The legal profession is often associated with rain-makers, ambulance chasers, and sharks, but patent attorneys are in a league of their own. In contrast to the abundance of other types of lawyers, patent lawyers are in high demand. This is due to the ever-growing economy and the shortage of lawyers specializing in patents. Working as a patent attorney can be mentally exhausting, as it requires a great deal of technical knowledge and can involve billing up to 2000 hours a year.
When the top law firms hire patent lawyers, they understand that they may come with some baggage. On the other hand, the experience of most in-house patent attorneys is often even more demanding and complex than that of a law firm. Patent law has been the result of over a decade of negotiation and lobbying, making it highly sought after by the best patent lawyers. This demand can be attributed to the United States Inventions Act, which is the biggest reform of the United States patent system in six decades.
Furthermore, online platforms are giving more value to patented products by ranking them higher on search engines. Amazon and other platforms such as ETSY now have processes for citing sellers as patent violators or pending patents. This is due to companies becoming tired of fighting against non-participating entities known as “trolls” who buy patents solely for the purpose of suing other companies for infringement. Although having a law degree is important for detecting problems, it may not be essential for the job.
The average lawyer would not understand what patent attorney's university and graduate courses were about. Ratings do not necessarily reflect the type of performance that a law firm can expect from a lawyer when they practice with them. The degrees most sought after by patent lawyers are those in electrical engineering, computer science, and computer engineering. In certain disciplines such as litigation, superior performance in law school is very important because the ability to synthesize information and manipulate verbal facts is subjective.
The more intelligent and knowledgeable a lawyer's use of facts and law is, the more likely their client is to win. The experience gained by scientists working in a company is quite different from that of an average lawyer who enters a firm to escape the pressures of a law firm or gain less sophisticated experience within a company. The fact that a lawyer did not attend one of the best law schools does not make their skills any less marketable.