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Patent Attorney Salary (United States)

Patent Attorneys in the United States can expect to earn a very generous salary, with average salaries (in the ballpark of $136K) surpassing six figures annually. Total incomes of Patent Attorneys incorporate potential for, in a few cases, more than $34K from bonuses and close to $27K from profit sharing; these performance components cause packages to range between $79K and $220K. Location and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A strong majority report receiving medical coverage from their employers and more than half collect dental insurance. Men make up the vast majority of Patent Attorneys (87 percent). Most Patent Attorneys like their work and job satisfaction is high. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
Patent Attorney Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$76,474 - $194,722
(Median)
76K
100K
130K
160K
190K
MEDIAN: $129,500
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Patent Attorney Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$24.47 - $201.34
(Median)
24
52
150
200
MEDIAN: $52.00
10%
50%
75%
90%
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National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$80K$160K$240K
Salary
$76,474 - $194,722  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $33,627  
Profit Sharing
$1,930 - $27,369  
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).
)
$78,619 - $219,942  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 642
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$70$140$210
Hourly Rate
$24.47 - $201.34  
   
Overtime
$46.18 - $101.74  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$140K$280K$420K
Bonus
$0.00 - $33,627  
   
Profit Sharing
$1,930 - $27,369  
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).
)
$78,619 - $219,942  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 26
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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.
Read More...
Patent Attorney Tasks
  • 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.
  • Works with federal patent examiners to resolve any patent related issues.
  • Discuss invention and research the likelihood of successfully attaining a patent.
  • Litigates patent infringement controversies in court.

Patent Attorney Job Listings

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Survey takers who work as Patent Attorneys typically report just a few professional skills. Those who have experience with Intellectual Property , Prosecution, and Patent Prosecution can expect to be compensated well for these skills.

Pay by Experience Level for Patent Attorney

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For many Patent Attorneys, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Individuals who have worked for fewer than five years report earning $117K on average, a generous six-figure sum for those just starting out. Patent Attorneys who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $174K. Patent Attorneys who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $178K. Most employees in this workforce have between one and nine years of experience; a majority of those surveyed fall within this distribution. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up around one in five of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise fewer than one in ten, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining less than one-tenth.

Pay Difference By Location

San Francisco
up arrow 39%
Chicago
up arrow 19%
Boston
up arrow 16%
Washington
up arrow 11%
New York
up arrow 7%
Seattle
up arrow 7%
Atlanta
up arrow 6%
San Jose
up arrow 3%
Philadelphia
up arrow 3%
National Average
$136,000
Cleveland
up arrow 5%
Minneapolis
up arrow 6%
San Diego
up arrow 9%
Dallas
up arrow 10%
Los Angeles
up arrow 10%
Houston
up arrow 11%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
With a pay rate for Patent Attorneys that is 39 percent greater than the national average, San Francisco offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Other big spenders include Chicago, Boston, Washington, and New York, top-paying cities where Patent Attorneys see paychecks higher than average (+19 percent, +16 percent, +11 percent, and +7 percent). In Houston, salaries are 11 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Los Angeles and Dallas (10 percent lower).

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Experience Affects Patent Attorney Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 30%
Experienced
up arrow 28%
Mid-Career
up arrow 11%
National Average
$136,000

Skills That Affect Patent Attorney Salaries

Prosecution
up arrow 2%
Patent Prosecution
up arrow 1%
National Average
$136,000

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 113 votes.

Gender

Female
13%
female alumni
 
Male
87%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
26%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
7%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 86% dental benefits Dental: 64%
vision benefits Vision: 48% employee benefits None: 13%