University of New Hampshire

School of Law

IP Careers

A Global Network of Career Opportunities

UNH School of Law's Franklin Pierce Center for IPThe wide variety of career opportunities in IP goes far beyond being a lawyer or corporate IP counsel. IP professionals include patent agents, technical specialists, licensing executives, consultants, and IP experts in business, science, education and international development environments.

The Franklin Pierce Center for IP believes that the combination of an excellent academic IP education with a wide spectrum of practice-based courses and opportunities provides our graduates with a significant competitive advantage. Employers have long known that hiring a Franklin Pierce Center for IP graduate is an excellent investment, as they do not need extensive and expensive years of mentoring and on-the-job-education.

UNH Law was founded with the goal of graduating well-educated IP lawyers who have solid, practice-based skills, developed through rigorous classroom experiences, coupled with robust clinics and externship opportunities. Our goal is to produce graduates who are at the level of a second- or third-year law firm associate.

Helpful Resources in Considering IP Law Careers

UNH Law Professor Emeritus Thomas G. Field, Jr. has created several guides to help students evaluate their career options in intellectual property:

A recent article in Managing Intellectual Property Magazine, "What is the Best Way to Gain Experience in IP?" gives a few insights from veteran IP professionals.

Career opportunities in intellectual property law, by Oppedahl Patent Law Firm, answers many frequently asked questions. Opinions are those of the author.

Columbia University offers an eBriefing based on a seminar sponsored by the New York Science Alliance for Graduate Students and Postdocs.

Copyright Lawyer Career Info discusses opportunities for copyright lawyers who work to protect the creative products of writers, musicians and other artists. They also work to ensure that copyrights are applied fairly and in accordance with the law. Copyright lawyers must be able to make their clients, who may include artists, writers and musicians, comfortable regarding their technical decisions.

Helpful Resources on the Patent Bar

Patent law is a fascinating, profitable career field for many engineers and scientists looking for something other than the traditional career pathway. Being a part of this field will secure you a front row position on the cutting edge of science and technology.

From genetic engineering to computer software to light bulbs and even new engine components, people will always invent new things. Even more so, these inventions will always be labeled and traded as Intellectual Property.

While most engineers may be focused on obtaining patents through their own work, many overlook the possibility of becoming U.S. patent agents. Engineers and other scientific professionals are uniquely qualified to become patent agents because of their technical background. And their expertise is sought after by both law firms and corporations.

Once you have taken and passed the Patent Bar Exam, you will be considered a registered patent agent before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If you have graduated law school and meet the requirements to practice law, you will be considered a patent attorney.

The field of patent law is wide open to biologists, chemists, engineers, computer scientists and many other science and technology professionals. Here are a few of the frequently asked question about this profession briefly addressed by Patent Bar Study:

  • What is a Career as a Patent Agent/Attorney Like?
  • What Qualities Do I Need to Become a Patent Agent/Attorney?
  • Where Can Patent Agents/Attorneys Seek Employment?
  • Patent Agent/Attorney Salary Information

The most authoritative and up to date starting place on Patent Bar eligibility is always the U.S. PTO's Office of Enrollment and Discipline.

There is an active industry in Patent Bar preparation. Many of these sites offer thoughtful free materials and tips on how to pass the patent bar as well as on the patent practice profession.

Career Opportunities in Patent Examination at the USPTO

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hires engineers and scientists to be patent examiners. You have to be a U.S. citizen and you would have to have at least a four-year degree from a college or university in professional engineering or a physical science. If you meet these requirements, the PTO may have a job for you.

Here are the kinds of patent examiner jobs the PTO looks to fill each year:

  • Biotechnology & Organic Chemistry
  • Chemical & Material Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering, Transportation, Construction, Agriculture, Petroleum & Nuclear
  • Communications & Information Processing, Computer Systems, Electrical Engineering
  • Physics, Optics, System Components & Electrical Engineering
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