Patent agent jobs only vary from position to position based upon specialization. Patent agents work to protect, defend, file, and research pending and existing patents. In many countries across the globe, patent agents are synonymous with patent attorneys, though this is not the case within the United States.
Within the United States, patent agents and patent attorneys perform different tasks. While a patent agent can file, research, and prepare a patent, they cannot legally defend a patent. Contrastingly, patent attorneys that practice in the United States can litigate disputes, and represent clients. Logically, it is possible for a patent attorney to also perform the duties of a patent agent, though the opposite cannot be true.
Since there are so many different kinds of patents available, patent agent jobs tend to be very specific. A patent agent may handle toy patents or software patents, but rarely will one agent handle two different kinds of patents. This is exactly why prospective patent agents often study one type of patent while attending university.
A bachelor of science in engineering, chemistry, or physics in addition to a patent law background is necessary for all potential patent agent candidates. Within the United States, patent agents must also pass the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases (USPTO) that is given by the US patent and trademark office. This examination must be successfully completed before a person can become a patent agent or patent attorney.
While many patent agent jobs pay rather well, only those agents that find a niche gain top patent positions. Thus, it is recommended that all aspiring patent agents begin studying and specializing in a unique field prior to university graduation. Those skilled within the technology patent field are often in high-demand.
Patent agents usually work within law firms, though some government jobs can also be found. The best way to search for patent agent jobs is through a job placement agency. As with the many different types of patents, various law firms hire different kinds of patent agents and patent attorneys. Therefore, it is useful to seek out a law firm that coincides with a candidate's field of patent study.
A great deal of schooling and job experience is needed in order to gain a patent agent job, though other qualifications are also important to employers. Aside from mathematics and law, patent agent jobs can only be filled by those that have a strong analytical eye, and precise intuition. In addition, patent agents must enjoy researching, since a very large portion of this occupation involves technical research.