A patent lawyer’s job description a complicated one. At its core they are responsible for determining whether inventions by their clients are new and groundbreaking, making it eligible to become patented. And before you ask, only the government can grant patents. This gives inventors the right to protect their ideas and inventions from being stolen by other parties for a set term, which can be as long of a period of up to 20 years.
By being a patent trademark lawyer, you need to be adept in various aspects of trademark law, science, as well as communication, in order to guide your client through all processes that need to be completed before they can patent their design or idea. If a client’s patent gets infringed, it’s your responsibility to protect and defend their rights. The last thing you want to happen is for your client to ask around on how to file a patent without a lawyer.
Patent Lawyer Salary
How much does a patent lawyer make?
Most patent lawyers income comes from being employed by private law firms, and the rest are either employed by manufacturing giants or by various government agencies. The average patent lawyer salary is from $79,000 to $221,000 (information from payscale.com,) depending on experience and bonuses agreement.
Patent attorneys who are employed by big corporations are put in charge of making sure that all of their company’s products that have been released or currently in development aren’t infringing on any patents that exists.
Alternatively, if another product has similar attributes to their products, it’s the lawyer’s job to take matters to court and protect the company’s assets. This requires a great deal of researching and meticulousness when it comes to finding information about any current or existing patents from other companies or individuals.
If no patents exist for their products, it’s their responsibility to write and apply for the patents. They must be familiar with the process of patenting and have extensive knowledge of the product to be able to determine if it’s going through the correct patent submission process.
What does a patent attorney do?
As a patent attorney, you need to prepare yourself to work extra long hours. Some of your other responsibilities may include:
- Describing your client’s product or inventions using legal terminologies and draft the patent application
- Carefully analyze previous patents to make sure that your client’s invention isn’t infringing on others’ patents.
- If any issues with patenting arise, you need to interact and cooperate with federal patent examiners in order to resolve them.
Good use of a paralegal is crucial in these cases as there will be a much needed research done and paper work combed to win a case.
How to Become a Patent Lawyer?
What requirements do I need to meet before I become eligible as a patent lawyer?
The usual requirements for those who want to pursue a career in being a paten lawyer include:
- An undergraduate degree in a technical or scientific program. This isn’t usually the case, but familiarity with the more technical and scientific aspects of things are highly preferred by most corporations.
- A law degree or a Juris Doctor. If you’re determined to become a patent lawyer, you’ll be asked to take the patent bar exam. A law degree isn’t necessary for this, and you can take the exam while you’re in law school. If by any chance you don’t finish your law degree but still manage to pass the patent bar exam, you gain the title of being a “patent agent” instead of “patent lawyer/attorney”.
- 2 years working experience. Before you raise your eyebrows and ask about how you’re going to gain experience before you even get licensed—you can always do an internship at a law firm that focuses on patent law. By doing so, you can learn the ropes of being an expert in patenting while working towards a law degree.
- Aside from having the usual skills like writing, communication, research, etc., you also need to know how to use legal research sites and be knowledgeable in technology, engineering, or any branch of science such as physics, chemistry, or biology.
- In most states, you may be required to take up CLE (continuing legal education) classes in order for you to maintain your license. You can find these CLE classes being offered by the American Bar Association or your local state’s bar association.
What schools can be recommended for those who are interested to become patent lawyers?
- University of California – Berkeley (Berkeley, CA) – Full-time students from within the state can expect to pay $48,166 per year, $52,117 for out of state students.
- Stanford University (Stanford, CA) – $54,366
- Columbia University (New York, NY) – $60, 274
- University of New Hampshire School of Law (Concord, NH) – Full-time students from within the state can expect to pay $37,378 per year, $41,378 for out of state students. (University of New Hampshire also offers an online LLM program for patent law students.)
- Duke University (Durham, NC) – $55,588
- Yeshiva University (New York, NY) – $53,570
- University of Houston (Houston, TX) – Full-time students from within the state can expect to pay $29,748 per year, $43,176 for out of state students.
- Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA) – Full time students pay $1,568 per unit
- George Washington University (Washington, DC) – $52,033
- Boston University (Boston, MA)- $47,188