What does a Patent Lawyer do: Everything you need to know

What does a Patent Lawyer do: Everything you need to know


2 min read

Patent law is highly specialised. A good patent lawyer ensures your invention is protected.

What does a patent lawyer do?

A patent lawyer specialises in protecting intellectual property (IP). They examine inventions, guide inventors through the patent application process, and obtain patents for the inventions. To become a patent lawyer, one must:

  • Earn a degree in science or engineering

  • Complete a law programme and pass state examination

  • Pass the USPTO license exam

Most lawyers are not knowledgeable about patent law. A successful business should hire a lawyer specialising in patent law.

Patent Lawyer Roles

A patent lawyer:

  • Assesses if inventions are new and innovative

  • Guides inventors through patenting process

  • Acts to enforce patent rights when patents are violated

Patent lawyers submit applications for IP protection, advise on licensing and other contract-related matters, and represent clients before authorities like the European Patent Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

How to Select the Correct Patent Lawyer

A qualified patent lawyer should have technical understanding, the ability to explain, clarify, and simplify complex concepts, and be well-versed in patent law. Look for a firm that offers the right level of attention to your patent application.

Becoming a Patent Lawyer

To become a patent lawyer, one must:

  1. Earn a bachelor's degree in a field accepted by the USPTO

  2. Complete a Juris Doctor (J.D.) program at an accredited law school

  3. Pass the USPTO license exam

  4. Register as a patent lawyer

Earning Potential

Patent attorneys earn between about US$78,000 andUS$215,000 annually. The median annual salary is US$130,225.

Do You Need a Patent Lawyer to Get a Patent?

While not required, having a patent lawyer is highly recommended due to the complexity and legalities of obtaining a patent. Patent law is technical, and writing your own patent can be risky. If you choose not to use a patent lawyer, consider using a professional patent writer or filing a preliminary patent application.

How to Find a Patent Lawyer

Look for a lawyer knowledgeable in your invention's field and who understands the specific language in patents. Contact the patent lawyer, ask questions, and ensure they have the expertise and experience needed for your invention.