Loyola University Chicago

Career Services

School of Law

Patent Law

WHAT IS PATENT LAW?

Patent law is a subset of intellectual property law that usually requires an educational background in a scientific or technological field.

A patent is a property right protecting an inventor's interest in a technical development, whether that development is a machine, a pharmaceutical product, an electronic device, computer hardware or software, or even a living organism. Patent law protects these inventions. By filing and obtaining a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the inventor of a product receives a monopoly on the commercial exploitation and use of a product for up to 20 years.

Patent Prosecution vs. Patent Litigation

  • Patent prosecutors specialize in preparing and obtaining ("prosecuting") patent applications before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. These attorneys must have technical training, such as an undergraduate degree in engineering, biological, or physical science and must pass the United States Patent & Trademark Office's Patent Bar Exam.
  • Patent litigation is more akin to general litigation, but the parties are litigating issues relating to certain patents. Unlike patent prosecutors, patent litigators do not need to have a technical background. However, having a technical background is often helpful in terms of understanding the technology, which is often highly complex.

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN PURSUING A CAREER IN PATENT LAW...

1. It is necessary that you have a technical educational background.

2. Explore the IP classes that Loyola offers.

3. Work as a judicial extern during law school to help develop strong writing skills.

4. Improve your legal writing by joining one of Loyola's student publications.

5. Participate in Loyola's Patent Law Interview Program the summers after your 1L and 2L years.

6. Join Loyola's Intellectual Property Society or an outside organization such as the American Intellectual Property Law Association or the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago.

7. Join the ABA as a student member and participate in events planned by the Section of Intellectual Property Law.

8. Get to know Cynthia Ho - Loyola's resident patent law expert!

9. Sign up for the CSO Intellectual Property Law TWEN Group to receive periodic email announcements about upcoming events or job opportunities related to this practice area.


PATENT LAW RESOURCES

Am I Patent Bar Eligible?

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

Loyola Patent Law Interview Program

Patent Resumes, Before & After - Professor Cynthia Ho (PDF)

IP Career Planning - Professor Cynthia Ho (PDF)

IP: A Few Facts for a First Year Law Student - Professor Cynthia Ho (PDF)

Separating Myth from Reality: Preparing for IP Law & Practice - Professor Cynthia Ho (PDF)

Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago

ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law

ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law: Careers in IP Law

LexisNexis Patent Law Community