How to become a patent attorney
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You'll usually need a degree or postgraduate qualification in a technical subject, for example:
Once you finish your course, you can apply to work as a trainee in a patent office and study for professional exams while you work. It usually takes at least 2 years to qualify.
You may be able to take a postgraduate award in law or intellectual property law, which can count towards qualification as a patent attorney. Many patent attorney trainees are sent on one of these courses by their employers.
If you do a course that covers intellectual property or patent law, it may exempt you from part of the professional training.
You'll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
You could start your career by finding work as a technical assistant or trainee patent attorney. This may be in a firm of attorneys, or in a company's patent department. Once working, you would take further training to qualify. This route can take between 4 and 6 years.
You may be able to find work without a scientific or engineering degree if you have a very high level of technical experience gained in industry.
This may also apply if you're a qualified solicitor with experience of working in intellectual property rights. You would still be required to study for and pass professional exams.
- you will need to register with the Intellectual Property Regulation Board
It may help in some jobs if you can read business French and German to a reasonable level, as clients often want advice about European patents, which can be prepared in English, French or German.
You can find more details about working in intellectual property rights from The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.