Myth #1: Patent agent exam is for lawyers and completely law based

According to the Government of India, minimum qualification to appear in the patent agent exam is – “Any Science Graduation”. There is no mention of any Law graduation or legal knowledge. This clearly indicates that patent agent is supposed to be a person with technical knowhow, which is good as patent are actually protection of “Technological Inventions”.

Do you have to study law? Yes, a little but, The Patent Act 1970 to be exact.

But law is tough. How will I study? No, this law revolves around technology and inventions. It revolves around – what is invention? What are you rights as an inventor? How to protect invention? And what can be done if somebody steals your invention etc. So it is actually very interesting for every science person and not difficult.

Myth #2: I will be changing my field?

No. If you notice closely, government only conducts the patent agent exam while there is no institute / college / university recognized by government to impart education on patent agent. This is a professional certification for government, to increase your avenues and not to divert you from your main stream.

What it means is, after becoming a registered patent agent:

  1. You can be in the field you are presently in, use the new knowledge in research, file patents for your own inventions or inventions of other people of any field and not just your field and be a more knowledgeable and responsible researcher / professional.
  2. If you want you can join any organization in RnD (in your field or if you wish any other field) in the IP department. Yes every good RnD department of organization has an IP cell now a days.
  3. If you wish you can join a Law firm (you will still not need a law degree, you are a registered patent agent remember? That’s big)
  4. You can also start your own consultancy firm and give consultation to other people / researchers etc in need of IP and Patent help.

Myth #3: Patent Attorney is a higher post than Patent agent and it is better to become a patent attorney directly

Patent Agent and Patent Attorney are different people and they have different job. No one is above the other. See below the scope of jobs.

Myth #4: My science knowledge will not be utilized

Again, minimum and compulsory qualification for even appear in the Patent Agent Exam in – Science Graduation, science knowledge is needed and will always be utilized in patent works. Also as seen in the above myth (#3) there is a list of things a Patent Agent is responsible for and they are not possible without any science knowledge.

Myth #5: I cannot be a patent agent because I m already doing a job

Patent Agent is a government professional certification; you get a certificate from the government and a registered patent agent number after clearing the exam. There is no need for you to leave your job or college.

Myth #6: I will have to change my location to a place where patent office is located

No change of location is required. It is called Indian Patent Agent and not something like Delhi Patent Agent or Mumbai Patent Agent. You are allowed to be anywhere, practice you patent profession anywhere or just utilize the knowledge in your present job of course of study. This certificate will only increase your knowledge, promotion possibilities and new career option.

Myth #7: Patent agent exam is very tough

Some people think it is tough because they are technical and a little law is involved, as discussed in Myth #1, patent law revolves around research, invention and rights of an inventor, so it is interesting. Just make sure you don’t start preparing for the exam in the last week and expect to clear it. Start a little early and take just a little time out of your office or regular studies and you will be good. If you need expert help you can see the patent agent exam preparation series by IIPTA.

Myth #8: Patent agent exam is very easy because I am a lawyer. Knowledge of science is not required for patent drafting.

Try this and you might fail. Firstly; if you are a lawyer; but do not have an additional science degree, your application to appear in the Patent Agent Exam will be rejected by the Patent Office of India. Secondly, good patent claim drafting is not easy if you do practice it well and have good guidance. Law will only tell you, what is the definition of claims of a patent? Lastly, in viva voice, you will be asked question which will be intellectual property or patent aspects of different technologies and science.

Myth #9: I can only file patent for other people and clients but not for myself. I m an Inventor

Once you become a registered patent agent, you can file patents from yourself, others and also in any technology which may be different to your present expertise of field of research.

Myth #10: I am an inventor / researcher and Patent Agent knowledge will not be useful in doing research.

General trend amongst researcher in India is to write researcher papers and get them published as soon as possible. Once the paper is published it is in public domain now and thus cannot be patented even it is something new like an invention. Patent knowledge will help you identify the research that is patentable in India and abroad for yourself; your organization and others. It will also help you in possibly identify white gaps or patentable ideas in a technology if you can do a technology landscape search. Many technologies are built upon a previously existing technology, but what it the previously existing technology is protected by a patent by someone else. You can find this out by Freedom to operate patent search. There are many more application of patent knowledge in further research, people have basically written book on this subjects.