Patent Agent vs. Attorney
Patent agents and patent attorneys/lawyers have expertise in assisting inventors obtain IP (intellectual property) protection of their ideas and inventions. Individuals claiming to be a patent attorney or patent lawyer or patent agent must have passed the Patent Bar Examination. In order to qualify for the Patent Bar, patent agents and patent attorneys must have a university degree in an approved technical field (e.g., engineering) or an area of science (e.g., biology, physics).

The difference between patent attorneys and patent agents is straightforward - patent agents are not attorneys-at-law, and as such, cannot conduct patent litigation in the courts or perform certain other services which are considered by the local jurisdiction as practicing law.

Otherwise, both patent attorneys and patent agents are able to prepare and pursue a patent application through the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office). The USPTO typically regards registered patent agents to be just as well qualified as patent attorneys. The hourly rates charged by patent agents are usually less than rates charged by patent attorneys/lawyers and thus the client may be able to realize considerable patent cost savings in prosecuting patents with the USPTO by utilizing the services of a patent agent instead of a patent attorney/lawyer.

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