Hi.  My name is Mark Trenner.  I’m a patent attorney.  I started my law firm, the Trenner Law Firm, in 2004, that is over 10 years now that I’ve been practicing in my own law firm, helping individual inventors, small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups protect their inventions with patent applications.  In the over fifteen years that I’ve been registered with the Patent office, I’ve written hundreds of patent applications.

But, today I’m here to answer the question, should I work with a patent agent or with a patent attorney. The answer to that is, it depends.  Now there are a couple of things that a patent attorney can do that a patent agent cannot do.  A patent agent has a technical degree, like an engineering degree or science degree, and they passed the patent bar and hopefully they have some experience writing patent applications and working with the examiners at the patent office.  The same thing goes for patent attorneys but patent attorneys have also gone to law school and passed a bar exam in at least one of the states.  For example, I’ve passed the Colorado bar exam.  I was a patent agent in 1998 while I was in law school because I passed the patent bar exam.  Then I became a patent attorney when I passed the Colorado bar exam in 1999.  Now, who should you work with?  It depends.  Sometimes patent agents can be less expensive, all though that it is not always the case.  Patent agents cannot practice law, they cannot give you legal advice.  They cannot say whether you will infringe on someone else’s patent.  They can’t negotiate a license, they can’t write an assignment of your patent application for you.  So, if you think that you’re going to do any of those things, you might want to work with a patent attorney.  A lot of patent attorneys can also help you with a copyright registration or a trademark application.  So, if you think you might need a trademark for the name of your invention, you might want to just start off working with a patent attorney.  For example, I help inventors all the time with patents, trademarks and copyrights whereas a patent agent can only practice before the patent office.  So, whether you want to work with a patent agent or a patent attorney, it’s up to you. Just understand there are some restrictions on things that patent agents can’t do that patent attorneys may be able to help you with.

My name is Mark Trenner.  I’m a patent attorney.    I hope that I answered your question of should I work with a patent agent or a patent attorney.

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