Patent Attorney Salary

On average, Patent Attorneys in the United States earn six-figure salaries ($132K) annually, making for a very well-paid profession. Cash earnings for Patent Attorneys — which occasionally include more than $38K from bonuses and more than $20K from profit sharing — stretch from around $80K to approximately $220K. Career length is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Patent Attorneys who took the survey are largely men, dominating at 85 percent. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a majority collect dental insurance. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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$77,887 - $195,781
(Median)
$78K
$130K
$200K
MEDIAN: $131,744
10%
50%
90%

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$20.27 - $202.03
(Median)
$20
$50
$200
MEDIAN: $50
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
$77,887 - $195,781  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $37,823  
Profit Sharing
$148.99 - $20,426  
Commission
$500  
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).
)
$79,661 - $219,592  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 655
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$70$140$210
Hourly Rate
$20.27 - $202.03  
   
Overtime
$75.00  
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$140K$280K$420K
Bonus
$0.00 - $37,823  
   
Commission
$500  
Profit Sharing
$148.99 - $20,426  
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).
)
$79,661 - $219,592  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 21
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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

  • 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.

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Popular Skills for Patent Attorney


Survey results suggest that Patent Attorneys put a wide range of professional skills to use. Most notably, skills in Intellectual Property, Prosecution, Patent Prosecution, and Patents are correlated to pay that is above average. Technical Writing and Patents, on the other hand, are typically associated with much lower pay. Most people familiar with 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.


The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $120K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $155K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $179K in this role. Patent Attorneys who have racked up more than two decades of experience report lower incomes overall; the average sum for this crowd comes out to only $176K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $139,595

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

San Francisco offers some of the highest pay in the country for Patent Attorneys, 22 percent above the national average. Patent Attorneys can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Chicago (+19 percent), Atlanta (+15 percent), Washington (+12 percent), and Seattle (+11 percent). Los Angeles is the lowest-paying area, 15 percent south of the national average. Workers in San Diego and Minneapolis earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (13 percent less and 9 percent less, respectively).

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Experience Affects Patent Attorney Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 28%

Late-Career
up arrow 26%

Mid-Career
up arrow 11%

National Average
$140,000


Skills That Affect Patent Attorney Salaries


Prosecution
up arrow 3%

National Average
$140,000

Patent Prosecution
up arrow 2%

Patents
up arrow 11%

Technical Writing
up arrow 26%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 81 votes.

Gender

Female
15 %
Male
85 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 86%
dental benefits
Dental: 67%
medical benefits
Vision: 51%
dental benefits
None: 13%
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