Intellectual Property Forums (http://www.intelproplaw.com/Forum/Forum.cgi)

(Message started by: storyhearer on Jul 22nd, 2005, 11:43am)

Title: Your adventure story as a patent agent
Post by storyhearer on Jul 22nd, 2005, 11:43am
Dear All,
I would like to hear about how realistic it is to work as a patent agent. After read so many messages posted in here, it seems to me there are so many people interested in getting into this field, many of them are scientists or engineers. How realistic is this? Is there a statistics that states the percentage of people who passed the patent exam can actually find a job to work as a patent agent? I would like to hear the story for people who past the patent exam in the recent years have and have not found a job as a patent agent. This will for sure have a impact on people who are planning to get into this field? I expecially want to hear the stories from people who got their PhD from foreign countries and their English are not as good as the native speakers. I really appreciate it if you could share you story with people who are new and ambitios to get into this field and help them to make a more wise decision so that they don't waste their precious  time and money.

Title: Re: Your adventure story as a patent agent
Post by ttglink on Jul 24th, 2005, 4:39pm
Just like you, I also wonder how realistic is it to work as a full time patent agent.  

Here is what I found in my recent research in my area:

(1) There were 300 registered patent attorneys in my area.
(2) Less than 50 were named as patent agents or attorneys (USPTO database).
(3) Less than 5% had prosecuted more than 50 patents in which they were named patent attorneys or agents.
(4) Average patent fee was $8500 per case. There are some with as low as $5000.
(5) Average salary for experienced patent agents (mainly ghost writers -drafting patents) was $60,000 to $80,000.
(6) Majority of law firms hire none or one patent agent.
(7) Attorneys with more than 150 cases under their belts have practiced in general area (new method of tieing show laces kind)!  These guys need no help!
(8) Less than 2% had all their practice in specific area like Electronics, Software, phrama, biomedical devices, and chemicals.
(9) there were more job openings for legal secretary with patent agent registration.

My observation:  To earn a decent living, one must process at least 14 cases a year as  a patent agent.  

To get 14 cases a year you have to take on any case, and  not only those in area of your expertise.  That means you need lot of experience under an experienced attorney (who will pay only horly wages.. ).

That is where I am in my process..


Title: Re: Your adventure story as a patent agent
Post by Isaac Clark on Jul 24th, 2005, 8:07pm
Some things that might distort the statistics a bit...


Some significant number of registered patent agents are actually
law students or attorneys who have not gotten around to changing
their status in the USPTO directory.

Given the large amount of ghostwriting by agents and by attorneys,
a count by name from the USPTO database might not be an accurate
indication of who is doing what.

One of your statistics I found a little baffling.  A practitioner
must be either a patent attorney or a patent agent.  How could
there be only 50 agents or attorneys in a group of 300 practitioners.

Title: Re: Your adventure story as a patent agent
Post by ttglink on Jul 26th, 2005, 1:33pm
Some three hundred agents/ attorneys I mentioed are all registered with USPTO.  Overall number of attorneys in this geographical area could be very large.


Title: Re: Your adventure story as a patent agent
Post by Isaac Clark on Jul 26th, 2005, 6:56pm
What constitutes the 50 as opposed to the 300?

Title: Re: Your adventure story as a patent agent
Post by Anon on Jul 27th, 2005, 1:01pm
I think he means that, of the 300 attorneys/agents in his area, only 50 are listed by name in the "Attorney, Agent or Firm" field on the patent face (and in the patent database).   But hey, that's just my guess.

Title: Re: Your adventure story as a patent agent
Post by Wiscagent on Jul 27th, 2005, 1:36pm
ttglink wrote  “To earn a decent living, one must process at least 14 cases a year as a patent agent.”

I don’t know where ttglink got the 14/year number; but here’s an observation” in 2003 the USPTO received:

353,391 utility, plant and reissue applications,
 23,468 design applications, and
 45,396 PCT applications
=======
422,255 total

According to the PTO web site there are currently 7224 patent agents + 23,793 patent attorneys, for a total of 31,017 patent practitioners.

total applications in 2003 / practitioner = 13.6 applications per year per practitioner

Of course this does not figure in all the pro se applications or the fact that many US applications are essentially duplicates of other applications, perhaps with modified claims.  This 13.6 figure also does not take into account that many practitioners listed as “active” on the PTO data base rarely or never file an application; and many applications are ghosted and then reviewed by a practitioner, signed and filed.  

Nevertheless, 14 cases per year may be a useful ballpark estimate for the number of cases filed per year by the “typical” practitioner.


Rich T

Title: Re: Your adventure story as a patent agent
Post by bjr on Jul 27th, 2005, 3:38pm
In my experience as a patent agent, I would imagine that the average amount of apps filed per year by a patent agent would range from 30-70 depending upon the complexity of the apps.  I personally average 3-6 apps per month (including design apps which may only take a few hours).  Of course the patent attorneys at my firm draft a lot less apps, as they concentrate on other areas of IP.



Powered by YaBB 1 Gold - SP 1.3.2!
Forum software copyright © 2000-2004 Yet another Bulletin Board