Patent Bar Review Career Information
Are you a technical person looking for an alternative career? Is your technical field saturated and difficult to find work? Being a patent agent is an excellent alternative career! Why?
As of 2014, the USPTO’s enrollment statistics indicate 32,797 active registered patent attorneys and 11,003 patent agents.
A patent agent typically has more technical education and greater technical expertise but is limited in that they can only practice patent law at the USPTO. Patent attorneys have a degree in law and have passed a state bar as well as the USPTO Registration Exam. This gives them more flexibility in that they can practice with the Trademark Office and can advise their clients on matters of non-patent law. Both patent agents and patent attorneys are needed to deal with the accelerating increase in patent applications.
As a patent agent you have many options – you can work in a law firm, a legal department in a corporation, practice as an individual, or work for a patent examiner at the USPTO. You actually don’t need to pass the USPTO Registration Exam to work for the USPTO.
Technological innovation is accelerating. According to the USPTO website, in 1982, there were 117,987 patent applications filed in the U.S. By 2014, that number increased to 615,243 patent applications filed in the United States, an increase of 497,256 applications per year. In 2014, approximately 1198 persons passed the exam and became registered. This number continues to fall as the number of patent applications continues to grow. Now is a good time to become a patent agent!