What is a Patent Attorney?
Confused about the difference between Lawyers and Patent Attorneys? Solve the mystery that is the Patent Attorney.
Lawyer, Scientist or Engineer?
Although we are often mistaken for Lawyers, in Australia the Patent Attorney and legal professions are separate (the word "Attorney" means a representative - its original meaning before television convinced most people otherwise).
A Patent Attorney provides representation and advice regarding patenting and related intellectual property matters, such as preparing and filing Patent Applications for inventions, representation in matters before the Patent Office, Patent oppositions and advising in relation to Patent infringement.
A Patent Attorney has a background in technology, overlaid with further qualifications in the law and practice of intellectual property. A Patent Attorney has a degree or other qualification in a field of patentable technology - traditionally in science or engineering, though this has broadened over recent years - to give the skills to understand and assimilate the technology of our client's inventions.
The qualifications in intellectual property law and practice consist of a series of courses accredited by the Professional Standards Board. These courses were run by the Board itself but these are now outsourced to universities and academies, such as the Master of Intellectual Property course at University of Technology, Sydney, or the other accredited courses listed at the Professional Standards Board website.
The courses for becoming a Patent Attorney include all of the courses necessary to become a Trade Mark Attorney, and it is usual that a Patent Attorney will also be registered as a Trade Mark Attorney.
A common career path for an aspiring Patent Attorney will include several years, at least, working as a trainee Patent Attorney (also called a technical assistant) under supervision of a Registered Patent Attorney while studying for registration.
The Professional Standards Board maintains the Registers of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, publishes a Code Of Conduct and administers the disciplinary regime for the profession.