Patent Attorney Salary (United States)

Patent Attorneys receive generous compensation in the United States—earning an average of $136,206 per year, their standard salaries shoot well into the six-figure range. Pay generally spreads from $78,619 to $219,942 per year. Total cash compensation runs from $76,474 to $194,722, depending on bonuses that can occasionally exceed $34K and profit sharing that reaches $27K. Residency and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Men make up the vast majority of Patent Attorneys (87 percent). Most Patent Attorneys report high levels of job satisfaction. Replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire form the basis for this summary.
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  
PayScale
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  
PayScale
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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Pay by Experience Level for Patent Attorney

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Patent Attorneys, experience in the field tends to play a major role in salary negotiations; pay increases with more experience. Those just starting out earn a more-than-comfortable six-figure sum, bringing in $117K annually. Those with one to two decades of experience under their belt tend to see salaries around $177K. Salary increase slows as Patent Attorneys pass 20 years in their field, with average salaries hovering around $178K. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up 20 percent of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise less than 10, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining 7 percent. Between one and nine years of experience is the norm for people in this field—a majority of those surveyed fit this bill.

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.
For Patent Attorneys, busy San Francisco offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 39 percent above the national average. Those in search of high salaries should also consider checking out cities like Chicago, Boston, Washington, and New York, top-paying markets where Patent Attorneys rake in more than the national norm (+19 percent, +16 percent, +11 percent, and +7 percent). Houston is the lowest-paying area, 11 percent south of the national average. Employers pay around -10 percent in Los Angeles and -10 percent in Dallas, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Related Job Salaries

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%
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