Patent Attorney Salary
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...
One responsibility of a patent attorney is to analyze all current company products (either released or in development) to ensure they will not infringe upon existing patents or can be defended against them. This role requires deep knowledge and analytical skills not only in the patent field, but also in the organization's field of development. Another responsibility of the patent attorney is to write and apply for patents for products and technology being developed by their company. A familiarity and understanding of the patents process is required, and all parts of the patent must be correctly addressed and the application must adhere to professional submission procedures.
One major ongoing job of patent attorneys in many organizations is the defense of their company’s technological or product patents. This requires excellent research skills and diligence in reviewing current and existing patents from third-party establishments. The patent attorney works in active courtroom litigation of all company patents within their organization as well.
Patent attorneys typically work long hours. In addition to the specialized education requirements already stipulated, they should have strong familiarity with computers and word processing, and be able to write frequent directives and reports related to ongoing patent litigation.
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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Popular Skills for Patent Attorney
Patent Attorneys report using a pretty varied skill set on the job. 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. Those educated in Intellectual Property tend to be well versed in Patent Prosecution.
Pay by Experience Level for Patent Attorney
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience and income seem to be closely related; in general, the survey respondents who had worked for more years reported higher incomes. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $117K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $159K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Patent Attorneys bring in $175K after working for 10 to 20 years. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $182K.
Pay Difference by Location
San Francisco offers some of the highest pay in the country for Patent Attorneys, 22 percent above the national average. Patent Attorneys will also find cushy salaries in San Jose (+17 percent), Seattle (+15 percent), Atlanta (+15 percent), and Chicago (+13 percent). Irvine ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 11 percent below the national average. Employers in Detroit and Denver also lean toward paying below-median salaries (11 percent lower and 8 percent lower, respectively).