In order to become a registered patent attorney in Australia, a candidate must first have a tertiary qualification in a scientific or engineering discipline. The candidate must then pass an accredited course of study that satisfies the requirements of registration, be an ordinary resident of Australia, and have worked with a registered patent attorney or been employed practicing patent matters on behalf of a company, or been an examiner of patents for at least one year.
The most common method of qualification is to work with a firm of patent attorneys as a Technical Assistant (or TA) while studying to pass the examinations set by the Professional Standards Board for Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys. Watermark employs a number of TAs at various stages in the qualification process. TAs work directly with Principals and qualified attorneys taking an increased responsibility with clients under supervision, receiving training in patent attorney practice and keeping their skills up to date through constant exposure to the latest developments in technology.
Further details on the requirements for registration set out by the Professional Standards Board are on their website.
For further information please go to the website of the Institute of Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia, or IP Australia.
Other general services a patent attorney would normally provide to his or her clients may include advice to clients on the management of their intellectual property portfolio, or advice as to the validity of patents or registrations held by others. These skills arise through familiarity with administrative practices and relevant laws.
On an international level, patent attorneys operate within an extensive network of associates in other countries, and have extensive experience in advising clients in filing overseas.
A patent attorney is usually a person with a unique combination of talents, having skills in understanding a broad range of science and technology, and also being capable of analysing technical matters from a legal standpoint. A patent attorney needs a capacity for good personal communication and detailed analysis of complex matters, and is able to write with both clarity and precision.