Patent Attorney Careers

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.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a patent attorney. For example, did you know that they make an average of $46.19 an hour? That's $96,081 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 50,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a patent attorney, we found that a lot of resumes listed 18.4% of patent attorneys included patent applications, while 15.7% of resumes included electrical engineering, and 12.6% of resumes included uspto. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the patent attorney job title. But what industry to start with? Most patent attorneys actually find jobs in the professional and technology industries.

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 43.2% of patent attorneys have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.1% 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.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a patent attorney. When we researched the most common majors for a patent attorney, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on patent attorney resumes include master's degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a patent attorney. In fact, many patent attorney jobs require experience in a role such as law clerk. Meanwhile, many patent attorneys also have previous career experience in roles such as associate or patent agent.

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Average Salary
$96,081
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
2,942
Job Openings

Patent Attorney Career Paths

Top Careers Before Patent Attorney

Law Clerk
15.8 %
Associate
11.1 %

Top Careers After Patent Attorney

Attorney
12.0 %

Patent Attorney Jobs You Might Like

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Patent Attorney

Patent Attorneys in America make an average salary of $96,081 per year or $46 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $177,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $51,000 per year.
Average Salary
$96,081
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Redwood City, CA
Salary Range99k - 200k$141k$141,467
Boston, MA
Salary Range90k - 194k$132k$132,349
Washington, DC
Salary Range83k - 171k$120k$119,841
Seattle, WA
Salary Range83k - 159k$116k$115,775
New York, NY
Salary Range75k - 157k$109k$109,314
Alexandria, VA
Salary Range73k - 149k$105k$104,704
$47k
$200k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Patent Attorney
Patent Attorney
Fish & Richardson P.C.
Fish & Richardson P.C.
03/19/2021
03/19/2021
$220,00003/19/2021
$220,000
Patent Attorney-Prosecution
Patent Attorney-Prosecution
Fish & Richardson P.C.
Fish & Richardson P.C.
02/04/2021
02/04/2021
$220,00002/04/2021
$220,000
Associate, Patent Attorney
Associate, Patent Attorney
Locke Lord LLP
Locke Lord LLP
12/29/2020
12/29/2020
$170,00012/29/2020
$170,000
Attorney/Lawyer-Patent Litigation
Attorney/Lawyer-Patent Litigation
Robert Half
Robert Half
11/12/2020
11/12/2020
$150,00011/12/2020
$150,000
Patent Attorney
Patent Attorney
Department of Defense
Department of Defense
08/24/2020
08/24/2020
$106,09208/24/2020
$106,092
See More Recent Salaries

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Patent Attorney Demographics

Gender

male

72.0 %

female

19.3 %

unknown

8.7 %

Ethnicity

White

79.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.0 %

Black or African American

5.5 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Chinese

21.8 %

Mandarin

20.0 %

Japanese

12.7 %
See More Demographics

Patent Attorney Education

Degrees

Bachelors

43.2 %

Doctorate

40.8 %

Masters

11.1 %

Top Colleges for Patent Attorneys

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

6. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

7. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

8. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,391
Enrollment
8,568
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Patent Attorney That You May Like

Patents & Trademarks: Learn the Patent and Trademark Process
udemy
4.4
(294)

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

Patent Law
coursera

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...

Protecting Business Innovations via Patent
coursera

Protecting Business Innovations via Patent Watch Course Overview: https://youtu. be/mUja4iwbrTE This course assumes no prior knowledge in law, business or engineering. However, students with backgrounds in all three areas will find useful concepts or ideas in the course on how to protect business innovations using patents. The approach taken in this course is practical and commercial rather than theoretical. A combination of lectures and case studies help to illustrate the concepts and make the...

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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%
  • See All Patent Attorney Skills

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, Washington, and Oregon. Patent attorneys make the most in Massachusetts with an average salary of $123,783. Whereas in California and Washington, they would average $122,330 and $112,186, respectively. While patent attorneys would only make an average of $107,201 in Oregon, 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. Massachusetts

Total Patent Attorney Jobs:
109
Highest 10% Earn:
$217,000
Location Quotient:
1.38
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Patent Attorney Jobs:
378
Highest 10% Earn:
$212,000
Location Quotient:
1.51
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. District of Columbia

Total Patent Attorney Jobs:
135
Highest 10% Earn:
$203,000
Location Quotient:
9.39
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Patent Attorney Employers

1. Perkins Coie
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$153,048
Patent Attorneys Hired: 
16+
2. Ladas & Parry
3.6
Avg. Salary: 
$117,766
Patent Attorneys Hired: 
14+
3. IBM
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$140,943
Patent Attorneys Hired: 
7+
4. Armstrong Teasdale
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$113,919
Patent Attorneys Hired: 
7+
5. Novartis
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$130,879
Patent Attorneys Hired: 
7+
6. Kodak
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$83,567
Patent Attorneys Hired: 
6+

Patent Attorney Videos

Updated October 2, 2020