Patent Agents

Patent Agent Prepares Application

Patent agents help people through the process of patent applications and filings. Inventors apply for patents to protect their rights to their invention; the government issues patents that exclude others from using or selling the invention for a specified time period. The difference between a patent attorney and patent agent is that patent attorneys have a law degree, which enables them to represent patent litigation and patent infringement cases and they can prosecute patent cases before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Patent agents can also prosecute patent cases before the USPTO, but they cannot represent clients in a court of law because they do not have a law degree. They must pass an exam by the USPTO to be registered as a patent agent. According to the USPTO, as of October 2016, there are 11,232 active patent agents employed in the United States.

Next Section: History

Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Guide and advise inventors on the patent application process; liaise between inventors and the USPTO; research inventions to assess patent worthiness
Salary Range $50,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions, with high demand in urban centers
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Experience Two to three years experience
Personality Traits
  • Organized
  • Scientific
  • Technical
  • Interpersonal
  • Scientific
  • Writing
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Senior Patent Agent
  • Patent Agent
  • Assistant Patent Agent
  • Internship