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The Differences Between Intellectual Property Professionals

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Intellectual property law is a huge part of modern society. The ability to protect and commercially exploit unique ideas with the help of lawyers and patent attorneys helps businesses and individuals to thrive. Australia enjoys particularly robust IP laws that allow local inventors to make the most of their innovations through patents, trade marks, copyright, design registration and licensing. Each of these areas of the law is complex, and many require expert-level knowledge of complicated science fields. To reflect that level of difficulty, Australia’s system involves a range of intellectual property professionals who are charged with drafting, filing, prosecuting and protecting their clients’ IP.

Patent Attorneys

Australian patent attorneys are a special class of legal representatives that deal solely in drafting, filing and prosecuting patents. It’s important to note that patent attorneys aren’t lawyers and they aren’t required to hold a legal degree. That means a patent attorney isn’t qualified to represent their clients in any dealings with the court.

Patents are often incredibly complex documents that require input from subject matter experts. Part of the patent review process involves having the application reviewed by industry professionals. Their job is to ensure that the patent meets certain technological and innovation requirements and assess whether the invention is unique. Therefore, preparing this documentation also requires a trained eye, which is why patent attorneys are required to hold a Bachelor, Masters or PhD in the sciences. In addition to a STEM qualification, patent attorneys are required to undertake a Masters in Intellectual Property (MIP) degree. This degree includes in-depth instruction on patents, trade marks, design and IP law. Along with their degree, aspiring patent attorneys undertake a 2 year apprenticeship with a qualified patent attorney. After completing their study and apprenticeship, the trainee can apply to the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board to receive their registration.

With very few exceptions, patent attorneys are the only professionals allowed to undertake patent works in Australia. That means drafting and filing patents cannot be handled by other professionals who aren’t registered as patent attorneys.

Trade Marks Attorneys

Trade marks attorneys are similar to patent attorneys. They are legal representatives who specialise in drafting, filing and prosecuting trade mark applications and protections. To become a trade marks attorney in Australia, you need to hold a Diploma or higher, although your qualification isn’t required to be in the intellectual property field. Additionally, trade marks attorneys are required to meet certain knowledge requirements. The Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board offers a number of accredited courses that can be used to gain the requisite understanding of intellectual property law. On the other hand, when you are charged of stealing intellectual property, you will be more benefited with hiring a criminal defense lawyers in Timeshare Exit Solutions.

Unlike with patents, there’s no specific requirement to be registered as a trade marks attorney to draft, file and prosecute trade marks. The industry and its related legislation is far less complicated than patents. That means an IP lawyer will also be allowed to perform these duties.

IP Lawyers

IP lawyers are the final type of intellectual property professional in Australia. Whereas patent attorneys and trade marks attorneys don’t need to hold a legal degree, an IP lawyer is specifically required to have one. IP law is a specialist legal field. Just like some lawyers focus on family law or criminal law, IP lawyers only deal with intellectual property matters. IP lawyers deal with all types of work relating to patents, trade marks, copyright, design registration and more.

Importantly, IP lawyers aren’t required to be subject matter experts in the sciences. This means they don’t have the in-depth understanding required to draft and prosecute patent applications. On the other hand, their specialist knowledge of IP law means they are perfectly positioned to handle all the legal and commercial concerns that come with intellectual property. That includes things like negotiating licensing deals, transferring the ownership of IP, representing clients in court and offering general advice about the protectability of IP.

Which Type of IP Professional Do I Need?

Australia’s intellectual property laws are vast and complex. While they offer great protection against the unauthorised use of your ideas, they’re also difficult to navigate alone. To ensure their ideas are protected, most companies work with a mix of IP lawyers, patent attorneys and trade marks attorneys. A team that includes all three types of professionals ensures you have the best counsel possible and improves the quality of protection your ideas receive.

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