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Occupation Details

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Patent Agent / Attorney

Job Zone

Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, you may need to complete three - four years of college and work for several years in the career area to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€27k > 50
Patent Agent
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€27 - 50
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Operating at the interface between the disciplines of law, language and science, gives legal and technical advice to people who want to protect their inventions.

Videos & Interviews header image

Follow the links below to watch videos related to this occupation:

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Go..Intellectual Property Management and Innovation Consultant - from: icould [UK] Video

Go..Search YouTube for Patent Agent / Attorney videos

The Work header image

Also known as a Patent Attorney given the legal nature of their job, a Patent Agent works on behalf of an applicant in the process of achieving a patent, to determine if their invention really is new, is not obvious to someone working in the area for which it is intended, and has a practical use. The patent will only be granted if the government is satisfied that the claim meets these criteria.

Patent Agents are often able to give advice on how likely the invention is to be a commercial success.  The Patent Agent must have the required scientific and technical knowledge to interpret drawings and prototypes, and to understand what the invention is.   

The job of the Patent Agent is to produce a written document that clearly defines and describes the invention and submit it to the patents office for examination.

A patent examiner (in the government Patent Office) studies the document and searches through patent publications, technical databases and literature to ensure that the invention is novel and truly inventive. The Examiner sends a report of the search results to the Patent Agent, who helps the inventor to decide whether or not to proceed with the application.  
If the Patent Office raises any objection to the application, the agent will act to obtain the best possible protection for the applicant's invention. Patent Agents also have the right to act as advocates in the courts. Patent agents have the legal skills to enforce their client's rights, for example, if the client discovers that someone else is selling their invention or claiming it as their own.  
Patent Agents may go on to become European Patent Attorneys, entitling them to practise before the European Patents Office. Patent attorneys in the European Patent Office use the English, French and German languages to process patent applications from across the continent.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

Patent Agents operate at the interface between the disciplines of law, language and science. You must have the ability and be willing to keep up-to-date with technological and legal developments in these areas.  

Patent Agents must also have the ability to acquire, and enjoy exercising, the legal skills of drafting, analysis and logical thought. They must be able to use the English language aptly and accurately, in written work. In addition, because patents are increasingly international, a knowledge of at least French and German, is highly desirable, as this is the working language of the European Patents Office.

Patent Agents need strong communication skills to work with inventors, Patent Office staff and court officials. You will need confidence, and the ability to construct a logical and persuasive argument, when you represent an applicant in court. You must have good written skills to produce a clear description of the invention.  
Patent Agents need commercial sense to consider how useful and profitable an invention will be.  
To become a European Patent Attorney, you need a good reading knowledge of French and German, rather than fluency in either.

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Patent agent/examiner - from: GradIreland
Go..Patent Attorney - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Trade Mark Attorney - from: N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Association of Patent and Trademark Attorneys (APTMA)
Address: c/o Tomkins & Co., 5 Dartmouth Road, Dublin 6.
Tel: (01) 202 6700
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: European Patent Office
Address: See website for individual location addresses
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Irish Patents Office
Address: Government Buildings, Hebron Road, Kilkenny
Tel: Tel: +353 (0)56 772 0111; Fax: +353 (0)56 772 0100
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA)
Address: 95 Chancery Lane London WC2A 1DT
Tel: (0044) 20 7405 9450
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Law & Legal
Chemical, Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Physical & Mathematical Sciences
Mechanical Engineering & Manufacturing

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