The Patent Practice of

Szmanda & Shelnut, LLC


Our Services


Questions?  Call us at

(508) 517 2839 for a

free consultation.

Patent Agents and Patent Attorneys

Patent agents and patent attorneys perform exactly the same duties before the United States Patent and Trademark office.  The difference is that patent agents do not litigate in the courts or negotiate and prepare contracts. 

Patent agents and patent attorneys are the only professionals who are fully licensed to practice in patent matters before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Like patent attorneys, patent agents must pass the USPTO registration examination, commonly called the Patent Bar examination or serve as a patent examiner for a number of years.  In order to qualify to take the Patent Bar examination, an individual must be an engineer, a scientist or have an alternative technical background approved by the USPTO.

Both patent agents and attorneys -

  • Perform patent searches and provide patentability opinions.

  • Prepare and file patent applications with the USPTO or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

  • Prosecute patent applications before the USPTO.

  • File patent assignments with the USPTO.

  • Represent clients in one party and two party reexamination proceedings, patent appeals and interference proceedings. 

  • Help clients design and implement patent and business strategies.         

Are there things that a patent attorney may do that a patent agent may not do?

  • Yes.  Patent agents do not practice before the courts.  In addition, patent agents may not represent clients in contractual negotiations.  Such matters are properly handled only by attorneys. 

Why Should I Hire A Patent Agent Rather Than A Patent Attorney? 

  • Patent agents are in every way as qualified as attorneys to represent clients in all proceedings before the USPTO.

  • Price is a consideration.  While patent attorneys usually bill at high hourly rates, our firm can be flexible in billing by the hour or by negotiating a fixed price for a given job.  Initial consultations are always free of charge.  Occasional questions by phone or e-mail are not billed.

  • Our firm is staffed by experienced technical professionals who can comprehend your invention quickly and prepare patent applications that give you the broadest possible protection.





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This site was last updated 06/24/11