Why Are IP Lawyers in Demand?
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Summary: As long as businesses rely on intellectual property, IP attorneys will stay in demand, but some areas are hotter than others. 

With changes in patent law and the shuttering or mergers of IP law firms such as Kenyon & Kenyon or Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP, it is understandable to think IP practices are in danger. However, that’s not true. In fact, IP attorneys are still in demand, according to hiring trends, and it doesn’t look like this will be changing any time soon.


“IP plays a crucial role in virtually every American industry,” Forbes contributor Doug Schoen said. “Earlier this year, the Department of Commerce reported that IP-intensive industries support over 45 million U.S. jobs—30% of the nation’s total—and contribute more than $6 trillion—or 38.2%—of United States GDP. The biopharmaceutical industry employed almost 854,000 Americans in 2014.”

What is Intellectual Property law?

Harrison Barnes of BCG Attorney Search said that generally Intellectual Property is a hot practice right now, and the term “intellectual property” encompasses several different fields. But basically, intellectual property is a term that describes, “A product of the intellect that has commercial value, including copyrighted property such as literary or artistic works, and ideational property, such as patents, appellations of origin, business methods, and industrial processes.” These works include songs, movies, trade secrets, logos, packaging, and etc.

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IP attorneys are responsible for protecting these works in the areas of:

  1. Trademark
  2. Copyright
  3. Trade Secret
  4. Patent
  5. Licensing

What IP practices are the most popular?

BCG Attorney Search released a report earlier this year about the state of the American legal job market, which included statistics of the attorneys they placed in 2015. In that year, Barnes said that the practice of patent and intellectual property protection was active because IP is vital to business.

“The protection of patents and other intellectual property is fundamental for a strong economy and for the country to do well in many respects,” Barnes said. “Companies protect intellectual property with patents so they can make money in the future and rest assured that their investments in research and development will be protected.”

Out of all of its job placements in 2015, BCG placed the following percentage of patent or IP attorneys:

9.25% – IP Patent (General, Hard, Life Sciences)

4.04% – Patent Agents/Technical Specialists

2.33% – IP/Technology transaction

2.21% – Patent Agents/Life Sciences

2.2% – IP litigators

1.25% – IP (Trademark and Copyright.)

Barnes said that without a doubt, patent attorneys are the most in demand, and this is because of the importance of technology. He stated that while there is still work in the trademark, licensing, and copyright fields, corporate attorneys can often do that work while patents are harder because they require a technical or scientific background.

IP lawyers will continue to be in demand

In the past, people made money off of natural resources such as oil or gold, but now, money is made by innovative ideas.

“Accordingly, while intellectual property was once not something of great importance, today, it is fundamental to the success of our economy,” Barnes said. “In fact, one can scarcely pick up a newspaper these days without reading an article about intellectual property disputes. Whether it is Napster or’s “One-Click Patent,” the fact is that protecting intellectual property is extremely important to most businesses. Even in the more traditional manufacturing sector, the need to protect intellectual property is strong. An article in the July 2001 edition of California Lawyer, for example, discussed the fact that Mattel’s product, Barbie, brings in $1.5 billion in revenues annually and that Mattel aggressively protects its Barbie trademark.”

Source: BCG Attorney Search

Why do you think IP law is in demand right now? Let us know in the comments below. 



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