How to Become a Patent Attorney


If you are interested in becoming a patent attorney, read on to learn about the qualifications, employment outlook, and training with a patent attorney. You can also learn about the European Qualifying Examination for patent attorneys and find out what to expect in this career. The first step to becoming a patent attorney is to take the European Qualifying Examination. During the exam, you will have to prove that you are an excellent lawyer and have the necessary experience.

Qualifications for a patent attorney

There are many requirements for becoming a patent attorney, including a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a science-related field. Additionally, candidates must pass an exam assessing their knowledge of patent law. Graduate-level courses in the scientific or engineering fields are often required. However, long experience in the relevant field can be acceptable in certain circumstances. Finally, applicants must pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and be admitted to practice law in one of the states or US territories.

Many patent attorneys begin as trainees, sometimes called technical assistants, before obtaining a license to practice patent law. This step allows them to legally sign documents and handle cases. The experience gained from the internship helps them manage the cases and increase their earning potential. As experience builds, they can move into more senior positions. Qualifications for a patent attorney include an understanding of the science behind inventions and the process of obtaining patents.

Employment outlook for a patent attorney

The job description for a patent attorney is similar to that of a lawyer in other areas of the law, such as intellectual property, but there are some differences. Patent attorneys in large firms will encounter a wider range of issues and are likely to handle a mix of litigation, prosecution, and transactional work. Private companies and research institutions often hire patent professionals in-house to handle licensing agreements and patent prosecution. Grant Reed, a patent attorney from Washington, D.C., was interested in an industrial setting and was willing to relocate to any city that offered the position.

To become a patent attorney, you must complete an advanced degree and earn a law degree. A diploma from a law school can lead to lawyer status in some states. Upon completion of the required education, you can begin practicing law in your state or seek licensure as a lawyer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for patent attorneys will grow as fast as the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026.

European Qualifying Examination for a patent attorney

A degree in an engineering or scientific field is required to sit for the EQE examination. Under certain circumstances, a long experience in the scientific field is sufficient. After passing the examination, candidates must register as European patent attorneys and pay a subscription to the EPO. The EQE covers both substantive and technical aspects of patent law. The examination is taken in English, French, or German. A successful candidate must also have a minimum of two years’ experience in patent law before sitting for the examination.

The EQE has been rescheduled from the present date, to 5 March 2020. The reason for this cancellation is that of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. While this may sound alarming for many, trainee patent attorneys are not forgotten. Because of this, the supervisory board of the European qualifying examination decided to postpone the examination. In an attempt to ensure that the examination is not impacted by the disease, the supervisory board of the European Patent Office has decided to postpone the exam for a few more years.

Training with a patent attorney

There are several ways to become a patent attorney. You can pursue a master of laws degree with a specialization in patent litigation or multinational intellectual property law. These courses are accredited by the Institute of Patent Attorneys (IPReg). However, they do require students to have substantial experience as a patent attorney. You will have to pay a registration fee to take the course. However, the fees are well worth it for the opportunity to gain valuable experience.

A postgraduate degree or IP certificate course is one way to improve your chances of landing an interview. If you don’t get called for an interview, you can try contacting potential patent associates on LinkedIn and ask them some valid questions about their work. Be sure to ask them in a humble-brag manner. This will help you establish an initial connection and can serve as an icebreaker during your interview. Alternatively, you can contact a patent attorney who has worked at a different patent firm.