Are Patent Attorneys Lawyers? Houston Texas Patent Law Firm
The other day, a curious conversation came up in the office. Out of the blues, a client had emailed seeking the differences between a patent attorney and a patent lawyer and whether a patent lawyer can be referred to as a lawyer. At first, we all laughed it off because on paper, it sounded like a straightforward question which required a yes or no question.
We debated amongst ourselves over the lunch break and it took the intervention of our CEO to unravel the limbo. To help our client and any other person looking for clarification on the matter, we decided to do a blog post addressing the difference between patent attorneys and patent lawyers.
So, who is a patent attorney? How is a patent attorney different from a patent lawyer? Can a patent attorney be referred to as a lawyer? Here is a legal definition of the terms attorney and lawyer to help you understand the differences between the two.
A patent attorney
In the United States, an attorney is someone who is legally qualified to offer legal counsel, defend actions in court on the retainer of the clients and are legally allowed to prosecute those found culpable. A patent attorney is therefore someone who has gone to school and graduated with a degree from law school and is able to practice at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Before becoming a patent attorney, an individual needs to pass the state bar exams as well as the US Patent and Trademark Office exams. Once they have satisfied the board of examiners, they can then proceed to process their practicing licenses and begin operations.
Roles of a patent attorney include advising individuals on matters pertaining trademarks, patents and how to go about contracts other related matters. The can advise on Intellectual property and help IP owners to register and make patent applications.
They are also capable of transferring technology by licensing, can conduct litigations, conduct IP audits of companies and newly inventions, help in determining whether a new invention is unique enough to warrant patenting, determine the ambit of inventions and also help their customers and clients to manage their portfolios.
A good example of a patent attorney, is our CEO here at Patent Panda-Tony Guo. To get to where he is today, Tony had to go through law school and sit the state bar examinations and then the USPTO examinations before being granted the permission to operate in Texas as a patent attorney. Tony is very experienced and has helped thousands of local companies to successfully make patent applications.
A patent lawyer
In the United States, the word attorney and lawyer are used interchangeably and one can be forgiven for thinking that they represent the same thing. Although the two terms mean pretty much the same thing, there is a slight difference in meaning as illustrated in the legal definition of the term lawyer.
According to the American Law, a lawyer is anyone who is learned and is trained in the US federal and state laws but that does not necessarily mean that the said individuals practice law. For one to be regarded as a lawyer, he/she has to pass the bar examinations in their particular jurisdiction which in our case is in patenting.
Unlike attorneys who are always getting opportunities to practice their law education, lawyers don’t have as many opportunities and are passive enforces of their acquired expertise.
So, can a patent attorney be called a lawyer? Yes, a patent attorney is technically a lawyer because he has all the qualifications required for one to be referred to as a lawyer. On the other hand, a patent lawyer, or any other lawyer for that matter, cannot be referred to as an attorney. This begs the question of who is better between a patent lawyer and a patent attorney.
Who is better?
Because of their active involvement in patent law, it goes without saying that patent attorneys are the best choice when it comes to seeking legal counsel on trademarks, patents and whatnot. They are actively involved in the trade and are best placed to represent your company or help a startup to make a patent application.
Their scope of services is bigger and better than that of a patent lawyer and this makes them the safest bet. This does not however mean that patent lawyers are useless. They have their own expertise and will offer excellent legal advice and counsel when approached.
Here at Patent Panda, we are home to arguably Texas’ best patent attorney and if you are a company looking to hire the best patent attorney in Texas, look no further than our way. We have helped thousands of companies and startups in Texas to understand patents, contracts and trademarks and you should let us take your company or business to the next level as well. Give us a call today and we will gladly be of service to you.