What is a Patent Attorney?

This information explains the role of Patent Attorneys in Australia and more specifically in Sydney, NSW.

A patent attorney is a specialised legal profession who is qualified to represent inventors or patent applicants in front of the Australian Patent Office.

In Australia, a patent attorney is a separate qualification to being a lawyer or solicitor.

The Registry of Patent Attorneys is managed by the Professional Standards Board for Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys (Australia). Patent Attorneys operations are governed by Patents Act (Cth). There is also a Code of Conduct which Patent Attorneys are required to abide by. Most Patent Attorneys are also members of the Institute of Patent Attorneys (IPTA) which serves as a general representative body for patent attorneys across Australia.

Solicitors are generally overseen by the Law Society operating in each state of Australia and the Law Professional Act in each state. In NSW, the NSW Law Society administers regulations relating to solicitors operating in the state. The regulation governing ethics for solicitors is generally more codified and more rigid than that for patent attorneys. In NSW, Solicitors are also required to maintain Regulated Trust Rules and comply with the NSW Solicitor Rules.

Qualifications for a Patent Attorney

To be a patent attorney, you must hold at least undergraduate level in some technology which is potentially patentable. Most patent attorneys hold degrees in science or engineering. You must have also completed examinations which cover the topics stipulated by the PSB (there are several university postgraduate courses that satisfy these requirements).

Additionally, you will now also need to satisfy a work experience component to be fully qualified.