The domain of patents is complex, and chances are, you will require the assistance of a Patent Paralegal. First, you must understand the role of a patent paralegal and then get into the responsibilities. Finally, we’ll explain how to become a patent paralegal.
The patent process involves a large amount of legal, technical and communicative work. This amount of work for a lawyer/patent agent during the entire process may overwhelm him/her. Basically, the various types of work include communication with the client, the USPTO, document preparation, docketing, etc.
Now, you would obviously want to ensure that the entire process goes by as smoothly as possible. So, hiring a paralegal is an absolute necessity and it is a good career path. Let’s understand this in greater depth.
How to become a Patent Paralegal: Their role
Basically, a paralegal takes care of substantive legal work while working for a lawyer. As we mentioned before, the work revolves around recognition, evaluation, and communication of relevant facts and legal concepts.
You must understand that a lawyer is fully capable of doing this work alone. However, often is the case where a large amount of work needs attention in short spans of time. Hence, hiring a paralegal takes a lot of weight off the shoulders of a lawyer.
Related Article: Benefits of a Patent Paralegal Service.
A patent paralegal’s legal work naturally revolves around matters of IP and more specifically, patents. The field of patents requires a technical understanding of scientific principles and phenomena. Therefore, a patent paralegal needs to be able to grasp those scientific principles. Hence, they must have at least a basic understanding of sciences like engineering, life sciences, chemistry, etc. At the foundation of things, their analytical skills must be sharp.
Read more about the duties a patent paralegal needs to perform to understand their responsibilities better.
How to become a Patent Paralegal: Job Responsibilities
A patent paralegal needs to be versatile in different fields. They are responsible for handling a lot of paperwork and maintaining the application docket. It is a challenging task that requires a lot of vigilance and awareness.
They should be proficient in tasks like:
Before filing a patent, it is vital to perform a background check. You need to be absolutely certain and assertive about your creation. If you find something similar to your creation then you may not get protection for your IP. Hence, researching before filing is very important. The research may include conducting Patent Novelty Search, Patent Invalidity Search, etc.
Patent document preparation and filing
This is an absolutely critical task and requires skill as well as experience. Any patent document needs to be elaborate and completely unambiguous. A patent paralegal can assist you in processes like Patent Drafting, Patent Filing, IDS Preparation, Patent Proofreading, et cetera.
Maintaining Docket and Tracking Deadlines
The patent process is complex and requires a large number of documents. Naturally, they need to be organized properly so that every bit of information is easy to track. A patent paralegal should efficiently docket documents.
They must also keep track of the deadlines so that everything is done in a timely manner. Naturally, this will require working on a tight schedule at times to avoid any undue situations. This is easier when they maintain a good docketing system. This will also help them to handle multiple cases together.
Performing administrative tasks
These tasks include making copies of documents, ensuring that the office has enough supplies, etc. A patent paralegal will also have to track billable hours with the client and ensure transparency between the client and the law firm.
Correspondence with entities
Their job also requires them to act as an intermediary between the court and the client. Such processes require lengthy interactions, both via written documents and in-court hearings. A patent paralegal will help you to prepare documents such as Office action response.
After getting a patent grant, you also need to guard it. If an infringement occurs, then it is your responsibility to enforce your rights. A paralegal can provide you with Patent Watch services so that you can relax. This requires vigilance and awareness of the latest news in the field of the invention.
They will monitor your patent and inform you as soon as an infringement occurs.
How to Become a Patent Paralegal: Qualifications and Experience Needed
Finally, let’s answer the question of how to become a patent paralegal, you must complete at least a 2-year associate’s degree in a paralegal program. This is a very basic requirement for most patent law offices out there.
While pursuing your studies, it will certainly be beneficial if you pursue specialized courses in patent law. In case you majored in a different field, you can take certification programs to bridge the education gap. These courses will cover a variety of IP domains such as patents, copyrights, design, trademark, etc.
In case you don’t have a qualification, you might wonder how to become a patent paralegal. You will need to have plenty of experience in patent law. However, you will need to acquire some qualifications through courses as mentioned above.
Also, some patent law offices may consider hiring you as an intern. Such internships are often unpaid. But, the experience you gain is crucial because it gives you a way into patent law. The experience you gain in the real world is incomparable to bookish, classroom knowledge.
Need a Paralegal? – Patent Drafting Catalyst
You are aware of the importance of a paralegal. If you need services, consider Patent Drafting Catalyst. Our team boasts 10+ years of experience in supporting patent prosecution with 200+ full-time patent engineers in 30+ technology areas. Our experience includes working with multiple patent attorneys/projects from multiple countries for patent drafting.
We are always up-to-date about the latest laws and acceptable practices. Our patent engineers understand the importance of comprehensive patent claims in terms of patent commercialization and infringement litigation.
To make an inquiry, visit the Patent Drafting Catalyst Services.