One of the first questions that many inventors ask themselves is whether or not they really need to pay for the services of a patent agent. It is an acceptable practice for an inventor to prepare, file and prosecute their own applications and there are inventors who are successful in obtaining patents without the help of an agent. However, the patent process is complex and can often be difficult to navigate. There are specific rules that must be followed, nuances that are best understood by someone familiar with patents and a plethora of case law that provides insight into what can be patented and provides important information related to important elements that can affect the validity of patents.
A patent agent is someone who has been trained in the preparation and prosecution of applications, they will have a working knowledge of the ins and outs of proper drafting and will be able to guide an inventor through the process. Registered patent agents go through a demanding examination process to test their knowledge in drafting, prosecution, validity, infringement and patent law prior to being permitted to represent inventors before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). It is highly recommended that inventors consider consulting with a patent agent for the best possible odds of obtaining a patent. Of course, using the services provided by a patent agent can never guarantee that a patent application will mature to a Letters Patent. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to hire a patent agent is yours to make, but hiring a patent agent will give you the best opportunity of actually getting an enforceable patent.