Patent Agents


Exploring this Job

Spend time on the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Web site to learn more about patents. Visit the legal services section to find out more about patent practitioners, including patent agents. Another good way to gain exposure to this field is through an internship or entry-level job at an agency or firm that handles intellectual property cases and patent applications. The USPTO offers student internship and volunteer programs that provide opportunities to learn more about the different types of patent practices and gain working knowledge of the patent decision-making process. Visit the Web site for more details: https://www.uspto.gov/jobs/student-programs. Search online employment sites as well, such as Indeed.com and Monster.com, to find assistant patent agent job listings.

The Job

Patent agents have passed the Patent Bar exam issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Registered patent agents are authorized by the U.S. government to prepare, file, and prosecute (before the USPTO but not a court of law) patent applications on the behalf of their clients. They use their background in engineering or science to assist inventors with the application process, acting as liaison between inventors and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. They learn more about the invention, conduct research to see if there are other inventions out there like it, and assess the invention to determine if it qualifies for intellectual property protection. Patent agents resolve any questions the USPTO may have about the invention. Inventors may also authorize patent agents to handle any questions the USPTO may have about the patent application. Employers of patent agents include the federal government, corporations, private sector companies, private individuals, pharmaceutical companies, and universities.