the USPTO. On the other hand, a poorly drafted patent application may lead to a rejection by the USPTO. 

    So, while an attorney doesn’t need to represent you for patent-related issues, you’ll likely need one to secure the rights to your invention for your peace of mind.

    Contact an Experienced Patent Lawyer at Evergreen Valley Law Group

    Filing and obtaining a patent is a complex and time-consuming process. At the Evergreen Valley Law Group, our team of experienced patent attorneys works with patent engineers to protect your innovations to the highest degree, regardless of how complicated the technology might seem.

    Contact EVLG lawyers if you have further questions or want to start the patent protection process. We are happy to help and represent you anytime.