Would I Be a Successful Patent Lawyer?
Patent lawyers work with exciting new inventions in the world of science and technology. The cutting-edge nature of patent law makes it a career that is both interesting and rewarding. It is, however, a highly specialized field that requires a specific set of skills and interests. See how yours compare:
|Are you interested in intellectual property law?||Yes or No|
|Do you have a scientific, technical or engineering background?||Yes or No|
|Do you have exceptional communication skills?||Yes or No|
|Do you enjoy research?||Yes or No|
|Do you learn quickly?||Yes or No|
|Are you analytical?||Yes or No|
|Are you versatile?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong interpersonal skills?||Yes or No|
|Do you have a strong work ethic?||Yes or No|
|Do you enjoy school?||Yes or No|
Why Do I Need to Consider These Questions?
Are you interested in intellectual property law?
Patent lawyers specialize in intellectual property law and must pass the federal patent bar exam before they may practice.
Do you have a scientific, technical or engineering background?
Because patents typically involve scientific, engineering or technological inventions, patent lawyers often have a degree in one of these fields.
Do you have exceptional communication skills?
Patent lawyers spend a great deal of time communicating in writing, in person and via the telephone. They need to clearly explain laws and the legal process to clients, accurately present patent applications and convincingly defend patents when facing litigation.
Do you enjoy research?
Patent lawyers must conduct extensive research of current patents in order to thoroughly understand existing technology so they may appropriately emphasize the innovative features of a new invention when crafting a patent application.
Do you learn quickly?
When hired by a client, a patent lawyer must quickly develop an understanding of not only the invention, but also the client's business and the reasoning behind the invention.
Are you analytical?
Fundamentally, patent lawyers are problem solvers who analyze a new invention, the current market and the applicable laws in order to develop the appropriate patent solution for a client.
Are you versatile?
Working with patents naturally entails encountering new ideas. As a patent lawyer, no two clients or inventions you encounter will be the same, so versatility is key.
Do you have strong interpersonal skills?
A patent lawyer must establish credibility and connect with a variety of people, ranging from clients to juries. The ability to build a rapport with others is a critical skill.
Do you have a strong work ethic?
Patent lawyers have many responsibilities, including learning about a client's business, conducting research, crafting documents and interacting with representatives of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Long hours are typical.
Do you enjoy school?
Patent lawyers must have an undergraduate degree and a Juris Doctor (J.D.), a combination that takes roughly seven years to complete. They also often have advanced degrees in a technical field.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
If you replied positively to most of these questions, you are on the right track in considering a career as a patent lawyer. Keep in mind that, along with completing the educational requirements and passing the patent bar exam, you will also have to pass your state's bar exam. While studying and training to become a patent lawyer is neither quick nor easy, you may expect to be well compensated when you practice in this field. The median salary for patent lawyers in 2016 was nearly $132,000, according to Payscale.com.