- To be a patent attorney, an attorney must pass the Patent Bar Examination.
- A science degree of some kind is required to take the exam.
- This practice area category focuses on patent prosecution, which is the process by which an inventor secures exclusive rights to an invention in the form of a “patent” with the USPTO office.
- Patent prosecutors assist the investor-client with this process.
- The patent attorney evaluates whether the client's potential patent impinges on another patent, defends against opposition to a client's patent application in administrative trials, and opposes applications that impinge a client's patent.
Why Do Intellectual Property Patent Attorneys Enjoy Their Jobs?
- Attorneys who are somewhat introverted tend to enjoy this practice because there is not a lot of interaction with people.
- The work is also very detail oriented and requires the ability to study and understand new technologies.
- Attorneys who become proficient in this practice area tend to have the ability to take jobs in other states and law firms and move laterally.
- There are relatively long deadlines in this practice area, which means that the hours tend to be more predictable.
What Are the Difficulties of Being an Intellectual Property Patent Attorney?
- Attorneys who enjoy working closely with others and do not enjoy extremely technical work tend not to like patent prosecution.
- The work also tends to be quite intellectually "taxing" and tiring.
How Easy Is It to Move Laterally as an Intellectual Property Patent Attorney?
- This has traditionally been a very healthy lateral market for attorneys. From the mid-1990s until 2012, it was the most consistently active practice area for attorneys to lateral in—especially for people with hard science degrees.
- Post-2010 the market began to slow significantly as more and more attorneys started going into this practice area and the number of highly qualified attorneys willing to do the work significantly outweighed the number of positions in the market.
- One benefit of this practice area is that in addition to major law firms that do this work, there are countless small boutique law firms that also do the work.
- Due to the number of small firms that do patent prosecution, it is never much of a problem for attorneys to locate positions in the market.
Learn more about patent attorneys in the following articles:
- Preparing for the Patent Bar
- Intellectual Property Law Practice Areas Explained: The Differences Between Patent Law, Trademark Law, Copyright Law, Trade Secret Law and Licensing Law Explained
- Guide to Intellectual Property Law
- Patent Attorney Jobs: Guidelines for Patent Attorneys Exploring the Legal Market