What does an Intellectual Property Attorney do?

Patent attorneys offer legal advice to clients regarding intellectual property issues and matters surrounding inventions. They assist with trademarks, patents, and copyright law issues and have the ability to work independently, in a specialized firm, or in-house with a corporation. They draft, file, and prosecute patent applications on behalf of clients who are inventors and argue cases before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Patent attorneys represent inventors during the application process and sometimes act as litigators to protect a customer’s rights to what they have invented. They assist clients through the lengthy and complicated process required to apply for and receive a patent for their invention. They remain up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations that govern patent laws and conduct searches to ensure a client’s invention has not been previously represented within the public domain Patent lawyers need a Juris Doctor and must pass the state bar exam. In some cases, a patent lawyer also must pass the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office exam.

What responsibilities are common for Intellectual Property Attorney jobs?
  • Work closely with IP teams to execute intellectual property strategy.
  • Focus on patent filings, due-diligence, landscape analysis, freedom-to-operate analysis, and validity assessment arising from collaboration with industry partners.
  • Support all aspects of litigation, including discovery, depositions, motion practice, and trials.
  • Coordinate with outside counsel and internal partners to move matters forward in a progressive, fast-paced legal department.
  • Handle US and foreign administrative patent actions (e.g., post-grant oppositions, third party observations, inter partes reviews, etc.).
  • Counsel clients on patent strategy, and gain exposure to conducting searches and preparing patentability, invalidity, and non-infringement opinions.
  • Establish and maintain internal practices, procedures and technology for coordinating and streamlining patent and trademark-related information, filings, and deadlines.
  • Guide decision-making to minimize IP risk, develop launch strategies and to secure freedom to operate.
  • Draft and prosecute patent applications, prepare patent opinion letters, provide IP counseling to clients, and conduct patent due diligence studies in connection with business transactions.
What are the typical qualifications for Intellectual Property Attorney jobs?
  • Juris Doctor.
  • Advanced expertise in working with plaintiffs.
  • Comfortable serving in an advocacy role.
  • Strong leadership, negotiation, and critical thinking skills.
  • Able to project a strong sense of confidence.
  • Highly collaborative, capable to work with staff and other attorneys on-site and remotely, as well as serving as a role model and mentor to other associates within the office.
Education--
Work/Life Balance
3.8 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.6 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

Intellectual Property Attorney Salaries

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Intellectual Property Attorney Career Path

Learn how to become an Intellectual Property Attorney, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Intellectual Property Attorney

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
15%
2 - 4
51%
5 - 7
23%
8+
11%
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Intellectual Property Attorney Insights

Read what Intellectual Property Attorney professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Tyco Fire & Security
IP Counsel
9 Aug 2021

“I was in the Exeter NH HQ and my boss and his boss were the best.”

Mewburn EllisMewburn Ellis
Associate Patent Attorney
10 Dec 2020

“There is a supportive culture and I can see myself staying at the firm for my whole career.”

Hanley, Flight & ZimmermanHanley, Flight & Zimmerman
Patent Attorney
5 Apr 2021

“At the same time I was able to pay my bills and enjoy the security of having benefits.”

JMMBJMMB
Intellectual Property Attorney
18 Oct 2021

“Good service overall really nice”

Dr. Shlomo Cohen & Co.
Patent Attorney
1 Jan 2021

“The CEO micromanages to a degree which makes it almost impossible to get any work done.”

Stanley Black & DeckerStanley Black & Decker
Senior Patent Counsel
8 Mar 2022

“Very good engineering efforts to produce the best tools in the market”

Barnes GroupBarnes Group
IP Counsel
26 Dec 2021

“Great team to work with really enjoyed my time there”

K & S PartnersK & S Partners
Trademark Attorney
8 Jul 2021

“Great people to work with”

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Intellectual Property Attorney Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of an Intellectual Property Attorney

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