Intellectual property concerns human creations of an artistic nature, such as music, books and artwork. It also encompasses the intellectual capital of business organizations, such as trade secrets. Intellectual property attorneys protect their clients' intellectual capital through acquisition of patents, copyrights and trademarks. An intellectual property attorney must fulfill the same requirements as other attorneys; namely, she must possess a law degree and pass a bar exam. (ref 1,2)
As of 2010, lawyers earned an average annual salary of $112,760, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lawyers in the bottom 10 percent earned annual salaries of less than $54,130, while lawyers in the top 10 percent earned annual salaries in excess of $166,400, according to the BLS. Factors such as location, experience and legal specialization play a role in average annual wage disparity.
CBSalary.com reports an average salary of $119,907 for intellectual property attorneys, as of June 2013. Data from CBSalary.com in 2013 lists an average annual salary of $121,125 for intellectual property attorneys in Seattle, and an average annual salary of $90,593 for Chicago-based intellectual property attorneys. In New York, these attorneys average $97,192 annually, while those in Atlanta earn average annual salaries of $107,160.
Intellectual property attorneys working in large, reputable firms attract corporations as clients. These attorneys can earn considerably more than an intellectual property attorney with a solo practice. The salaries of intellectual property attorneys within large firms vary, depending on education and experience. Attorneys with undergraduate degrees in science or engineering can earn more than colleagues lacking similar degrees. Intellectual property law firms often assign patent preparation to associates with training in science or engineering. Associates with technical knowledge more easily recognize the needs of corporate clients seeking protection for inventions or trade secrets.
From 2010 to 2010, the BLS predicts an employment growth rate of 10 percent for attorneys, which is roughly the same growth rate as other occupations. The BLS anticipates a curb on the overall demand for attorneys due to increasing reliance on paralegals and legal assistants. However, intellectual property attorneys likely face better prospects because of expected growth in biotechnology, e-commerce and computer engineering.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Lawyer
- Cornell University Law School: Intellectual Property
- P&G: Intellectual Property/Legal
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Pay
- CareerBuilder: National Average Salary for Intellectual Property Law Attorney
- CareerBuilder: Average Salary for Intellectual Property Law Attorney in Seattle
- CareerBuilder: Average Salary for Intellectual Property Law Attorney in Chicago
- CareerBuilder: Average Salary for Intellectual Property Law Attorney in New York
- CareerBuilder: Average Salary for Intellectual Property Law Attorney in Atlanta
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job Outlook
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