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   Initial earnings as patent agent?
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   Author  Topic: Initial earnings as patent agent?  (Read 5612 times)
Howard Klotz
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Initial earnings as patent agent?
« on: May 17th, 2005, 9:42pm »
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Hello, all.  So, maybe I am jumping ahead of the game here just a bit, but it doesnít hurt sometimes to think ahead.  
 
I have been a tech writer for more years than I care to think about.  Some time ago I learned I am eligible to become a patent agent, so I am now signed up to take the Patent Bar.  (Letís just assume, for now, that I will pass!)
 
Tech writers typically bill $40 to $70/hour, though itís hard to get $70 unless you have some special technical background for the project at hand.  One of the appeals of moving into patent work is that research has led me to believe I can earn between $100 and $150 per hour in this field as a patent agent.
 
Once I pass the test, my next goal will be to find some law firm where I can learn the ropes.  As I say, I am highly experienced in technical writing.  I bring a lot of value with me in terms of being able to research and understand a new technology, effectively interview subject matter experts, and write up the technology clearly and thoroughly.
 
Obviously, however, there are some new facets involved as I apply my existing skills to patent work.  Iím sure it will take some practice to get the claims right, and to figure out just which material goes in the other parts of the application (disclosure, summary, abstract, etc.)  There is also the matter of taking into account prior art, negotiating with the patent examiners, etc.  So while I bring a lot of strengths to this new line of work, I still need some support, and there will be a learning curve involved.
 
My goal is to subcontract to a patent law firm.  (Iím pretty accustomed to being my own boss, so Iíd prefer a contract arrangement, but Iím not ruling out a staff job.)  My question is this:  Given my background -- more than ten years in tech writing, a strong academic foundation in fields like physics, computer science, and electronics -- what can I reasonably hope to bill in my first year or two of patent work?  Iíd like to think that at least $100 per hour would be reasonable, and of course more (say, $125) would be better.  But Iíd like to get peopleís impressions on what the law firms are likely to agree to.  Any insights would be much appreciated.  In case it affects the matter, I do business along the entire Boston -- New York -- DC corridor.
 
HK
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Wiscagent
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Posts: 843
Re: Initial earnings as patent agent?
« Reply #1 on: May 17th, 2005, 10:14pm »
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"Iíd like to think that at least $100 per hour would be reasonable" pay for a patent agent.
 
Me too.
 
Unfortunately $50/hr is more typical.
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Richard Tanzer
Patent Agent
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Posts: 80
Re: Initial earnings as patent agent?
« Reply #2 on: May 19th, 2005, 9:58am »
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Agreed.  You need to remember that if you are billing client for $150/hr, your actual cut is closer to 1/3 of what you bill.  So, if your firm is billing you out at $150/hr, you get $50/hr.  Not much better than the $40 to $70 you are already earning, in my opinion.
 
PT
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Wiscagent
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Re: Initial earnings as patent agent?
« Reply #3 on: May 26th, 2005, 11:28am »
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A help wanted posting for an IP position - patent agent preferred - was listed in Hot Jobs (Yahoo!) this week.  Excerpts from the posting are attached below.  The job calls for a patent searcher / strategist / manager with 5 years of experience.  The salary range is $70,000 - $150,000.  Using the midpoint of this range, that works out to about $60/hour.  So $50/hour for a new techical specialist is a reasonable ballpark figure.
 
Rich T
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
If you have at least 5 years of Intellectual Property and Patent experience, have provided service solutions for individuals, IP attorneys, and Fortune 1000 companies and are a successful manager, read on! You must be familiar with Patent Search tools and Patent Agent software as well as Microsoft Office. Current Patent Agents will be considered first!
 
JOB DESCRIPTION
Research and analyze Client IP portfolios to develop strategic and tactical recommendations and prepare in-depth reports and presentations of commercial business solutions to meet client IP requirements.  
 
Manage key projects by providing feedback to and for clients on specific project parameters and requirements as well as manage project and identify new opportunities for follow up by sales.
 
Identify, recommend and track business development opportunities. Work with sales teams to develop and deliver a solid pipeline of new opportunities.
 
JOB REQUIREMENTS:  
 
5 to 10 years of experience as IP practitioner or consultant who has been successful at both project and program management and business development in the professional services area. Industry knowledgeable, strong business based relationships and focused on results.  
 
5+ years experience in a managerial role.  
 
Current Patent Agent status is a plus.
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Richard Tanzer
Patent Agent
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