Patent Law Career

Patent Career Center Patent Agent/Attorney Employment

Where Can Patent Agents/Attorneys Seek Employment?

Most engineers and scientists are already employed at companies or institutes where they are involved in research and development. The end goal in mind at a company or institute is to find a unique way to solve a problem, gain the intellectual property rights to that solution and then market it.

Whether you are an engineer working on an intricate computer design at Hewlett Packard or a biomedical researcher attempting to discover a new drug, your company wants to develop inventions and gain patent rights on them. This holds true even at academic institutes across the nation. Patents are key to measuring success in both the scientific and engineering comunities.

Since the fields of research and intellectual property are so entertwined, imagine the new career opportunities you would be presented with if you were trained in both areas. Furthermore, as a scientist or engineer, most of the qualifications necessary to achieve a patent license have usually already been met. It is likely that your only requirement may be to pass the Patent Bar Exam. It is a difficult hurdle, but in comparison to the time and money you already spent to become a scientist or an engineer, the time and money necessary to pass the patent bar exam is reasonable.

The cost to become a registered patent practitioner is:

$390.00 for the patent bar exam
$100.00 for the patent practitioner registration fee
$0-3,000+ for study materials/courses

In today's unpredictable job market, expanding your skills makes sense, especially when this can be accomplished for a relatively low expense and little time. Compared to getting a degree, setting aside even 3-6 months to learn about the patent prosecution process and take the patent bar exam is very reasonable. Especially when you consider the fact that it will open an entirely new career door for you. Whether you wish for a complete job change or the desire to become more marketable for technology based companies, gaining skills is always a smart move to make.

Patent Attorney: An individual with a technical background in science or engineering, who is classified as an attorney (which involves taking the state bar), and has passed the Patent Bar exam. Patent attorneys may practice law before the USPTO, including all aspects of the patent prosecution process. In addition, they may aid in litigation proceedings such as infringement cases over patented inventions.

Patent Agent: An individual with a technical background as a scientist or an engineer who has passed the Patent Bar exam. Patent agents may practice law before the USPTO which includes all aspects of the patent prosecution process.

Types of places that commonly employ patent attorneys & agents:

  • Law firms
  • Academic institutions
  • Biotech companies
  • Engineering companies
  • Government institutions


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