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To become a registered patent attorney, you may need to fulfill requirements that largely depends on your country of residence. Normally, some countries require obtaining an undergraduate degree in a technical field such as computer science or engineering. Afterward, you can complete a law degree and pass an examination designed specifically for patent attorneys. Other countries might require work experience at a law firm that handles patent issues.
Actual requirements to become a registered patent attorney may vary based on the country in which you live. Generally, the U.S. requires a law degree and registration with the government agency responsible for this area of law. Other countries such as Australia have less stringent academic requirements to become a registered patent attorney.
In the U.S, you could register with the patent office after receiving a law degree and admittance to practice law. Typically, you will apply to the agency responsible for granting registered status to patent attorneys. This is accomplished by completing an application with supporting documentation that qualifications for this status are met.
Registrations are usually accepted once you pass an examination on patent laws and procedures. In most cases, you will need to study essential areas covered on the exam to become a registered patent attorney. Some of these areas include code of conduct and understanding national and international intellectual property concepts.
Before registration is accepted, you might also need to demonstrate competencies in several areas of the patent examination. These competencies reflect your knowledge of local and regional patent law. One competency area is the ability to apply legal principles to advise clients about patent issues or potential violations. Another competency area is the ability to articulate protections granted to clients under local and regional laws concerning patent issues. A third competency area is associated with knowing how to secure patent protection for clients, based on governing laws. You may also need to have knowledge of ethical conduct in legal issues.
Unlike the U.S., if you live in Australia, you can register with a governing agency without obtaining a law degree. Several years of work experience in the patent field could allow you to become a registered patent attorney. In general, work experience in Australia provides a cross-training in a range of patent-related functions and issues.
For example, you could work in a firm that is responsible for conducting patent searches when a client wants to submit a new application. Experience with the process of prosecuting patent violations in the country could apply to this requirement. Additionally, this type of work experience can teach you what to expect when foreign patent violations occur.