A patent agent is a professional who specializes in managing documentation related to the protection of industrial property such as patents, trademarks, distinctive signs, among others.
In other words, a patent agent has the function of advising his client to register and maintain his rights over his inventions or designs.
This is an administrative task, but it is relevant in the case of novel inventions that may eventually bring great profits to their creator.
At this point, we must first remember what industrial property is. It is a series of rights that an individual or a company has over a brand, a design, a drawing, etc. One of these rights is, for example, the commercial exploitation of said creation.
To exercise these rights, the creation or invention must be registered in an official registry. In the case of Spain, it would be at the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO):
And this is where the work of the patent agent comes in, who will be in charge, as we have already mentioned, of managing the registration of his client’s invention.
Characteristics of the work of a patent agent
Among the characteristics of the work of a patent agent we can highlight the following:
- It requires legal knowledge about industrial property.
- He is not necessarily a lawyer, he may have studied industrial engineering, chemistry, architecture, among others.
- It not only handles the registration, but also investigates, for example, identities and/or similarities between trademarks, and also manages the renewal of ownership (on an invention, for example).
- They can act as experts or litigators in cases of legal conflicts concerning industrial property, for example, if one company sues another for the plagiarism of its brand.
Requirements to practice as a patent agent in Spain
Among the requirements to work as a patent agent in Spain, there is, first of all, registration with the SPTO, in the special register of agents. For this, the following requirements are mainly required, according to the official website of the entity:
- Be Spanish or have the nationality of a member country of the European Union.
- Being of legal age and having “full capacity to act”.
- Owning an establishment or professional office in a country of the European Union.
- Not have been convicted of intentional crimes, unless the respective rehabilitation had been achieved.
- Possess official titles of degree, graduate, architect or engineer, issued by the rectors of the universities, or other official titles that, according to the law, are comparable to those mentioned above.
- Pass an aptitude test accrediting the knowledge necessary to practice as a patent agent.