On average, Patent Attorneys in the United States earn six-figure salaries ($135K) annually, making for a very well-paid profession. With some bonuses approaching $39K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $18K, overall incomes of Patent Attorneys spread between $78K and $211K depending on individual performance. Career duration and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. Making up 79 percent of those who took the survey, male Patent Attorneys greatly outnumber their female counterparts. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$76,794 - $197,366
$77K
$130K
$200K
MEDIAN: $134,859
10%
50%
90%

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$25.76 - $290.87
$26
$40
$290
MEDIAN: $40
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$80K$160K$240K
Salary
$76,794 - $197,366  
   
Bonus
$1,633 - $39,321  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $17,879  
Commission
$1,000  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$78,174 - $210,997  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 382
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$100$200$300
Hourly Rate
$25.76 - $290.87  
   
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$200K$400K$600K
Bonus
$1,633 - $39,321  
   
Commission
$1,000  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $17,879  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$78,174 - $210,997  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 13

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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Job Description for Patent Attorney

A patent attorney works in a company to ensure that its patents adhere to standard protocols and are defended against infringements. The position requires the candidate to have a law degree and to have passed the bar exam in the state in which the company is located. Additionally, certain companies look for lawyers who have studied engineering, biological, or other technology-related fields.

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Patent Attorney Tasks

  • Discuss invention and research the likelihood of successfully attaining a patent.
  • Litigates patent infringement controversies in court.
  • Works with federal patent examiners to resolve any patent related issues.
  • Describe inventions in strict legal terms and drafts patent application; challenge, negotiate, resolve and amend contested patent areas.
  • Analyze scientific and technical documents previously granted patents to determine if invention is new, innovative and does not infringe upon patented items.

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Popular Skills for Patent Attorney


Overall, survey participants reported applying a fair number of skills to their work. Most notably, skills in Patent, Prosecution, Intellectual Property, and Patents are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing Technical Writing as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Patent Prosecution and Patents also typically command lower compensation. Most people experienced in Intellectual Property also know Patent Prosecution.

Pay by Experience Level for Patent Attorney

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Patent Attorneys who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Even the relatively untested can score weighty six-figure salaries; survey participants with less than five years' experience report earning a median of $117K per year. On average, Patent Attorneys make $179K following one to two decades on the job. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $190K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $142,156

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For those looking to make money, Patent Attorneys in San Francisco enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 20 percent above the national average. Patent Attorneys will also find cushy salaries in Cleveland (+19 percent), Seattle (+13 percent), Atlanta (+13 percent), and Washington (+11 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Irvine, 13 percent below the national average. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Detroit and Houston (13 percent lower and 7 percent lower, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Patent Attorney

Gender

Female
21 %
Male
79 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 38 votes.
Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
39%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
22%
20 years or more
11%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Patent Attorney Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 33%

Experienced
up arrow 26%


National Average
$142,000


Skills That Affect Patent Attorney Salaries

Patent
up arrow 8%


Prosecution
up arrow 1%

National Average
$142,000

Patents
up arrow 12%

Patent Prosecution
up arrow 21%

Technical Writing
up arrow 42%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 38 votes.

Gender

Female
21 %
Male
79 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
39%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
22%
20 years or more
11%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 86%
dental benefits
Dental: 72%
vision benefits
Vision: 57%
dental benefits
None: 13%
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