Patent Lawyers

Patent lawyers are intellectual property lawyers who specialize in securing patents for inventors from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and prosecuting or defending suits of patent infringements. Patent law is a blending of two fields: applied science and law, and as such, patent lawyers usually have degrees both in law and a technical field, such as engineering. Patent lawyers usually earn more than lawyers in other fields. In May 2013, there were 592,670 lawyers, with a mere 3 percent of lawyers specializing in patent law. In total, there are approximately 40,000 patent lawyers and agents registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but many of these "agents" are not lawyers, which means they can not litigate in court or draw up contracts.


Quick Facts
Duties Advise and help clients obtain a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; evaluate the technical aspect of the invention; research similar products; represent clients if they have been accused of patent infringement
Alternate Title(s) Patent Attorney
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions, with high demand in technology centers, such as Silicon Valley
Education and Training
  • Law Degree
Related School Subjects
  • English
  • Government
  • Speech
Experience Summer internships during law school are recommended
Skills
  • Interpersonal
  • Scientific
  • Writing
Personality Traits
  • Problem-Solving
  • Realistic
  • Scientific
Licensure/Certification Required
Special Requirements No criminal history; must be a U.S. citizen
Career Ladder
  • Partner in Patent Law Firm
  • Senior Patent Lawyer
  • Patent Lawyer
  • Patent Legal Assistant

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