The Who, What, Where of Careers:
Patent Law


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What does this person do? 

  • Research whether the idea/product from a scientist is patentable
  • Apply for patents on the behalf of a scientist
  • Handle the rights of the patent by deciding whether someone is infringing on the patent & representing the patent in the court of law

Where does this person work?   

  • US Patent and Trademark Office
  • Private Law Practice

Education and Experience Requirements:


Education & Experience

Patent Examiner  

  • BS, MS, or PhD in the science fields

Technical Specialist

  • BS, MS, or PhD in the science fields
  • No law degree required

Patent Agent

  • BS, MS, or PhD in the science fields
  • Pass the USPTO patent exam

Patent Attorney

  • BS, MS, or PhD in the science fields
  • Law degree required
  • Pass the USPTO patent exam and state bar

What to Consider before Entering the Profession:

  • Do you like reading and writing? Every time you apply or receive a patent, you must do your own research to determine whether the invention/idea is patentable, so you spend about 90% of your time reading and writing.
  • Most projects have a quick turn around, such that, you will have to come up with a decision given the information you know in the allotted time. 

Other information:

  • In the US Patent and Trademark Office, a patent examiner evaluates patent applications
  • In a private law practice:
    • A technical specialists acts as a consultant to explain the science of a patent application to patent agents that file the application
    • A patent agent writes and submits patent applications & relay application information to inventors
    • A patent attorney represents the patent in the court of law