Intellectual Property Law Job Description

United States


Intellectual property law jobs are legal jobs that relate to intellectual property, which are property interests in things like inventions, logos and artistic works that are the product of someone's mental efforts and intellectual labor.Intellectual property law jobs generally relate to patents, trademarks and/or copyrights, all of which are regulated by the federal government.

Patent attorneys handle litigation and/or transactional matters regarding patents, which are ownership interests in scientificinventions like computer programs, devices and medicines.Patent attorneys also handle patent prosecutions, which involves preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications with the United States Patent &Trademark Office (the "USPTO").

In addition to passing one or more state bar exams, patent attorneys must pass a special bar exam given by the USPTO and be members of the Patent Bar.Moreover, because patent attorneys deal with complex scientific inventions, they often have graduate-level degrees in the scientific areas in which they work.Patent attorneys might be mechanical engineers, have a degree in one of the "hard sciences" (electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, physics and astrophysics), or have a degree in one of the "life sciences" (biology, biochemistry, chemistry, organic chemistry, genetics, neuroscience, medicine and chemical engineering). 

Two other kinds of patent-related intellectual property law jobs are patent agents and technical specialists.Patent agents are members of the Patent Bar who work on patent applications but do not handle other patent-related legal matters such as patent infringement litigation or patent licensing transactions.Technical specialists also work on patent applicationsbut are not attorneys or members of the Patent Bar.Like patent attorneys, patent agents and technical specialists must have specialized knowledge and training in the area in which they work and often are required to have graduate-level degrees.

Trademarkattorneys handle legal matters regarding trademarks (or "marks"), which are ownership interests in phrases, symbols and slogans used to identify particular goods and services.Trademark attorneys might handle trademark cases in court or help clients secure trademarks with the USPTO.

Copyright attorneys assist clients in matters regarding copyrights, which are ownership interests in artistic expressions such as novels, motion pictures, operas and sculptures.Copyright attorneys help clients secure copyrights by making filings with the United States Copyright Office.Copyright attorneys also sometimes litigate cases involving copyright infringement and other matters involving copyrights.

Here are a few sample intellectual property law job descriptions:

Intellectual Property Lawyer

The candidate must have a background in mechanical engineering and 2-5 years of patent prosecution experience for its Intellectual Property practice. Experience in oilfield services or mechanical systems would be preferred.

Attorney-Business and Intellectual Property Law

The candidate should have Business Law and Intellectual Property experience. A registered Patent attorney is highly desirable. Must have 3-5 years of experience. Excellent writing and research skills is required. General litigation experience a must. IP litigation experience a plus. Business litigation experience. Trial experience a plus. Bilingual (English/Spanish) a plus.

Intellectual property Lawyer

The candidate will be drafting patent applications and other documents during all stages of the patent prosecution process with the US Patent and Trademark Office and with foreign patent offices; taking invention disclosures and coordinating and corresponding with inventors, lawyers, and clients; conducting and analyzing the results of prior art searches; and maintaining knowledge of the latest patent laws in order to assist lawyers with drafting legal documents. Must have JD degree and a BS or higher degree in mechanical engineering or a similar engineering discipline. Should have 2+ years of experience as a patent lawyer.

VP & Senior Intellectual Property Law Counsel

Responsibilities: IP legal support, guidance and leadership for commercial matters including: Contract Development, Drafting, Review and Negotiation Support - NDAs, IP licenses, consulting Agreements, R&D collaboration, technology and joint development and vendor agreements; Draft template/playbook provisions and support negotiations of agreements involving trademarks, open source, patent rights, technology, trade secrets and IP indemnities; Supervise legal direct report to refine and support practices for the proper use of free and open source software and protection of core trade secrets; Manage IP legal work related to copyright, including fair use analysis; Advising on various matters related to intellectual property. Support mergers and acquisitions including supervision of legal direct reports, due diligence, managing outside counsel, and working with M&A legal and business teams. Support and manage all legal aspects of IP litigation. Support and manage Branding and Trademark legal practices, including trademark clearances, licensing and trademark disputes. Lead, support and participate in the development of IP policies, practices and processes to enable, extend and defend businesses. Manage product clearance activities to ensure freedom to operate, including managing outside counsel, educating management, and counseling Engineering and Technology Department with respect to patent design around initiatives. Support and manage matters related to patent acquisition opportunities. Support and evolve wide IP Compliance Program and associated IP training.

Qualifications: An intellectual property attorney registered as a patent attorney with the U.S. PTO with significant expertise in patents, trademarks, trade secret protection, commercial transactions, and a solid track record in commercial and technology licensing and in conducting right to use/freedom to operate product clearance investigations. Global experience and a corporate technology perspective with a deep understanding of IP transactions and a demonstrated ability to quickly assess and simplify complex issues down to actionable, cost effective, practical solutions.'

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