How to Become a Lawyer

How to Be a Patent Lawyer

The responsibilities of a patent attorney include filing patents on inventions, securing trademarks, handling paperwork for rejected patents and trying again, and checking to see if someone has already filed a patent for similar inventions.

Patents exist to protect original work. Patents are, however, very difficult to obtain. The process proves complex because of the extensive paperwork the government must process. A patent attorney knows the ins and outs of the system and can help people secure their original idea or inventions. A patent attorney’s job does not end when the client obtains the patent, as other parties might infringe on it in the future and thus require additional legal action.

1. Complete an undergraduate program and earn your Bachelor’s degree. Choose a major with a technical leaning, as this will prove useful when you try to understand your clients’ inventions. A patent attorney will typically have a background in biology, chemistry, physics, engineering or computer science.

2. Take the LSAT and obtain a good score. Purchase preparation materials and enroll in a preparation course if you feel studying on your own is not enough.

3. Apply to law school. Sometimes your Bachelor’s degree and your LSAT score will not prove sufficient. Some law schools might also ask for recommendation letters and admission essays. Gather all the necessary documents before the deadline and send in your application to the law school or schools of your choice.

4. Follow three to five years of law school, depending on whether you take on a full-time or part-time postgraduate program. You will have to go through the basics of the legal system, but once you can choose to specialize, you should focus on patent law.

5. Graduate from law school and get your Juris Doctor degree. Take and pass the bar exam in your state. The bar exam will test your knowledge of both federal and state law and does not differentiate between specializations.

6. In order to have a career as a patent attorney, you will have to also pass the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) registration examination. This exam, also known as the “patent bar,” shares similarities with the bar exam you have to pass to practice law. The “patent bar” will test your knowledge of patent law and USPTO policies and procedures. Once you pass the USTPO examination, you can work as a patent attorney. Check the official website of the Unites States Patent and Trademark Office (http://www.uspto.gov/) in order to find more information about the test and other procedures.

7. You might hear about patent agents, who can also apply for patents. Patent agents are engineers or scientists who can file a patent, but cannot offer legal advice or represent clients before the Trademark Office part of the USPTO or in court. A law school graduate who does not pass the bar exam but passes the USPTO examination still just has the designation of a patent agent.