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Is Pursuing a Career in Patent Law the Right Move for You?
By: Lisa Parmley

Is Pursuing a Career in Patent Law the Right Move for You? Copyright © 2005 Lisa Parmley Intellectual Properties Enterprises, Inc

Did you know that you might be eligible to gain entry into
the field of patent law even without a law degree? The basic
requirements are a degree in a technology-related field and the
will to pass the Patent Bar Exam.

The field of patent law is wide open to Biologists, Chemists,
Engineers, Computer Scientists, and many other science and
technology professionals. And it's true; individuals with the
proper science or engineering degree need only pass the Patent
Bar to become registered Patent Agents.

Upon becoming a Patent Agent, you may gain employment writing and
prosecuting patent applications at law firms, technology transfer
offices, biotech or engineering corporations, and government

>From there, you may decide whether or not to go on to law school
and become a Patent Attorney. In addition to writing and
prosecuting patents, a Patent Attorney can also litigate in
patent infringement cases.

The Perfect Skill Set

Patent law is the perfect field for many creative and talented
individuals since it requires so many qualities to be successful.

There is definitely a people-oriented side to a career in patent
law. This is especially true when you consider the "isolated lab
environment" most scientists and engineers are used to. Contrast
this with the fact that an inventor's hopes and dreams will be
riding on the invention and you will be there every step of the
way to help them achieve their goals. Obviously, a great deal of
interviewing and excellent communication is required in order to
adequately learn what was invented and write a patent

Which brings us to the next point, patent practitioners must
also have excellent writing skills. Drafting a quality patent
application is tedious work that requires the absolute best in
written communication.

In addition, a strong background in either science or technology
is a must. You will have to understand exactly what has been
invented in order to write a quality patent application.

Lastly, as a Patent Practitioner, you should possess a thirst for
never-ending knowledge. You will be right on the cutting edge of
research and development and will always be exposed to new and
exciting discoveries virtually before anyone else!

The Dollars and Cents

It's the million dollar question. What might you expect to
make as a professional in the field of patent law? Well,
the pay scale varies from $45,000 up to $250,000+ for Patent
Practitioners and is determined by many factors (yes I realize
that's quite a span).

First, as we've already eluded, if you are a scientist or
engineer without a law degree you will be classified as a Patent
Agent after you pass the Patent Bar Exam. If you have a law
degree and are already considered an attorney, you will be
classified as a Patent Attorney upon passing the exam. As a
Patent Attorney with the same level of experience as a Patent
Agent, you will typically earn the higher income because in
addition to writing and prosecuting patents, you may also help
protect patents in a court of law.

Second, your degree level will help determine your pay. If you
have a Bachelor's degree in your particular area of expertise,
you will typically make less than someone with a Master's or a

Third, your experience level will make a difference. Your
previous positions will count when factoring your salary. The
number of years you have worked as an engineer or scientist
will make a difference. The more experience you have, the more
valuable you will be perceived by the company. The longer you
have worked in the field of patent law, the higher your pay will
be as well.

Lastly, where you seek employment makes a difference in your pay.
Law firms typically pay the most, whereas a Technology Transfer
department at a University will usually pay the least.
Furthermore, the state and city you apply for work in will
also play a factor.

Hot Commodity

Businesses in the science and technology sectors regard patents
as their lifeline. Therefore, gaining status as a registered
Patent Practitioner can open many career doors for you.

Since the fields of research and intellectual property are so
intertwined, imagine the new career opportunities you would be
presented with if you were trained in both areas. Furthermore, as
a scientist or engineer, most of the qualifications necessary to
achieve registration as a Patent Practitioner have usually
already been met. It is likely that your only requirement may be
to pass the Patent Bar Exam. It is a difficult hurdle, but in
comparison to the time and money you already spent to become a
scientist or an engineer, the time and money necessary to pass
the Patent Bar Exam is reasonable.

In today's unpredictable job market, expanding your skills makes
sense, especially when this can be accomplished for a relatively
low expense and little time. Compared to getting a degree,
setting aside even a full year (although it can be completed in
much less time) to learn about the patent prosecution process and
take the Patent Bar Exam is very reasonable. Especially when you
further consider the fact that it will open an entirely new
career door for you. Whether you wish for a complete job change
or the desire to become more marketable for technology based
companies, gaining skills is always a smart move to make.

Lisa Parmley of Intellectual Properties Enterprises, Inc. Check-out to learn more about
the Patent Bar Exam and how you can start your career as a
Patent Practitioner.

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