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A patent attorney is an attorney who has the specialized skills and training necessary for representing clients in obtaining patents and acting in all matters and procedures relating to patent law and practice. For example, the patent attorney can not only file an application for a new patent but he can also try to stop the patent office from giving the patent to somebody else. The term is used differently in different countries, and thus may or may not require the same legal qualifications as a general legal practitioner (i.e., a lawyer).
The titles patent agent and patent lawyer are also used in some jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions the terms are interchangeable. In other countries, a patent lawyer must also be qualified as a lawyer.
Each patent office regulates the people who make filings. Patent attorneys can do this, but the patent office will not accept filings from other attorneys. Each patent office has its own rules about what a person has to do to become a patent attorney.
In Europe, requirements for practicing as patent attorney before national patent offices differ from those needed for practicing before the European Patent Office (EPO). On the national level, the requirements are not harmonized across the European Union, except that the EU makes sure that respective professional qualifications are mutually recognized to some degree. In the United States, the patent attorney must pass a special examination to test his knowledge of patent office procedures. Some countries allow lawyers who are not citizens to practice. Some countries will allow lawyers from a second country to make filings if the second country will do the same for lawyers from that first country. Many times, a patent attorney from a foreign country will work with a local attorney to make sure that the patent application for that country is filed correctly and quickly.
- Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys on IP Australia, the Australian Patent Office
- Australian Patent Attorney Directory, developed and maintained by the IDC (Industry Development Centre (Hunter) Ltd), a not-for-profit organisation established by the Australian Government
- Australian Patent Attorney Directory, free directory of patent attorney firms in Australia by capital city
- Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office or "European Patent Institute (epi)"
- The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) - United Kingdom
- Deutsche Patentanwaltskammer - German Chamber of Patent Attorneys, in German
- APTMA - Irish Association of Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys
- Institut national de la propriété industrielle in French
- Compagnie nationale des Conseils en Propriété Industrielle in French
- Centre d'Études Internationales de la Propriété Industrielle in French
- North America