A patent is an exclusive right granted by the state allowing its owner to control commercial exploitation of an invention. Patent attorneys complete and file patent applications and also work to protect the rights of the inventor or patent holder in courts and with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

Tasks of a patent attorney include, but are not limited to, discussing invention and researching the likelihood of successfully attaining a patent, and litigating patent infringement controversies in court. Moreover, they work with federal patent examiners to resolve any patent related issues, describe inventions in strict legal terms and draft patent applications, and analyze scientific and technical documents previously granted patents to determine if the new invention infringes upon any rights or not. Admission to law requires a bachelor's degree and successfully clearing the LSAT. Furthermore, they are required to pass the Bar exam to successfully qualify as a lawyer. Most employers prefer patent attorneys to have prior work experience as well.

The average hourly salary for the position is $43.05, which equates to $89,543 annually. The career is expected to grow in the near future and create new opportunities across the United States.

What Does a Patent Attorney Do

There are certain skills that many patent attorneys have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills.

Learn more about what a Patent Attorney does

How To Become a Patent Attorney

If you're interested in becoming a patent attorney, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 44.5% of patent attorneys have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.4% of patent attorneys have master's degrees. Even though most patent attorneys have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Patent Attorney

Patent Attorney Career Paths

Average Salary for a Patent Attorney

Patent Attorneys in America make an average salary of $86,919 per year or $42 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $152,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $49,000 per year.
Average Patent Attorney Salary
$86,919 Yearly
$41.79 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?


Patent Attorney Education

Patent Attorney Majors

36.2 %

Patent Attorney Degrees


44.5 %


42.4 %


11.4 %

Top Colleges for Patent Attorneys

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition

6. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

7. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition

8. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

10. University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN • Private

In-State Tuition

Top Skills For a Patent Attorney

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 18.4% of patent attorneys listed patent applications on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

  • Patent Applications, 18.4%
  • Electrical Engineering, 15.7%
  • Uspto, 12.6%
  • Law Firm, 10.3%
  • Intellectual Property, 9.1%
  • Other Skills, 33.9%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Patent Attorney Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Patent Attorney templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Patent Attorney resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Patent Attorney Demographics

Patent Attorney Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among patent attorneys, 20.7% of them are women, while 79.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among patent attorneys is White, which makes up 79.1% of all patent attorneys.

  • The most common foreign language among patent attorneys is Chinese at 21.8%.

Online Courses For Patent Attorney That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  
Patents & Trademarks: Learn the Patent and Trademark Process

2 courses in 1. Learn the process for patenting your idea, invention and how to trademark you brand...

Patent Law

In our modern technologically-based economy, the creation and enforcement of patent rights can make or break a business. With record numbers of patents being issued every year, the stakes for inventors (and, indeed, their lawyers) continue to rise, even as the patent law and its administration faces growing criticism. This course begins with an examination of the fundamental justifications for and creation of U.S. patent rights as well as the relationship between patent law and other "intellectu...

Intellectual Property Law in Digital Age

A unique course will help students to get a comprehensive legal education in the field of intellectual property in a fairly short time. The objective of the course is to be as practice-oriented as possible. The course examines the main institutions of intellectual property law: copyright and related rights, patent law, trademark law, legal regulation of domains. The course also includes sections of intellectual property in Software, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Big Data. The c...

Show More Patent Attorney Courses
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Best States For a Patent Attorney

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a patent attorney. The best states for people in this position are Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, and Vermont. Patent attorneys make the most in Massachusetts with an average salary of $117,586. Whereas in California and New Jersey, they would average $110,124 and $98,975, respectively. While patent attorneys would only make an average of $89,579 in Vermont, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Patent Attorney Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Massachusetts

Total Patent Attorney Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. California

Total Patent Attorney Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Patent Attorneys

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Top Patent Attorney Employers

Most Common Employers For Patent Attorney

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Perkins Coie$201,388$96.8213
2Fish & Richardson$177,748$85.4610
3Lee & Hayes$166,839$80.217
4Brinks Gilson$165,893$79.7613
5Cantor Colburn$164,584$79.136
6Myers Bigel$162,606$78.184
7Banner & Witcoff$143,875$69.174
8Barnes & Thornburg$135,406$65.106

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