A question that often comes amongst Start-ups or Individuals in India w.r.t the Patent Registration is “Should they look out for a Patent Attorney or a Patent Agent in India”. Well!! The below Article will help you (Start-ups or Individuals) in Choosing either a Patent Attorney or a Patent Agent!
What is a Patent?
In layman terms, A patent is a 20-year legal protection provided to an inventor for his/her invention. The patent holder can exclude others from making, using, selling and importing their invention in a respective country. The people who help you in obtaining a Patent and protecting your Invention are called Patent Attorneys and Patent Agents.
Who is a Patent Attorney and a Patent Agent?
Generally, both the terms are used interchangeably, as both of them have many similarities, but similar does not mean the same! Have you ever thought that what is the difference between a Patent Attorney and a Patent Agent and how it may affect you?
Let us take a brief look into both the profiles:
A Registered Patent Attorney is a person, who holds a technical degree i.e. in science, engineering or technology, a law degree i.e. LLB, has qualified the Indian Patent Agent Examination, and is registered with the Indian Patent Office to practice before the controller of patents. Therefore, in a Techno-legal domain like patents, a Patent Attorney can draft and file Patent Applications, provide legal opinions on patent related matters such as infringement, send legal notices for patent infringement, represent the Client in Appellate Board and Courts for Patent related cases, and based on experience recommend a legal strategy for developing patent portfolios.
A Registered Patent Agent is a person who has technical expertise i.e. has obtained a degree in science, engineering or technology and has passed the Indian Patent Agent Examination. The Patent Agents are responsible for drafting and filing of Patent Applications, but their services are limited to activities, which relate to the controller of patents as per Section 127 of the Indian Patent Act 1970. In simple terms, the Patent Agents have a limited right to represent their clients in proceedings/issues related to patents only in front of the controller and cannot provide any legal opinion or send legal notices.
When to choose a Patent Attorney or Patent Agent?
The Registered Patent Attorney and Registered Patent Agent can draft and file the patent applications for Protecting your Invention. They can also help you get a Patent granted. However, it is important to note that since Patent is a Techno- Legal subject and Patent Attorney has a better understanding in the legal domain, he is in a better position to foresee the legal issues that may surface in future and may help to obtain better protection. The knowledge of law also helps the Patent Attorneys to advise clients with a broader view of the various patent related issues as in the end it is a Techno-Legal matter.