The Role of a Patent Attorney

The Role of a Patent Attorney: Safeguarding Innovation and Intellectual Property

In a rapidly evolving world driven by innovation and technology, the protection of intellectual property has become increasingly important. Entrepreneurs, inventors, and businesses invest an enormous amount of time, effort, and resources into creating unique and inventive products or processes. To safeguard these innovations and ensure a competitive edge in the market, the services of a patent attorney are indispensable, and finding the right patent attorney for you and your business is critical.

Understanding Intellectual Property

Before delving into the role of a patent attorney, it’s essential to grasp the concept of intellectual property (IP). The formal definition of intellectual property (IP) is “creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary or artistic works, designs, symbols, names, and images used in commerce”, but I think it’s easier to think of IP in terms of the human (creative and/or innovative) input to innovation that gives rise to intangible assets that, in turn, give rise to IP rights that give the owner of that human input the right to stop others from muscling in on their commercial territory. These IP rights include patents, copyright, trademarks, registered designs, and even things like trade secrets (which are slightly different, but operate in much the same way as more conventional IP rights).

What is a Patent Attorney?

A patent attorney is a legal professional specializing in intellectual property law, particularly in the area of patents. They assist individuals and businesses in securing patents for their inventions, granting them exclusive rights to use, make, sell, or license the invention for a set period. Patent attorneys possess legal expertise, technical knowledge, and a deep understanding of the patenting process.

The Role of a Patent Attorney

Legal Guidance and Expertise:

Patent attorneys provide legal guidance and expertise in navigating the complex landscape of patent laws and regulations. They interpret the law, help clients understand their rights and obligations, and ensure compliance with all requirements. Most importantly, they help their clients to understand how the various rules and laws apply to their specific business, so that the business owner or leader has the knowledge they need to make the right decisions for their company. Your IP strategy should be as unique as your business!

Patent Search and Analysis:

Before filing a patent application, a thorough search is crucial to ensure the invention is novel and not already patented. Patent attorneys conduct comprehensive searches and analyze existing patents to determine the uniqueness and patentability of the invention. They can help to pinpoint the ‘USP’ of the innovation, not only guiding the patent process but also the ongoing design process and (sometimes) even the marketing strategy.

Drafting and Filing Patent Applications:

One of the primary responsibilities of a patent attorney is drafting a strong and comprehensive patent application. They use their technical and legal knowledge to accurately describe the invention, highlighting its uniqueness and innovative features. You may not know that a patent attorney enters the profession with a STEM degree and then trains ‘on the job’ for some years post graduation to pass their patent attorney qualifications and become a registered/Chartered patent attorney, so they should be well placed to fully understand your innovation and describe and claim it in such a way that you have a robust patent specification right from the start of the process. They will, of course, also ensure that all legal requirements are met during the filing process.

Prosecution and Negotiation:

Patent attorneys interact with patent offices on behalf of their clients during the patent prosecution process. They respond to office actions, handle objections, and negotiate with examiners to secure the broadest protection possible for the invention. It is often at this stage that the relationship between you and your patent attorney becomes truly critical, and it will be very important for them to be on top of what features of your innovation are the most commercially important.

Portfolio Management:

Patent attorneys help manage a client’s patent portfolio by advising on strategic decisions regarding filing, maintenance, licensing, and enforcement of patents. They not only help you to align your patent strategy with your business objectives from the start, but should also be able to help you to keep your IP strategy up to date to ensure that it evolves with your business.

Enforcement and Litigation:

In case of patent infringement or disputes, patent attorneys provide legal representation and support in enforcing patent rights. This may involve negotiation, mediation, or litigation to protect the client’s interests.

Advising on IP Strategy:

Beyond patents, patent attorneys often advise on broader intellectual property strategies, helping clients make informed decisions about protecting their innovations through a combination of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.


In a knowledge-driven society, intellectual property holds immense value. A patent attorney plays a critical role in helping inventors and businesses protect their innovations, enabling them to capitalize on their creations, maintain a competitive advantage, and contribute to the advancement of technology and society as a whole.

ChatGPT says that our expertise “is an essential asset in the dynamic world of intellectual property, ensuring that innovation remains a driving force in the global economy”. And I suppose on a global scale, that’s true. But what is even more important is that you choose the right patent attorney for your business. Your patent attorney will be an important cog in the machine, and ensuring that you have a collaborative (rather than purely transactional) relationship with your patent attorney will, in turn, help to ensure that your IP strategy complements, supports and boosts your commercial goals.

Need Help?

Strachan IP is a full service IP firm, with many years’ experience helping innovative SMEs to identify, capture, preserve and protect the valuable IP they create. If you would like to discuss your IP strategy, or have nay questions at all about patents or IP more generally, please book a free initial consultation by emailing or visit our website at

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