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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.