California Patent Agents
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not recommend individual patent agents, but it does strongly recommend that "all prospective applicants retain the services of a registered patent attorney or patent agent to prepare and prosecute their applications."
While a patent agent is not required to be an attorney at law, patent agents do have to meet other certain requirements in order to become registered by the USPTO. They must pass a required exam and show that they have the necessary legal, and scientific and technical qualifications to work as a patent agent. They must also be of "good moral character and repute."
The USPTO web page "Attorneys and Agents" gives information about patent agents and describes some of the differences. Patent attorneys must be an attorney at law and can provide additional services in the course of practicing law, such as litigation. Patent agents must also be registered with the USPTO and meet the requirements for registration, but are not allowed to perform any services which would be considered as practicing law.
Both are required to pass the difficult registration exam. Here are sample questions and answers from past USPTO Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) registration exams, commonly referred to as the Patent Bar Exam.
- Here is a searchable listing of Registered Attorneys and Patent Agents from the USPTO.
- Here is the USPTO California list of Registered Attorneys and Patent Agents.
- The National Association of Patent Practioners (NAAP) site allows you to search its membership by state and by specialty area such as "biotech," "nanotechnology," or "software." Many NAAP members are patent agents. Use the search form to limit your search to Patent Practioners in California or in a particular geographic area of California.
You can also use Google to search for pagent agents and law and intellectual property firms dealing with patent law who employ patent agents. Try searches like the following to narrow your search results to California and cities in California.
"patent agents" California
"Patent Law" California
"San Francisco, CA" "Patent Agents"
"Los Angeles" "patent agent"
California "patent law firms"
"Intellectual Property" San Francisco
Want to know more about applying for patents? Thsese are two of the best books:
Why should you hire a patent agent? This great video explains why.
5 Reasons to Hire a Patent Attorney or Patent Agent
Patent Agent State Listings
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