Patent Agent Salary Trends and Job Profile 2021

patent agent salary trends

In a world that is led forward by technology, patents encourage researchers to find answers to unsolved problems. Patents not only protect the findings of researchers and engineers but also help them monetize their findings through licensing. Top tech companies filed thousands of patents in 2020 even during the pandemic. 

companies with most patents in us
Fig: Companies with the most US patents granted to them in 2020, Source: Statista

While those who develop the technology may come from an engineering or science-based background, filing the patents and getting all the paperwork and follow-up done requires considerable knowledge of the law of the land along with other educational qualifications which may differ from one country to another. Usually, this position is taken up by former lawyers who have domain-specific knowledge of the industry in which he or she wants to work as a patent agent.

Patent agents aren’t employed only by tech firms. They also work at

  1. Law firms
  2. Legal departments of big MNCs and retailers
  3. Universities and Colleges
  4. Pharma Companies
  5. Research Labs
  6. Government Agencies like Space Research or Weapons Research Organizations
patent agent job postings
Fig: Patent Agent Job Postings and Metrics Worldwide, as recorded in 0ct 2021  Souce: Data from JobsPikr

Data gathered by our team at JobsPikr showed more than 5000 jobs for the post of Patent Agents all over the world across more than 1000 companies. Among the top 5k companies, the average job posts/company was found to be 5. Unique job titles were almost 1.5k. Unique keywords in skill sets stood at more than 800.

Patent Agent Salary

Salaries for patent agents start at a handsome sum of around $60,000. It rises to a max of almost $180,000 after around 6-10 years of work experience. However, we need to also take into account that the maximum salary has been seen to fall to around $140,000 by the 16-20 year mark.

patent agent salary trends
Fig: Salary in $ vs years of experience Souce: Data from JobsPikr

The minimum levels follow a smoother slope and rise to around $100000 after 11-15 years of work experience. It falls to $90,000 after the 16-20 year mark. The fall in the maximum and minimum salary after considerable time in the industry is a surprising trend and only a deep dive into the factors at play can help ascertain the exact reason behind this. 

Key Points in a Patent Agent Job Description

Job descriptions for Patent Agents vary based on the industry. The requirements for the job at a fashion house may differ from that of a tech company or a pharma laboratory. However, some basic skill sets are a must o be able to execute the day-to-day activities of a patent agent. Communication skills, attention to detail, legal knowledge, domain-specific knowledge, and analytical skills are the most important skills that are a must-have irrespective of the domain or country that a patent agent may work in.

Patent Agent Profile Requirements 

Most companies require patent agents to have an advanced degree such as a Master’s or a Ph.D. in the field in which they operate. They should have practiced before the United States Patent and Trademark Office or have the ability to do the same. For Patent Agents working in other countries, there would be similar organizations where they would need to get a registration or a permit. They would also need to be registered as a Patent Attorney. A law degree is usually required as well for candidates in most countries. Prior experience in the legal field is a must even if the candidate hasn’t worked as a Patent Agent earlier. 

Skill Requirements

Based on the data at hand, understanding intellectual property rights is the most desired skill that is needed from Patent Agents. Understanding of patents and their filing process comes second. 

patent agent skill trends
Fig: Top Skills required for Patent Agent Posts (Y-axis is the number of job postings  with the mentioned skill in 2021) Souce: Data from JobsPikr

At the 3rd, 4th and 5th position stands writing patents, research, and due diligence. However, these are very close and often overtake or fall below one another. An interesting observation here is that all of these skills are a must for any patent agent, no matter which type of company he joins, or which country he decides to file patents in. This would be the reason behind their frequent occurrence among job posts that were mined by our team.

Work Experience Requirements

Almost all companies ask for previous work experience in the legal field or experience in filing patents. Entry-level jobs account for more than 50% of the job opportunities that we researched. Mid-level jobs make up another 45% of the jobs. The rest of the 1-2% is made up of executive-level job opportunities. 

patent agent seniority level trends
Fig: Patent Agent Jobs based on seniority, Source: Data collected by JobsPikr

Since some work experience is required in the legal field, most patent agents start off as lawyers initially. Internships with considerable work experience can also help your job application for a Patent Agent position.

Working Hours 

Working hours may be considerably erratic for Patent Agents. In times of crisis(when patents for the latest tech need to be filed urgently), long hours or weekends of toiling may be required. Patent agents need to collaborate with attorneys, researchers, and business teams. 

They also need to regularly visit the USPTO office. Meeting different clients may require traveling long distances regularly. Such demanding hours may be stressful and may not suit all individuals. 

patent agent job type trends
Fig: Patent Agent Jobs (Full time vs the rest), Source: Data collected by JobsPikr

As per the data at hand, most job posts for Patent agents are full-time positions. A small percentage are also part-time or undefined. Negligible Contract and Internship positions also exist. Almost no volunteer positions were seen.

Top Global Employers and Major Locations

Demand for patent agents has risen sharply in recent years thanks to demands from both corporations and individuals who want to protect the results of years of work and determination. In the technology-based 21st century they play a major role in helping create a legal framework where intellectual rights are respected and protected. Some of the top companies that hire Patent Agents worldwide are given below:

MicrosoftComputer Hardware and Software
Cardinal Intellectual PropertyResearch & Development 
US Patent and Trademark OfficeFederal Agency
F. Chau & AssociatesLegal
Intellectual VenturesVenture Capital & Private Equity
Patterson & SheridanLegal
MaxVal GroupIT Services
CPA GlobalLegal
Fig: Top Companies from different sectors that hire Patent Agents, Source: Glassdoor

Patent agents are usually hired by 2 types of companies– a) agencies and consultancy firms that help businesses sort out their legal issues or b) Large research-based firms that require patent agents to regularly file new patents for the work done by their scientists and engineers.

Career prospects

Patent agents usually start at entry-level positions where most of what they do is research prior patents. This helps one learn a lot about patents, how they are written and how technical details are put down on a piece of paper. The initial months helps one gain familiarity with patents of all kind. You would require a few years of experience along with passing some examinations and gaining on-the-ground experience to progress to an associate position. 

As an associate, you would be taking on more responsibilities and would be directly in charge of filing patents, and getting them approved for companies. After considerable experience as an associate and having gained experience with different types of patents, one would usually move on to take a partner position at their firm, or start their patent firm. 

Many in this industry try setting up their firm after a few years of handling patents at big law firms or consultancies. While it may be a harder nut to crack, success would mean more clients, more success, and being your boss.

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