What does a Patent Attorney do?

Patent attorneys offer legal advice to clients regarding intellectual property issues and matters surrounding inventions. They assist with trademarks, patents, and copyright law issues and have the ability to work independently, in a specialized firm, or in-house with a corporation. They draft, file, and prosecute patent applications on behalf of clients who are inventors and argue cases before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Patent attorneys represent inventors during the application process and sometimes act as litigators to protect a customer’s rights to what they have invented. They assist clients through the lengthy and complicated process required to apply for and receive a patent for their invention. They remain up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations that govern patent laws and conduct searches to ensure a client’s invention has not been previously represented within the public domain Patent lawyers need a Juris Doctor and must pass the state bar exam. In some cases, a patent lawyer also must pass the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office exam.

Work/Life Balance
3.8 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.6 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

Patent Attorney Salaries

Average Base Pay

$167,246 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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Median: $167K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Patent Attorney Career Path

Learn how to become a Patent Attorney, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

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Patent Attorney Insights

Read what Patent Attorney professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Tyco Fire & Security
IP Counsel
Aug 9, 2021

“I was in the Exeter NH HQ and my boss and his boss were the best.”

Mewburn EllisMewburn Ellis
Associate Patent Attorney
Dec 10, 2020

“There is a supportive culture and I can see myself staying at the firm for my whole career.”

Hanley, Flight & ZimmermanHanley, Flight & Zimmerman
Patent Attorney
Apr 5, 2021

“At the same time I was able to pay my bills and enjoy the security of having benefits.”

Intellectual Property Attorney
Oct 18, 2021

“Good service overall really nice”

Dr. Shlomo Cohen & Co.
Patent Attorney
Jan 1, 2021

“The CEO micromanages to a degree which makes it almost impossible to get any work done.”

Barnes GroupBarnes Group
IP Counsel
Dec 26, 2021

“Great team to work with really enjoyed my time there”

Hickman Palermo Becker BinghamHickman Palermo Becker Bingham
Patent Attorney
Aug 31, 2020

“Great people to work with”

McDermott Will & EmeryMcDermott Will & Emery
IP Attorney
Jun 2, 2021

“very good work life balance”

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Patent Attorney Interviews

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Patent Attorney Jobs

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a patent attorney

The most similar professions to patent attorney are:
  • Document Review Attorney
  • Attorney
  • Counsel
  • Trial Attorney