What is a Patent Attorney?

If you are looking at getting an invention patented, it is a good idea to get the patent application put together and filed by a patent attorney... 
But what is a patent attorney (in Australia)? 


In Australia, a patent attorney refers to an attorney who specialises in patents, and intellectual property protection. A patent attorney is different from a patent lawyer, since they cannot represent a client in court (being a patent attorney does not make you a lawyer). Being a Patent Attorney often allows you to practice as a Trade Marks attorney!  
A patent attorney will be able to help you reach legislative requirements for all your intellectual property needs. 


A patent attorney can:  - Draft patents and patent specifications  - File patent applications  - Conduct patent searches  - Represent matters before the patent office  - Give advice in regards to patent infringement  - Give advice to clients on management of their intellectual property portfolio 
 - Provide services as a Trade Mark Attorney 

Get this as a Wall Art Poster  

Patent attorneys must adhere to a pretty solid set of behaviour and professional conduct, which is outlines within the Code of Conduct for Patent Attorneys. To access the Code of Conduct for Patent Attorneys - go to https://www.psb.gov.au/code-conduct 

I want to be a Patent Attorney... 
How can I become a Patent Attorney (in Australia)? 
 Becoming an Australia Patent Attorney is a relatively simple process, in that there are specific steps and study you must do to get there. You must pass a set of 9 area, which cover the body of knowledge for a Patent and Trade Marks Attorney, these include: 

  • Legal Process and Overview of Intellectual Property 
  • Professional Conduct 
  • Trade Mark Law 
  • Patent Law 
  • Designs Law 
  • Trade Marks Practice 
  • Patent Systems 
  • Drafting Patent Specifications 
  • Interpretation and Validation of Patent Specifications 

In Australia, there are four courses as recommended that offer all the subjects required to become a Patent Attorney: 

University of Technology Sydney: Master of Intellectual Property (All Online) - http://www.uts.edu.au/future-students/find-a-course/courses/c04251  University of Melbourne: Masters of Intellectual Property Law - http://law.unimelb.edu.au/study/masters/courses/277AA  Monash University: Master of Intellectual Property and Communications Law - https://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/handbooks/courses/L6003.html  Queensland University of Technology: Master of Laws in Intellectual Property - https://www.qut.edu.au/study/international-courses/master-of-laws-in-intellectual-property 

Once you have finished one of these courses, or equivalents to these courses, you must become approves by the Professional Standards Board (PSB). This will follow on without much problem once you have passed the required subject areas! 

You must ensure that you are: 
  • Of good fame and character 
  • Have not been convicted of a prescribed offence during the past 5 years (as set out in the Act) 
  • Not under sentence of imprisonment for a prescribed offence 
Experience is also required! You must have 2 years’ experience (completed within 5 years), whilst working with a Registered Patent attorney, in: 
  • Searching patent records 
  • Filing and prosecuting from patent records 
  • Drafting patent specifications 
  • Providing advice on the interpretation, validity and infringement of patents. 

Once you have this, you must then get a statement of skill from a registered patent attorney with at least 5 years’ experience (hint – the one you worked under should be good!). Though in extreme circumstances, you can apply to the PSB and they may supply this for you. 

Finally, you must register your name in the register of patent attorneys! This will be completed by the “Designated Manager appointed by the secretary of the department of Industry, Innovation, and Science. As of 2018, this is held by IP Australia’s Director General – Patricia Kelly. 

Finally, there are some general fees and paperwork that need to be completed and maintained, but you are now set to be a Patent Attorney! If you are at this point – congratulations! 


For everyone else who is still in this process, or thinking about it -GET OUT THERE and BECOME a Patent Attorney! 

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