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Gain Patent Agent Experience & Unlock High-Paying Job Opportunities

published March 09, 2023

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
Published By
( 155 votes, average: 4.7 out of 5)
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BCG Attorney Search is the nation's largest and most geographically diverse recruiting firm specializing exclusively in permanent attorney placements. They currently have more attorney openings, in more practice areas and locations, than any other legal recruiting firm.

A patent agent is a professional who specializes in intellectual property law and assists inventors, attorneys, and businesses in securing patent protection for new inventions. Patent agents are typically trained in a variety of areas such as patent law, chemistry, physics, engineering, and computer science. Patent agents help evaluate patent applications, perform legal research, and provide legal advice. To be a patent agent, one must have a college degree in an applicable field, an understanding of patent law, and must pass the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Examination.

The USPTO Exam is a six-hour, two-part test, which evaluates the applicant's knowledge of patent law and procedure and their technical knowledge in the relevant scientific field. The exam is divided into two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A focuses on patent law and procedure while Part B tests the applicant's technical knowledge. The applicant must pass both parts in order to be awarded a patent agent registration.

The job of a patent agent can be quite rewarding but also very challenging. Patent agents must be able to keep up with the rapidly evolving nature of patent law and technology. They must also be highly skilled in researching patent information, as well as in writing patent applications and supporting documents.

To be successful in the profession, patent agents need excellent research and writing skills, as well as an understanding of legal and technical jargon. Patent agents must be knowledgeable about current patent laws and procedures, be able to interpret the results of technical research, and understand the implications of the various legal decisions made.

Being a patent agent requires dedication and hard work. Many patent agents start off as claimants with prior experience in the patent field, such as inventors, attorneys, or engineers. They then move into a more specialized role as a patent agent. This position requires a great deal of dedication and commitment, from researching and writing patent applications to memorizing the finer points of patent law.

The number of patent agents is growing rapidly due to the need for qualified professionals. The demand for patent agents has increased significantly due to the ever-expanding body of patent laws and regulations, as well as the need for highly qualified professionals to manage the complex process of filing and prosecuting applications.

In order to become a patent agent, a person must have a high level of knowledge and expertise in the relevant field of science or engineering, as well as a solid grasp of legal and technical jargon. Applicants must also demonstrate their expertise through passing the USPTO Exam. Those wishing to become a patent agent should consider seeking professional guidance from a qualified attorney or patent agent. With dedication and hard work, a career as a patent agent can be highly rewarding and successful.

The History of Patent Agent Experience

The concept of patent agents has been around since the 19th century when the first patent law was enacted. At the time, patent agents provided invaluable advice to inventors seeking to protect their inventions and creations with a patent. Through the ages, patent agents have become highly sought-after professionals in the field of intellectual property law. Over the years, the need for experienced and knowledgeable patent agents has grown exponentially.

What Does a Patent Agent Do?

Patent agents specialize in preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office. Their expertise lies in navigating the complex USPTO system and helping inventors obtain patent protection for their inventions. In addition to preparing patent applications, patent agents often provide guidance in other areas of intellectual property such as copyright and trademark registration.

Why Choose a Patent Agent?

A patent agent brings years of experience and knowledge in the patent law industry. Patent agents can provide detailed and up-to-date advice on patent law, regulations and the most effective strategies for achieving the successful granting of patents. With their experience and expertise, patent agents are well-equipped to ensure that their clients secure a successful patent application.

Qualifications of a Patent Agent

In order to become a patent agent, an individual must have a minimum of a four year undergraduate degree in a science or engineering related field, along with a background in law. They must also pass the USPTO registration exam before they can register with the patent office and practice as a patent agent. Additionally, they must have a good understanding of the US patent system and regularly stay abreast of its changes.

Patent Agents & the Patent Process

Having a patent agent onboard throughout the patent process can be an invaluable asset. Patent agents provide valuable guidance in researching and preparing patent applications. They can also provide valuable advice on defending patents and patent infringement lawsuits. Patent agents can also provide guidance on patent licensing, enforcement and infringement matters. They are also well-equipped to provide legal counsel in the event of a patent dispute.

Before entering law school next Fall, I will have a year of high-tech patent prosecution experience as a patent engineer. How much will this experience benefit me when seeking an IP/Patent associate position with the big firms? Can it make up for not being top of my law school class or not being from a top 25 law school?

Your experience as a high-tech patent prosecutor will certainly strengthen your application and should compensate for the fact that you have not graduated from a top 25 law school or at the top of your law school class. Patent prosecution attorneys are typically in high demand, and the pool of attorneys with the appropriate technical background is small. Your background will likely make you eligible to sit for and increase your chances of successfully completing the Patent Bar.

Attorneys with scientific undergraduate or graduate degrees are highly in demand in the intellectual property arena. Moreover, attorneys with technical expertise in certain scientific fields are far more likely to obtain employment as a patent attorney than those without such expertise. As a result, the pool of potential candidates for patent positions is particularly small. To top that off, your technical experience as a patent engineer will provide you with the technical know-how to understand the technical intricacies of patent prosecution, infringement and negotiating and drafting tech-related licensing agreements and briefs. This puts you at an advantage over many of your law school classmates.

While there are certainly differences that could be pointed out, for the most part the expertise of patent attorneys falls into the following categories: (1) the life sciences, (2) chemistry & pharmaceutical, (3) material science, (4) electrical engineering, (5) physics, (6) mechanical engineering, (7) medical devices, (8) computer science. In terms of demand, the greatest demand is for attorneys with backgrounds in electrical engineering or computer science. There is also a strong demand for attorneys with biotechnology, biochemistry or organic chemistry backgrounds. The lesser demand is for those with mechanical or chemical backgrounds.

The fact that you appear to have both a technical degree and patent prosecution background, when coupled with a law degree, makes you a unique and highly desirable candidate for law firms. While there are certainly many people who graduate each year with technical and science degrees, very few of these people may have any interest in attending law school because there is usually a good market available for these individuals, even without a law degree. Therefore, you will be a fairly unusual commodity with a law degree. Additionally, the demand for patent attorneys is compounded by the fact that the need for patents has continued to increased dramatically. For example, a recent article in the Legal Times stated that the number of patents issued each year has increased 30-40 percent since 1990. During the same period of time, the number of software patents increased by approximately 200 percent.

It is important to mention, one of the reasons your background is valuable is that it makes you eligible to sit for the Patent Bar. In order to even sit for the Patent Bar, an applicant needs prior scientific or technical training at the Bachelor's degree level in a science or engineering field (or significant college credits in one of these fields). Assuming you have the requisite training to qualify to take the Patent Bar, you must also pass it, and the pass rate for the patent bar exam is much lower than for most bar exams - it typically ranges from 28% to 40%. In the 1996 exam, for example, 968 people passed, and 1794 failed. Your engineering background and prior patent prosecution background will certainly help your chances of completing the exam successfully. Once you pass the Patent Bar, you will have all the elements in place to have a successful law firm career.

I did notice that your question assumes that you will not be at the top of your class in law school, even though you haven't started. Although you will likely be a marketable attorney, graduating at or near the top of your class will dramatically improve your opportunities with top-tier firms. I strongly encourage you to focus on your performance in law school. Although you may still be quite successful without stellar grades, graduating at the bottom of your class may be a significant hurdle for your success, especially with respect to opportunities early on.

In conclusion, it seems as though you have all the pieces you need to begin law school and do well throughout your career. I recommend that you focus on your grades, and pay careful attention to the firms that have an intellectual property practice, especially those that offer summer associate internships. One of the best ways to make inroads with a firm is to take a summer associate position, so that you will be in the pool of law students from which they choose full time associates. We wish you the best of luck!

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Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

published March 09, 2023

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 155 votes, average: 4.7 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.