How to become a patent agent

A detailed description of how to become a patent agent

Who is a patent agent?

A licensed agent of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, whose job is to advise and assist an inventor for getting patent or applying for a patent is known as a patent agent. Their main function is assisting an inventor for filing a patent application and all works associated with such filing. They help the applicant in search of prior art, completion of all paperwork involved in the course of application, and also to work on revising of rejected patent application.

The USPTO is of the opinion and prefers that for completion of the complex procedure of patent application an applicant should always take the help of a patent agent. A patent agent can perform many duties like representing an applicant in the USPTO. The patent agent, unlike a patent attorney, is not capable of appearing in the patent infringement court on behalf of the applicant.

The question is, how to become a patent agent and this article will help to understand the procedure in an easier way.

Difference between a patent agent and patent attorney:

A patent agent’s function may coincide with that of a patent attorney’s but there is a hairline difference between a patent agent and a patent attorney. A patent agent is a cheaper option when it comes to filing a patent application to the USPTO in respect to a patent attorney. The patent attorney will cost the inventor more bucks for just filing an application in which a patent agent is a specialist. But there are some functions which a patent agent cannot perform. An agent cannot represent a patent applicant in the patent infringement court, which a patent attorney is the only capable of.

Qualification required for becoming a patent agent:

The primary educational criteria for becoming a patent agent does not require attending law school or clearing the state bar examination. Any bachelor’s degree holder or even higher can be a patent agent. The USPTO has set a qualifying examination which is like a patent bar exam. If a candidate successfully clears the examination he is automatically registered with the USPTO as a patent agent.

The qualification of an aspiring patent agent is very much relevant because the patent granting procedure requires an agent’s expertise in science and technology.  The person applying should have documented evidence that he has studied and is knowledgeable enough in all physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology. This requirement is very crucial to judge an invention and help the inventor in the application for grant of a patent. Any person who has a degree in any other subjects must have had some scientific training or any other additional courses, the failure of which will make him incompetent for appearing for the patent bar exam.

A patent agent may be in the profession before appearing or while appearing for the patent bar examination and may also hold a PhD degree. The only requisite is knowledge of science and technology or from such relevant profession.

The pattern of the examination conducted by USPTO:

The examination conducted by USPTO focuses on judging the applicant’s knowledge about federal rules, patent laws, regulations, patent procedure and ethical guidelines. The questionnaire includes 100 questions of MCQ pattern, which is divided into two groups of 50 question each with a time limit of 3 hours for each group. The examination is conducted in two halves, the first session in the morning and second in the afternoon. The examination is conducted all the year round so the applicant can appear any time feasible.

Disqualifying ground for the patent bar examination:

After all discussion on how to become a patent agent, the points of disqualification should also be mentioned. Any person convicted of a crime or has completed a sentence for crime within two years are held incompetent for appearing in patent bar examination. For such person proof of reform and rehabilitation also does not apply.

Any person who lacks a good moral and has been debarred from their profession due to such reason are ineligible to appear for the examination.

The USPTO is the deciding authority as to the final selection of the candidates. Any unsuccessful candidate may reappear for the examination provides they are not disqualified for the above mentioned reasons.

Hope this will give a clear idea on how to become a patent agent and make it a profession.

Patent Application Preparation, Filing and Prosecution basics for Inventors

Patent Application Preparation

As an Inventor you need to be aware of some of the basics or components of preparing, filing, and prosecution procedures for a Patent Application.

Some of the components and related language of Patent Application are:
• Patent Specifications, patent drawings,
• The Filing Date,
• The Claims,
• The Priority claim,
• Patent Security recommendations,
• Patent Publication,
• Patent Pending,
• Patentable Subject matter.

The Patent Claims can be described as the most important part of the Patent, it describes what is new and original in the invention for which patent is being applied for, the patent claims also clearly states the scope under which a patent will be protected. Patent specification normally contains the details of the background and general overview of what an Invention is all about, it may contain figures, and data to back up claims or explain the invention, as well as an abstract and summary of the invention procedures, techniques and systems.

Different countries patent offices have different requirements in regards to Inventors’ Patent specifications and prosecution. It is advisable to get familiar with your country specific requirement to avoid any delay in patent processing.
The claims of a patent specification generally define the scope of protection offered on a patent. This is the legal description of an invention and it is one of the most important components that can speed up your patent application. Inventors use their claims to set out the component that can infringe the patent.

The claims made by an inventor can have some other dependent claims that can narrow down the protection of patents by defining other specific features of the invention.
The filing date of your patent application is the rule that sets up a cut-off period after which any public disclosures will not be allowed to be part of the patent filing procedure.

The rule of Patent application is that the first person to make an application for the protection of an invention will be considered as the owner of such patent, therefore it is important for inventors to note the filing date when preparing their applications.
In order to get a filing date, the regulations set out by the patent office must be carefully followed especially through the documents filed. The patent office usually notifies an applicant if the requirements for a filing date are not met. It is also possible to make any corrections on your patent application without any shift on your filing date.

Priority Claim references a situation where a Patent application claims priority from a previously filed application in order to take advantage of any information disclosed on such a previous application. Inventors can make use of the opportunity in priority claim to increase their chances of getting their inventions patented, most especially when the prior filing date reduces the number of disclosures you can make.
Security recommendations are integral part of the Patent application procedures.  Patent offices may ask inventors seeking a Patent to obtain security clearance before their application is approved or submitted. Security rules differ in different patent offices, but in most cases, all patent applications are normally reviewed and any security concerns will be communicated to the inventor applying for patent. Also, making Patent application in a country other than your home country may warrant some patent security checks.

The Patent Publication are normally made some 18 months to 24 months after the earliest priority date of the Patent application. Just before the publication date, a patent application remains confidential to the patent office, and some parts of the patent application remain confidential to the patent office even after the publication day. The publication date is the official date at which a patented invention is made available.

Patent Pending simply means a warning to a third party that is it infringing on the rights of the original inventor of an idea or invention. This warning is normally send to the infringement culprit after a patent has been awarded to the original inventor. Inventors are usually advised to label their inventions “Patent Pending” so that third parties who are not aware of the patent application will know.
The patentable subject matter is often a major issue of discuss among some concerned experts. Many have argued that the first inventor to submit a patent application on an invention may not always be the main inventor of such invention, therefore experts recommend that Patent offices will need to take some precautionary steps when awarding patent rights on some inventions , they need to consider any objection that can come from other inventors before deciding who originally owns an invention.

Protecting your inventions and getting a patent to cover it has now become easy, especially when you seek the help of professional patent attorney or Patent Agent to handle the legal procedures for you. Inventnet.com provides you a patent attorney directory where you can always refer to if you want a legal representation to protect your inventions and get your Patent application filed. Our dedication to patent rights , and application filing will guaranty your success.

Basics of Patent Application

Most independent Inventors are confused about revealing their inventions to potential manufacturers or third party partners without the risk of such people stealing their inventions. Luckily there are several Patent Application agents that offer legal services to inventors who want to follow the authorized procedures when disclosing their inventions.
Few inventors will rely on trust especially when disclosing their new inventions, but with a credible agency, there is no need to worry about such issues. New Inventors also need to be aware of the recent patent law revisions that state that, any public sale or disclosure prior to filing a patent application will seriously reduce your chances of getting approval for patent application. Apart from the revisions in Patent rules, new Inventors should be aware of some Patent basics.
Patent Application can be referred to as a “Patent pending” at a Patent office for the purpose of acquiring a patent for a genuine invention that has been described and claimed by the Applicant. The application for a Patent is supported by application forms as well as Patent specification {a description of the invention}.
The application for a patent is usually supported by some correspondence that relate closely to the Invention. In order to receive a grant of patent on an original invention, the applicant must file an application at a regional Patent office and the office examines all supporting documents before granting a patent in a specified Geographical region.
Patent Prosecution is normally one of the procedures for Patent application and it is the process of arguing or negotiating and interacting with the patent office before the patent is granted. Patent Defense is quite different from Patent prosecution; Patent defense involves some legal proceedings on any third party claiming infringement on a patented invention.
There are different types of Patent application and depending on the office where your application is filed; you may get a National, Regional or International Patent. There are also four different types of applications for patent, these are;
• Standard Application,
•Provisional application,
•Continuation application, and
• Divisional application.
A Standard Application can be described as a type of Patent application that normally involves all the necessary parts of the application; these parts include claims and written descriptions of the Invention. All the necessary parts of this application are needed before a Patent can be granted. An applicant for this type of patent may or may not be successful; it all depends on findings from preliminary observations or examinations by the Patent office. A standard application for patent is also referred to as the “Non Provisional application”.
Provisional patent Application is a type of application that can be filed at any patent office, it allows the applicant place an application on file, and obtain a filing date. Provisional application for patent is often less time consuming than Standard applications because some of the complexities in standard applications can be avoid here. The disclosure for provisional application for patient is normally within 1 year and it can be incorporated into a standard application. You need to renew a provisional application for patent because it expires normally after 1 year.
Continuation Patent Application is an application that can be filed as a continuation of a previously filed application. This type of application is quite convenient especially if you want include more materials when the priority year has expired. This type of application can be a refinement of your previous application for patent; therefore it can be a continuation patent, or a continuation-in-part patent application.
Divisional Patent application is a type of application that has been divided from a previous application. This application simply is made when a component of an invention needs to be patented separately by the inventor. A divisional application can only be filed on a single subject matter that has been separated from its parent invention. Though a subject matter may be awarded a divisional patent, it will still retain the filing and priority date of the Patented Parent. Divisional patent is the most suitable for individuals who make new inventions out of a single primary invention.
Depending on the type of Patent application you filed, you might get a Regional, National or International Patent grant. The Regional grant gives you a patent over an invention within your locality or region, this simply means, your patent right confines your invention within the specified area. The National Patent right gives you the right to own your invention all over your country while the International Patent right gives you the right to own your invention all over the world {or in some other countries specified}.
The best possible way to simplify your Patent application procedure is to get the services of a Patent Attorney and this is why Inventnet is right there to help you protect your Interest. You can quickly locate an Attorney on our website- inventnet.com by searching our Patent Attorney directory. We have helped thousands of other inventors like you, let Us help you too!

Patent Searching

Tutorials

Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) staff are available to provide training on U.S. patent search processes and research tools including the PubWEST database, and the USPTO website .

 Classification

  1. Brainstorm keywords related to the purpose, use and composition of the invention.
  2. Look up the words in the Index to the U.S. Patent Classification to find potential class/subclasses.
  3. Verify the relevancy of the class/subclasses by using the Classification Schedule in the Manual of Classification .
  4. Read the Classification Definitions to verify the scope of the subclasses and note “see also” references.

Access Full-Text

    5. Search the Issued Patents and the Published Applications databases by “Current US Classification” and access full-text patents and published applications.

Review and References

  1. Review the claims, specifications and drawings of documents retrieved for relevancy.
  2. Check all references and note the “U.S. Cl.” and “Field of Search” areas for additional class/subclasses to search.

The USPTO has a lot of information regarding patent searching including a video tutorial.

You can search, view or print patents online at:

USPTO Search Patents and Published Applications

GOOGLE Patents

EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE