How to Become A Patent Lawyer with Engineering Degree | 11 Steps
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There’s no denying that patents are essential to businesses today. If you want to get ahead in your career, you need to become a patent lawyer. A patent is a specialized right granted to inventors for their inventions. It protects these inventions from being copied or used without permission. Let’s find out how to become a patent lawyer with engineering degree.
The first step to becoming a patent lawyer is getting a bachelor’s degree in law or science. Then, you should take some legal courses and earn a Juris Doctor degree. You can also work as a paralegal before applying for admission into a patent bar association.
Patents are issued by the United States (US) Patent and Trademark Office to companies who come up with new inventions. These patents grant exclusive rights to the inventor for a limited time, usually 20 years. Companies pay large sums of money to obtain these patents.
Today, there are thousands of patents being filed every year. This makes it very hard for someone without experience even to try to understand what a patent entails.
This blog will discuss becoming a patent lawyer with an engineering degree.
Now let’s begin!
How to Become a Patent Lawyer with Engineering Degree
Choose a major
Choosing a major is a career-defining decision you will make when selecting a college or university. It will have a long-lasting impact on the rest of your life. It would help if you chose something that interests you not hate it later on.
The first thing you’ll need to decide is if you want to study science or engineering.
Get a bachelor’s degree
A bachelor’s degree helps you set yourself apart from other applicants. As long as you meet the minimum GPA requirements, you will receive admission into any graduate school in the country.
GPA is calculated using grades received at all undergraduate institutions attended.
Take classes related to patents
Whether you intend to go to law school or medical school, you must take classes that relate specifically to your future profession.
You may be required to take a course like Introduction to Law or Medical Ethics during your undergrad studies. However, it would help if you took classes related to patents, such as Intellectual Property: A Business Perspective.
Become familiar with business practices
As a patent attorney, you will likely work closely with business people. Therefore, you must become familiar with business practices and their legal terms.
Learn how to write well
Writing is another essential skill needed for success. To succeed in your career, you will need to express your thoughts in writing clearly.
Work on projects related to patents
One way to practice your skills as a patent lawyer is to create your project. By doing so, you will gain valuable insight into what you’re capable of performing.
Apply for internships
An internship is a learning way to enhance your skills while knowing more about the industry.
Most legal firms offer unpaid internships where they match interns with clients based on their skills. Some offer paid internships too.
Join a law firm
Finally, you may consider joining a law firm after graduation. Many law students find jobs here before attending law school. However, remember that working in a law firm does require dedication and commitment. The hours tend to be longer than those found at a regular job.
So, before making a decision, think carefully about whether you’re willing to commit.
Practice applying for patents
Applying for a patent requires expertise. Since you cannot attend conferences or seminars, you must learn everything yourself. For example, you must read the complete application form and instructions thoroughly. Then, you must practice filling out forms until you get it right.
Write a good resume
Your CV is probably the most critical document in your job search. It needs to be perfect. If you don’t know about resumes, you can always hire a professional writer to help you.
Maintain Time Duration
The process varies depending on your educational background. Most students need between four and six years to obtain a law degree. Then, they’ll need another two to three years to complete the Patent Agent Examination. Those who want to practice patent law may need even longer.
Depending on which school you attend, the average length of time to become a patent agent is seven to ten years. As noted above, applicants need to pass both the General Test and the Paper Test. The third part of the examination – the Live Interview – requires passing a series of questions.
Who is a patent lawyer?
A patent lawyer is someone who specializes in creating and defending new inventions. Large companies usually employ them, but many small businesses also use them.
In addition to helping inventors protect their ideas, a patent lawyer works on problems relating to intellectual property rights. The United States Patent Office has an annual budget of $1 billion. The USPTO employs over 6,000 patent lawyers. Patents are issued for 20 years when first filed and 30 years if not challenged.
Patent Law Demand
The demand for patent attorneys increased significantly between 2007 and 2008 because of the economic downturn. This was especially true because many law schools had cut back on their programs due to the financial crisis.
Patent jobs typically pay better than other types of law positions. For instance, one patent attorney makes around $100,000 per year. Other lawyers make much less — some earn only $35,000 annually.
There are several paths to becoming a patent lawyer. You can go directly from college to practice law. Or, you can start a law career by taking classes at a graduate level.
After completing law school, you can enter the workforce or continue studying. There are many opportunities to learn law after earning a bachelor’s degree. An MBA is often highly regarded among employers.
Patent Agent Exam
You can also prepare for a career as a patent agent. A patent agent helps create and defend patents. While no license is required to be a patent agent, applicants should pass the Patent Agent Examination.
This exam consists of three parts:
- You need to take the General Test.
- You must write a paper describing how you handle specific scenarios involving patents.
- Will have to pass a live interview.
Each applicant must submit a CV/resume and cover letter with their application. Applicants must also provide proof of their education and experience. To get a job as a patent agent, you need to score at least 70% on each exam section.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can an engineer become a patent attorney?
Yes! If you want to work with them, you can try your hand in this field. However, keep in mind that you won’t necessarily become a patent attorney. Instead, you may choose to specialize in something else.
You’ll need to understand and apply legal principles. In particular, you’ll need to analyze cases and find solutions to various problems.
Becoming a patent lawyer takes anywhere from five to eight years. You’ll need to complete undergraduate studies and acquire a law degree during this time. After receiving your law degree, you can begin preparing for the Patent Agent Examination. Depending on your performance during this test, you might be offered employment.
Do patent lawyers need an engineering degree?
No. Many people believe that engineers don’t qualify for careers in the field. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Engineers are just as allowed as any other type of worker. They’re more likely to have a background in science and mathematics.
If you’re interested in working with patients, then a master’s degree in electrical engineering could help you get started. You’ll learn about circuit analysis, digital logic, and data communication subjects.
Do patent lawyers make more than engineers?
It depends on where you look. Some companies offer higher starting salaries to patent attorneys than to engineers. These firms usually require candidates to hold a law degree.
However, most patent attorneys aren’t paid very well. They tend to earn around $50,000 annually. Considering all expenses such as rent, food, and transportation isn’t harmful. It’s not nearly enough to support a family. On the other hand, many engineers make far more money.
What is an engineering patent lawyer?
An engineering patent lawyer works closely with engineers who wish to protect their intellectual property.
Do law firms hire engineers?
Law firms hire patent agents and patent lawyers. There are two main reasons why law firms employ these professionals. The first reason is that these positions are relatively easy to fill. Most people already possess the skills needed to perform them successfully.
The second reason is that patent agents and lawyers often do not charge much. They typically bill less than $100 per hour. So, that means it costs less to retain them than hire someone who sets more.
To sum up, becoming a patent lawyer with an engineering degree involves obtaining a law degree and passing the Patent Agent Examination. After accomplishing both tasks, you can then start looking for jobs. You will need to understand and apply technical information. In particular, you will need to research and interpret case law.
I’m a driven and accomplished law graduate and post-graduate, passionate about sharing my legal expertise via my blog. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of London (UK) and a Master’s in Law from the University of Derby (UK). Both gave me the foundational knowledge and skills to excel in my chosen career path.
Throughout my academic journey, I have gained extensive knowledge in various fields of Law, including Corporate and Business Law in the USA, Criminal Law, International Law, US Copyright law, and most importantly, American Constitutional law.