A patent attorney is an attorney who has the specialized qualifications that are necessary for representing clients in obtaining patents and acting in all matters and other procedures relating to patent law and practice, such as filing an opposition. The term is used differently in different countries, and therefore may or may not require the same legal qualifications as a general legal practitioner.
In the United States, practitioners may either be a patent attorney or patent agent. The term patent attorney is only used for those patent agents who are also admitted to the practice of law in at least one state or territory in the United States, while a patent agent is not so qualified. However, both types of practitioners can practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Legal ethics rules prohibit lawyers from using the title "patent attorney" unless they are admitted to practice before the USPTO.