Fed. Circ. Recognizes Non-Lawyer Patent Agent Privilege

Law360, New York (March 7, 2016, 6:17 PM EST) -- Communications between U.S. patent applicants and their non-attorney patent agents should be afforded some degree of privilege, a split Federal Circuit ruled Monday, in a case over smartphones that was closely watched by members of the patent bar.

In a 2-1 decision, the appeals court recognized for the first time a patent agent privilege, affording the same type of protections in attorney-client privilege to communications between registered patent agents and their clients.

Patent agents are not licensed attorneys, but they are certified to prepare and prosecute patent applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

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