Patent Lawyers



Patent lawyers are intellectual property lawyers who specialize in securing patents for inventors from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and prosecuting or defending suits of patent infringements. Patent law is a blending of two fields: applied science and law, and as such, patent lawyers usually have degrees both in law and a technical field, such as engineering. Patent lawyers usually earn more than lawyers in other fields. In May 2018, there were 642,750 lawyers, with a very small percentage specializing in pa...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

Law Degree



Summer internships during law school are recommended





Personality Traits



In the legal field, salaries tend to increase in predictable increments as the lawyer gains experience and seniority. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the May 2018 median salary for practicing lawyers was $120,910, although some senior partners earned more than $1 million a year. Ten percent earned less than $58,220. Higher salaries are generally found in major urban areas at large fi...

Work Environment

Generally, there is a heavy workload with this career, and stress is part of the job. Successful and well-educated patent lawyers can find themselves in especially high demand, and keeping hours down to an even remotely reasonable number can be a challenge. However, even this negative aspect has its upside, since patent lawyers entering the field in the next few years should find plenty of dema...


The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment for lawyers will grow by 6 percent through 2028, or as fast as the average for all careers. The demand for patent attorneys will likely be much greater than attorneys in other areas of practice.

The passage of the 2011 America Invents Act, which was the biggest overhaul in the United States patent system in six decades, is believed to...