Patent Attorney Career Description


If you are studying law or considering becoming a lawyer, and you have an interest in science and technology, you may want to consider pursuing a career as a patent attorney. The following is a brief description of the common responsibilities and tasks of a patent lawyer.

What is a patent attorney?

Patent attorneys specialize in the area of law that governs patents, the formal documents that provide proof of ownership for inventions, trademarks, and other types of intellectual property. A patent attorney helps clients obtain patents and defend them in the event that an individual or company infringes on their patents.

Primary responsibilities

Patent attorneys help their clients to understand patent law and how it applies to their particular circumstances. They also manage patents for their clients and take action against any misuse of their clients’ intellectual property.

Education requirements

A four-year degree from an accredited college or university is needed before you can apply to law school. Taking courses that emphasize communication skills, such as writing and public speaking, as well as history and political science classes can boost your chances of being accepted to a top law school.

Attendance at a three-year legal school is a must; you will need to complete all course requirements and pass the L1 and Multistate Professional Responsibility exams, as well as receive a positive determination of moral character, before you receive your law degree.

American Bar Association requirements

In order to practice as a patent attorney in a given state, you must pass that state’s bar exam – a 2-day comprehensive exam that is designed to demonstrate your theoretical and practical knowledge of the law – after receiving your Juris Doctor degree.

Employment opportunities

Patent lawyers may represent numerous individual and/or corporate clients; they may also be hired to work “in-house” for a larger corporation, exclusively representing one particular company’s interests. Employment outlook for patent attorneys is expected to increase in line with the average for other career types in the next decade.