Do you dream of successful career in Intellectual Property (IP)? First of all let’s clear up the essential information: what exactly this job implies and which tasks namely a patent attorney should fulfill.
Who am I going to be?
A patent attorney is a lawyer, who has expertise in intellectual property law, they lead both companies and individual inventors through the required process to obtain a patent and then act to enforce, secure and protect inventors’ property rights.
Let us remind you that patterns are granted by the government and give inventors the rights to prevent others from using or copying illegally their inventions for up to 20 years.
Since traditionally a patent attorney is an all-round specialist, they should possess a unique combination of various talents and skills. IP specialists are supposed to be knowledgeable in a wide range of science and technologies, and also to be capable of analyzing technical matters from a legal standpoint. As a patent attorney you are expected to show developed communication skills, ability to write with both clarity and precision, and capacity for detailed analysis of complex matters. To be more precise, let’s mention some additional skills for people doing ip jobs. According to National Career service IP lawyers have the following duties:
- excellent oral and written communication skills, along with English German and French will also be useful, if you have knowledge of Japanese and Chinese that will be an advantage;
- the ability to structure a precise, coherent argument;
- confidence and tenacity;
- an eye for details;
- the ability and willingness to work with a wide variety of people (even in a multi-national environment);
- self-motivation and the ability to manage your own workload;
- the ability to take responsibility.
To be a patent attorney you need a degree in a science, engineering, technical or mathematics-based subject.
Training is usually takes place on the job and includes self-directed study and external training courses. You need to complete a minimum period of training and successfully pass professional examinations in order to get a license. For example “patent bar exam” (federal exam) is a compulsory one and it enables you to get the license. This exam also enables the lawyers to represent clients before the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). There is also one additional exam, all the lawyers have to pass – the state bar exam.
In contrast in Europe to get the qualification of European patent attorney you should take the examination set by the European Patent Office (EPO). Before taking the European qualifying examination you need to complete three-year training under the supervision of a European patent attorney and then take a pre-examination.
Now when you are armed with all the necessary knowledge on the skills and qualifications you are supposed to have in order to get a job of patent attorney, let’s talk about how exactly you may get the job.
Mind that there are two main groups of employers: large industrial employers and private practice partnerships. Talking about large industrial employers, they include manufacturers of various kinds of products – so, you will work on diverse patent issues related to the products these employers manufacture.
Remember that on the modern market there are many specialists and to able to compete with them you should not only be knowledgeable in the chosen area, but also creative, inspired and highly motivated. Be the right one!