In Summary - Patent Agent / Attorney
Operating at the interface between the disciplines of law, language and science, gives legal and technical advice to people who want to protect their inventions.
Patent Agent / Attorneys typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos on the Web
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The Work - Patent Agent / Attorney
Also known as a Patent Attorney given the legal nature of their job, a Patent Agent works on behalf of an applicant in the process of achieving a patent, to determine if their invention really is new, is not obvious to someone working in the area for which it is intended, and has a practical use. The patent will only be granted if the government is satisfied that the claim meets these criteria.
Patent Agents are often able to give advice on how likely the invention is to be a commercial success. The Patent Agent must have the required scientific and technical knowledge to interpret drawings and prototypes, and to understand what the invention is.
The job of the Patent Agent is to produce a written document that clearly defines and describes the invention and submit it to the patents office for examination.
A patent examiner (in the government Patent Office) studies the document and searches through patent publications, technical databases and literature to ensure that the invention is novel and truly inventive. The Examiner sends a report of the search results to the Patent Agent, who helps the inventor to decide whether or not to proceed with the application.
If the Patent Office raises any objection to the application, the agent will act to obtain the best possible protection for the applicant's invention. Patent Agents also have the right to act as advocates in the courts. Patent agents have the legal skills to enforce their client's rights, for example, if the client discovers that someone else is selling their invention or claiming it as their own.
Patent Agents may go on to become European Patent Attorneys, entitling them to practise before the European Patents Office. Patent attorneys in the European Patent Office use the English, French and German languages to process patent applications from across the continent.
Interests - Patent Agent / Attorney
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
The Linguistic's interests are usually focused on ideas and information exchange. They tend to like reading a lot, and enjoy discussion about what has been said. Some will want to write about their own ideas and may follow a path towards journalism, story writing or editing. Others will develop skills in other languages, perhaps finding work as a translator or interpreter. Most Linguistic types will enjoy the opportunity to teach or instruct people in a topic they are interested in.
Patent Agents operate at the interface between the disciplines of law, language and science. You must have the ability and be willing to keep up-to-date with technological and legal developments in these areas.
Patent Agents must also have the ability to acquire, and enjoy exercising, the legal skills of drafting, analysis and logical thought. They must be able to use the English language aptly and accurately, in written work. In addition, because patents are increasingly international, a knowledge of at least French and German, is highly desirable, as this is the working language of the European Patents Office.
Patent Agents need strong communication skills to work with inventors, Patent Office staff and court officials. You will need confidence, and the ability to construct a logical and persuasive argument, when you represent an applicant in court. You must have good written skills to produce a clear description of the invention.
Patent Agents need commercial sense to consider how useful and profitable an invention will be.
To become a European Patent Attorney, you need a good reading knowledge of French and German, rather than fluency in either.
Entry Requirements - Patent Agent / Attorney
Pay & Salary - Patent Agent / Attorney
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 27k - 50k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Patent Agent / Attorney
Useful Contacts - Patent Agent / Attorney
Association of Patent and Trademark Attorneys (APTMA)
European Patent Office
- See website for individual location addresses
- Click Here
Irish Patents Office
The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA)