Paralegal is a profession under the legal department. Many of the important tasks of a lawyer are passed to his legal assistant or paralegal. A career in this field is a great alternative to being a lawyer. It may not have the same hefty salary as lawyers have but it can still offer a handsome amount of money each year.
There are different types of paralegals that you can practice. One of them is patent paralegal.
What is a patent paralegal?
The lawyer of a company or an individual who applies for a patent will not be the one who handles all the tasks related to patent application. Rather, it is the patent paralegal that will be there in every step of the patent application process. Because of the unique training given to paralegal aspirants, this type of paralegal tends to offer more money than other types of paralegals.
What does a patent paralegal do?
Organizing paperwork. One of the duties of a patent paralegal is to organize paperwork related to the processing of patent application. This is necessary to keep track of the documents and records needed for the client's application for patent. Because paperwork can easily pile up, patent paralegal has a certain filing system for easy referencing and accessing later. With an organized paperwork, patent paralegals can easily locate where things are and how those materials and documents are being used.
Researching. Another important task of a patent paralegal is conducting thorough research to support the patent application or patent litigation. This task will include conducting interviews, finding documents, inspecting things, and collecting reports. Under the supervision of a lawyer, a patent paralegal is authorized to make a draft of patent application.
- Meeting deadlines. Patent paralegal should make sure that the deadlines are met in order to avoid delay in the patent application process.
How much does a patent paralegal make?
Because of the increasing number of piracy and counterfeiting cases, businesses and government agencies are offering more job opportunities for patent lawyers. As the demand of copyright lawyers is increasing so are patent paralegals. Because the market continues to grow, the patent paralegals are also earning higher than other paralegals.
Patent paralegal salary rates
- Entry-level. For entry-level, the patent paralegal salary ranges from $30,000 to $35,000. The said rate comes with full benefits each year.
- Experienced patent paralegals. If you have years of experience as a patent paralegal, you can earn as low as $50,000 to as high as $80,000 a year. The patent paralegal salary rates will depend on your geographical location and the firm you are working with.
How to become a patent paralegal?
Patent Paralegal training: anyone can become a patent paralegal. The reason for this is that there is no certification required to be called a qualified patent paralegal. But because of the complexity of the job, it is necessary to gain more exposure in the patent industry and earn paralegal education for you to become more marketable.
Bachelor's degree. One of the requirements of United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for aspiring patent paralegals is to earn at least a bachelor's degree in the field of technical or physical science. Because of the in-depth legal and technical nature of copyright or trademark, law firms prefer to hire paralegal with a technical background.
Paralegal certification. A certification for paralegals is not a requirement to become a patent paralegal. However, taking up patent law-specific courses gives you an edge over other paralegals who are also vying for the patent paralegal positions.
The future of patent paralegal career
As mentioned earlier, the growing cases of piracy and counterfeiting make patent paralegals in demand and they make more money than general paralegals. And as most law firms cut costs by hiring more patent paralegals instead of employing lawyers, the demand for patent legal assistants will continue to increase.
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