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A patent attorney is an attorney who has the specialized qualifications necessary for representing clients in obtaining patents and acting in all matters and procedures relating to patent law and practice, such as filing an opposition.
The titles patent agent and patent lawyer are also used in some jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions the terms are interchangeable, while in others the latter is used only if the person qualified as a lawyer.
In India, a person registered to practice before Indian Patent Office is called a "Registered Patent Agent" or simply "Patent agent". The Indian Patent Law specifically does not mention the designation of "Patent Attorney". The Indian Patent Agent can thus be considered the counterpart of the Patent Attorney in Australia, EPO or Japan.
Indian Patent Office conducts a qualifying examination for patent agent registration yearly (earlier, it was twice a year). Indian Patent Law mandates a science or technical degree for person(s) to appear for the qualifying examination. Other criteria for eligibility include being an Indian Citizen, and 21 years of age. There are approximately 2000 registered patent agents in India as of April 1, 2010.
However, a decision on March 15, 2013 by the Madras High Court (Single Judge), stated that advocates, by possessing a law degree from a recognized university, have a right to file, appear and undertake all responsibilities of a patent agent. The single judge rejected the contention that to appear before the Patent Office, advocates required additional specific science/technical qualification such as B.Tech in Information Technology etc. According to this judgement, Advocates having degree in Engineering and Science are "Registered Patent Attorney" in India.
Role of the Patent Attorney
The role of the Patent Attorney is to assist their client in obtaining effective intellectual property rights for their innovations and developments, and to advise on the intellectual property rights of others.
Advantages of getting a patent. A patent gives you the right to stop others from copying, manufacturing, selling or importing your invention without your permission. See protecting intellectual property. You get protection for a pre-determined period, allowing you to keep competitors at bay.