A patent lawyer is a legal expert who specializes in helping clients protect their inventions from unauthorized use by others. This is done by registering them with the patent office in their jurisdiction. If a person who holds a patent suspects that their invention was used without permission, the patent lawyer is someone who can help them take legal action against the person, corporation, or other entity that has behaved inappropriately.
Not only does a patent lawyer need to be a licensed attorney in the state, province, or country where he will be practicing, but he also needs to have a good background in science. This additional knowledge will help them to understand how their client's invention works. In North America, prospective lawyers need to complete an undergraduate degree before starting the three-year law school program.
A person who works as a patent lawyer would find it very helpful to have a background that includes biology, chemistry, or engineering. When a new client comes to see you for a legal consultation, you need to have enough knowledge that you understand what the client is trying to convey when they describe their invention. This background will also be helpful, since you will need to run a check to find all similar inventions that have already been granted patents. You need to be able to let your client know whether they are able to patent their invention or not.
In some situations, only a certain part of the invention may be patented, and the patent lawyer must be able to advise their clients about these points as well. Once the lawyer has determined that the client is able to patent his or her invention, he prepares the necessary forms for the Patent Office. If the patent is rejected, the lawyer may be able to revise the patent documentation so that it will be granted on a second attempt. Sometimes, the scope of the patent must be changed to allow an invention to be legally protected by patent legislation.
If you are interested in working as a patent lawyer, you can find work in a company that conducts research. Your duties would include registering patents for new inventions that are developed. Employment opportunities also exist at law firms that represent corporate clients who are involved in research and development. Some patent lawyers set up shop on their own and offer their services to individuals who have inventions that they want to protect.