How to Become a Patent Attorney? – Patent Attorney Requirements!

How to Become a Patent Attorney?

To become a patent attorney, you need to earn a 4-year degree in a field of science or a technical degree in engineering such as civil, electrical, biomedical, or mechanical. Finally, you need to complete an accredited law school program and then pass a patent bar exam.

It is always better if a student decides to become a patent attorney early to focus on specializing in the required subjects to get the qualification. The US patent and trademarks office (USPTO) has specified that a patent attorney should have a technical/scientific background, preferably a degree in engineering or science and a law degree from a reputed United States (US) law school. After this, the student should also pass the bar exam for patent attorneys.

Patent law attorney requirements

What qualifications do you need to be a patent attorney?

  • US citizen or legal resident in the US
  • A bachelor’s degree in at least one of the following subjects is biology, chemistry, physics, computer engineering, electrical engineering, microbiology, pharmacology, and organic chemistry.
  • Complete law degree from a law school accredited with ABA
  • Pass the law school admission test (LSAT)
  • Pass the patent bar exam


Educational background (degree list)

The USPTO specifies that a degree in science/engineering is required to become a patent attorney, with a few exceptions. A person who has a technical and scientific background may also apply. For this, the person should complete 24 hours physics courses to get a physics degree, 30 hours in chemistry courses for a chemistry degree, or complete 36-40 semester hours courses, which include 8 hours each in chemistry, physics, and the remaining hours in different subjects like biology, microbiology, molecular biology, botany, engineering or other topics.

Here is the list of degrees that you can have to become a Patent law attorney:

  • Aeronautical engineering
  • Agricultural engineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Botany
  • Ceramic engineering
  • Chemical engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Computer engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Electrochemical engineering
  • Electronics technology
  • Engineering physics
  • Food technology
  • General chemistry
  • General engineering
  • Geological engineering
  • Industrial engineering
  • Marine technology
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Metallurgical engineering
  • Microbiology
  • Mining engineering
  • Molecular biology
  • Nuclear engineering
  • Organic chemistry
  • Petroleum engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Physics
  • Textile technology


After getting the law degree and coursework specified, the lawyer should submit the official transcripts of his academic records to the USPTO. The USPTO does not accept copies or unofficial transcripts. Therefore, only official transcripts are required. The applicant can either request the college or school he attended to send the transcripts to the USPTO or send the transcripts himself.

Examination for Patent Bar

The registration examination at USPTO is also called the patent bar exam, has 100 multiple-choice questions. The individual will pass the exam if he answers 63 out of 90 questions correctly, 70% of the questions. Though there are 100 questions for the exam, 10 questions are only for beta testing and will not be considered for the examination.

Moral standing

Only lawyers whose moral standing is good are allowed to practice law in the state. Similarly, all lawyers who wish to register with the USPTO should have a “good” moral standing. The individual should not be dishonest and should be convicted for unethical behavior like fraud. Attorneys subjected to disciplinary action for dishonesty or disbarred may find that registration application at the USPTO denying since the moral standing is not good.

Work/job profile

Patent lawyers and attorneys spend their time preparing, drafting, and filing applications for patents on behalf of their clients. They also spend many hours of their time replying to the patent office’s inquiries regarding the patent applications of their clients, which are pending and getting updates on the patent status. The patent attorney will also spend time in meetings with the client to discuss whether the invention can be patented and whether it is worth investing time and money in patenting the design or innovation.

Patent attorney income

According to the salary website, Payscale, on average, a patent attorney with no experience will make $138054 annually. Some of the larger attorney firms pay their employees more, and the highest salary is $204000 annually. The lowest salaries for new patent attorneys range between $77000 and $82000 every year for the first few years, and the median salary is $122375 annually.

Time is taken to become a patent attorney.

The time taken for becoming a patent attorney is discussed for a student who has not started studying for his college degree.

– 4.5 years for an engineering or science degree

– 6 months for preparing, passing the LSAT

– 3.5 years for a law degree at a reputed law school

– 6 months required for preparing, passing the patent-bar exam

So hardworking and sincere students willing to study without a break can become a patent attorneys within nine years of starting college studies. In addition, having a Ph.D. degree will give the attorney an edge over other students who do not have a similar qualification.

Patent attorney work from home

Individuals interested in becoming patent attorneys would like to find out if they can work from home. Since the attorney spends most of their time preparing and drafting the patent applications, this work can be done from the comfort of the house. In addition, the attorney can also reply to inquiries from the patent office from home.

Patent attorney skills and mindset

A person who pays attention to details is willing to work continuously for many hours, sitting at one place, drafting applications, replying to emails will find that a patent attorney’s work is ideal for him. Only individuals with excellent written and oral communication skills should consider this career since their success depends mainly on their ability to communicate effectively and clearly with others. The invention can be complex, but the attorney should explain all aspects of the invention clearly to the patent office to get the patent for his client. It is not easy to become a patent attorney since the student should be willing to study for many hours to pass the exams. The student has to study many subjects thoroughly so that he can remember them for his law exams.

How to become a patent lawyer with an engineering degree?

To become a patent attorney with an engineering degree, you need to complete an accredited law school program and then pass a patent bar exam.

Do you need a Ph.D. to be a patent attorney?

No, you do not need a Ph.D. to be a patient attorney because a 4-year degree in a field of science or a technical degree in engineering is enough. However, besides a science or technical degree, you need to complete an accredited law school program and then pass a patent bar exam.

Can you be a patent lawyer without a science degree?

Yes, you can be a patent lawyer without a science degree if you have an engineering 4 years degree. However, besides a science or technical degree, you need to complete an accredited law school program and then pass a patent bar exam.

How much does a patent attorney charge?

Patent attorneys will charge you between $100 and $400 per hour to prepare a new patent application for you. Therefore, you can expect to make payments between $3,000 and $5,000 on average for a new patent application, plus the USPTO fees.


The above information is pretty comprehensive on the educational requirements required to become a patent attorney. Usually, only students with engineering or science degrees are considered since they should have a good understanding of the technology involved in the invention which is being patented. The individual should also get a law degree and pass the USPTO registration exam to start working for his clients.

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith is an experienced economist and financial analyst from Utah. He has been in finance for nearly two decades, having worked as a senior analyst for Wells Fargo Bank for 19 years. After leaving Wells Fargo Bank in 2014, Daniel began a career as a finance consultant, advising companies and individuals on economic policy, labor relations, and financial management. At, Daniel writes about personal finance topics, value estimation, budgeting strategies, retirement planning, and portfolio diversification. Read more on Daniel Smith's biography page. Contact Daniel:

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