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6 Things You Should Know Before Applying for Patent Attorney Jobs

Patent attorney jobs can be some of the most rewarding in the legal profession, with both great average salaries and solid job security. Before choosing this career, you'll want to consider these 6 facts about them.

Embarking upon a patent attorney career is a trade that can bring you a massive amount of job security, as well as a massive salary so long as you’re able to play your cards right.  But that also means that you have to be sure you’re prepared for what the job entails, as well as what you’re going to have to do when you’re working with patents. There is a lot of knowledge that you’re going to need to acquire, in addition to preparations that you’re going to have to make for this type of a career path if you want to succeed.  So here are 6 things that you need to know about patent attorney jobs, before you take the step of applying to a position near you:

1) Educational requirements are pretty stringent.

In order to qualify for the best patent attorney jobs, you have to have the best education possible, so there are a few courses you’re going to need to take when you’re in college.  Most typically you have to have an actual degree in patent law specifically as your major.  But from there, it can also be helpful to have undergraduate degrees in engineering, physics, computer science, etc, etc.  This is mostly so that you can better understand the lingo that’s going to be associated with the job that you perform, which is really important in ensuring that you fully understand the documents for which you have to preside.

2) Certification requirements are equally stringent.

Just because you passed the courses in college does not mean that you’re ready to take your place and take the reins as a patent attorney.  Rather, you need to pass some pretty rigorous training requirements in order to show that you have an understanding of patent law, and what you will be dealing with.  That means passing a state bar exam, which is a necessity to actually practice as a lawyer in any courtroom.  But from there, you also have to take the patent bar, which means passing the United States Patent and also Trademark Office Registration exams.

3) Patent attorney salary prospects are good however.

Despite all the rigorous training that comes with getting the job, as well as the education, you’ll find that it’s well paid for in most careers. Starting patent attorneys often earn at least into the $30,000 or even $40,000 in some entry level careers.  But from there, the opportunity to become a partner at a law firm is always a possibility if you work your way up, and then the sky is the limit on how much money you could actually make, and six figures is virtually assured.  What’s more, these are jobs that are expected to grow throughout the years with the rest of legal positions, so more opportunities are always springing open.

4) However, one of the ugly sides of the job are long hours.

As with most types of legal careers, your hours are not determined by time on the clock, but rather the scale of the job and the time slot for which you have to complete it.  In the legal world, especially with any type of patent attorney jobs, you’re going to find that you’re always battling a deadline.  So when one case is nearing it’s closure, you can end up having to deal with excessive 80 hour weeks, which are twice what you would have to work at most standard full time positions.

5) Finally, be aware of the general skills that are required to be a good patent attorney.

In order to succeed in this type of a job, what you really need is a good understanding of what the job entails, as well as the skills that will make you better or worse at your job.  One of the big ones that really separates the men from the boys as it were, is attention to detail.  For just about any lawyer this is important, but for patent attorney jobs this is necessary.  A comma in the wrong place, or an incorrectly worded sentence can totally change what a patent means, and it’s your job to catch these.

What’s more, here is where it can also be important to have a good grasp on English and grammar as well, so it’s important to have those classes and lessons under your belt as well.  That way, you can slog through the pages and pages of legal speak that you will have to get through on a daily basis, so that you can build a case, or break one down, depending upon the type of attorney you become.


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