Patent Attorney – Definition

Cite this article as:"Patent Attorney – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated September 27, 2019, last accessed October 20, 2020,

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Patent Attorney Definition

A patent attorney refers to a lawyer with professionalism in intellectual property law relating to securing and safeguarding the property rights of an inventor. Patent attorneys must have passed a federal exam known as the patent bar exam which licenses them to represent clients before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). They must have passed the state bar exam as well which is mandatory for all attorneys to pass. Patents are granted to inventors of unique, effective, and unpopular inventions. Other countries might have various qualifications or certifications for patent attorneys or have patent processes which may need no more than someone with general legal qualifications.

A Little More on What is a Patent Attorney

Patent attorneys are professionals in preparing, as well as, filing patent applications and also representing clients in court for patent-related cases like licensing, re-examination, and infringement. It’s also mandatory that they are experts in one or more technical fields important to comprehending a client’s inventions, like computer science or biotechnology. Patent attorneys are also certified to give patentability opinions in court. Patent attorneys must be admitted to either a territory or state bar association, or that of the District of Columbia. U.S. patent attorneys.

Patent Attorney Examination

The USPTO registration examination, formally referred to as the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office or the “patent bar”, evaluates the applicant’s knowledge of federal rules and regulations, patent procedures, and ethical guidelines. The exam, which has 100 multiple-choice questions, is offered throughout the year. Candidates have just six hours to successfully complete the test and it’s divided into two sessions. The morning three-hour session consists of 50 questions each and also 50 questions in the afternoon. For more, check out the USPTO’s Registration Examination informational page.

Patent Attorney vs. Patent Agent

Do not mistake a patent attorney for a patent agent. In the U.S., patent agents can execute many of the same tasks as patent attorneys, including representing clients before the USPTO, but not in other legal contexts, like prosecution of a patent infringement.

While you can go on to file a patent application by yourself, the USPTO recommends that you hire a patent attorney or agent. If you require the services of a patent attorney, click here to utilize the USPTO website’s search list of attorneys licensed to practice before the USPTO. The patent office doesn’t recommend patent attorneys neither do they regulate patent attorney fees.

Patent Attorney vs. Intellectual Property Attorney

Also, while patents are an intellectual property type, you shouldn’t hire an intellectual property attorney once you’re in need of a patent attorney. Intellectual property attorneys haven’t passed the patent bar exam and they aren’t licensed by the USPTO. In addition, they don’t really have technical expertise.

References for “Patent Attorney”


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