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What does a Patent Attorney do?

Learn all about Patent Attorney duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Patent Attorney.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A patent attorney is a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property law, with a focus on patents. Patent attorneys help inventors secure patents for their inventions, and they also help companies defend their patents against infringement.

Patent Attorney job duties include:

  • Conducting patentability searches
  • Drafting and filing patent applications
  • Responding to office actions from the USPTO
  • Prosecuting patents before the USPTO
  • Working with clients to identify inventions
  • Identifying potential infringement of patents
  • Conducting due diligence in connection with mergers and acquisitions
  • Licensing patents
  • Preparing opinions on patent validity and infringement
  • Litigating patent disputes

Patent Attorney Job Requirements

A patent attorney is an attorney who has the specialized qualifications necessary to represent clients in obtaining patents and enforcing patent rights. A person must have a law degree and pass a written examination in order to be registered as a patent attorney with the USPTO. In addition, many states require that attorneys be licensed to practice law in that state. Patent attorneys must have a technical background and be able to understand and explain complex technical concepts to clients and judges. Many patent attorneys have a degree in engineering or a similar field, in addition to their law degree.

Patent Attorney Skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Research skills
  • Writing skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Patience
  • Persistence

Related: Top Patent Attorney Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Patent Attorney

There are a few different ways that one can become a patent attorney. The most common way is to have a degree in engineering or science and then attend law school. After completing law school, the individual must pass the bar exam in order to practice law. In addition, many states require that attorneys complete continuing legal education (CLE) courses on a yearly basis. Some states also require that attorneys complete an ethics course as well.

The American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) also offers a certification program for patent attorneys. To be eligible for the AIPLA certification program, an individual must have a degree in engineering or science, must have passed the bar exam, and must have at least three years of experience working with patents. The AIPLA certification program consists of a written exam and an oral exam.

Becoming a patent attorney requires both a strong technical background and legal training. Individuals who are interested in becoming a patent attorney should consider pursuing a degree in engineering or science and then attending law school.

Related: Patent Attorney Resume Example

Related: Patent Attorney Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

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