In the United States, patent agents and patent attorneys are the two categories of professionals registered to represent inventors to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Both patent agents and patent attorneys must pass an examination in order to be registered to represent inventors. In addition to passing an examination with the USPTO, patent attorneys must pass the bar exam in the state or states they are register to practice in.
Inventors in the United States may file their own patents without the assistance of a patent agent or patent attorney. Patent applications, however, are complex documents, and there are significant risks to filing your own patent application.
Patent agencies, such as InventHelp, focus on patent prosecution, which is the process of writing and filing patent applications and responding to office actions from the patent office.
An office action is a response of the USPTO to an inventor’s patent application. The first office action from the USPTO is usually a rejection of the patent application. The patent agent or patent attorney must successfully respond to this office action in order to obtain a patent for the inventors.
Patent attorneys also perform patent prosecution. In addition, patent attorneys are able to advise clients on legal matters, including drafting or evaluating patent licensing agreements. Patent attorneys may also litigate patent infringement cases when the inventor believes that a competitor is in violation of their patent.
Patent litigation is a specialty, and in general an attorney involved in patent litigation will not also prosecute (prepare and defend) patent applications as you can learn from https://blogs.ubc.ca/randomthoughts/2018/01/04/how-to-turn-your-ideas-into-an-invention/ too.