Intellectual Property Paralegal



What is an intellectual property paralegal?

What do they do?

These are both great questions as not a lot is particularly known about this specialization. It is indeed a specialization requiring special course work. Unfortunately, classes for this niche area of law may not be available in all paralegal curriculums.

If you’re interested in pursuing this specialty, research paralegal programs in your area to determine if your school offers the necessary coursework.

Generally, intellectual property paralegals work with lawyers, patent agents, inventors, engineers and all those people and entities interested in protecting their inventions, patents, copy rights or trademarks.

Your paralegal duties will include the following tasks:

  • handle all aspects of USPTO, PCT and foreign filings;
  • file documents in federal court;
  • calendar and track deadlines for patent and trademark projects;
  • handle docketing, reporting and maintaining files; and
  • manage databases using intellectual property docketing software.

The nature of intellectual property can place you in law office or corporate settings dealing with medicine, chemistry, aeronautical designs, construction, biology, music and other technologies.

Become familiar with the law office or the particular company you’re interested in applying for employment to better understand what they do.

If you work with a company that makes cupcakes, for example, and they want to protect their recipes, you’ll need to become familiar with the food industry.

Whatever property is being protected under the law it’s important that you “get it” or have some understanding of the industry. You’ll not only appear knowledgeable when you do apply, but your interest in the industry will put you in good favor with the company or law office.

You’ll also want to have top notch organizational skills!

Paralegals generally juggle a lot of things at one time. It’s the nature of legal work, but as an IP paralegal time management, organization and follow up are critical skills to own.

You will find yourself tasked with managing the attorneys’ calendars, tracking patents and following up with patent agents while maintaining and updating databases and files.

Strict adherence to USPTO deadlines is crucial. Forgetting or missing a date could preclude an inventor or company from getting his, her or its patent filed in time.

This type of error could potentially prove fatal to your career.

The good news is as an intellectual property paralegal you can expect a starting salary to come in around $50,000 according to Simply Hired, but with more skills and experience your salary will increase.


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