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Federal Circuit Patent Agent Privilege Rule to Lower Legal Costs

March 09, 2016

​Fenwick partner John McNelis spoke with Law360 about the Federal Circuit’s recent decision that some communications between patent applicants and non-lawyer patent agents are privileged.

Lawyers say this decision gives agents far greater freedom to do their jobs and should lower the cost of patent law services.

McNelis told Law360, “The decision definitely opens up a lot of options for the use of patent agents who are not under the supervision of a patent attorney. It allows patent agents to open up their own shop and clients can feel that this issue is not going to come back to haunt them.

However, McNelis also mentioned that it is important for patent agents to understand that the privilege recognized by the Federal Circuit is limited, so communication about anything beyond preparing an application may be produced in court.

"My bottom line is that this decision does give greater protections, but there is a concern that it could give a false sense of security," McNelis said.

The full article is available through Law360's website​ (subscription required).