What is an Intellectual Property Paralegal?
An intellectual property (IP) paralegal helps lawyers with patents, trademarks, copyrights, and intellectual property litigation. An IP paralegal can assist with a variety of cases in this field. From a scientist who wants to patent their latest invention to assisting in a case where a company is being sued for infringing on copyright laws, this role includes working with different clients who are on various sides of intellectual property arguments.
A person in this role will conduct research, draft applications, manage appeals, provide status reports to lawyers, track progress, and communicate with clients on a daily basis.
Most IP paralegal job descriptions ask for a bachelor’s degree and previous experience in the field. It’s a growing field, too, with careers in this industry expected to increase by 10% by 2029, compared to just 4% growth in other careers. As a result, employers can expect a good pool of applicants and employees can expect competition for each job.
An intellectual property paralegal job description usually mentions a bachelor’s degree in applied law or something similar as a requirement. Aside from a four-year degree, many companies ask for a minimum of one year of experience or more. Exceptions to these requirements can be made for candidates with experience working at bigger law firms.
Intellectual Property Paralegal Essential Skills
An IP paralegal needs a variety of skills to be successful at a law firm or as part of an inhouse team. These required skills often include:
- Familiarity with intellectual law, and the application and filing process
- Strong organizational skills
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to provide clarity to an often complicated topic for clients
- Multitasking skills with the ability to juggle deadlines for multiple clients at different stages of the filing processes
- Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint
- Typing speed of at least 50 words per minute
- Invoicing experience
Intellectual Property Paralegal Roles & Responsibilities
A paralegal is usually assigned to work with one or two attorneys and will discuss cases and create a plan of action. Many intellectual property (IP) paralegals handle the initial meeting with clients to access their needs and report back to an attorney. In this role, responsibilities include:
- Working with clients to obtain patents, trademarks, or copyrights
- Filing applications and ensuring their completion
- Research as assigned by attorneys
- Communication with clients
On a daily basis, an IP paralegal will support an attorney, coordinate with clients, and handle various administrative tasks. Specific day-to-day duties may include:
- Initial client intake and assessment
- Draft applications for IP matters like trademarks, copyright, domain names, and design
- Manage the back-and-forth nature of applications that includes submitting additional materials, responding to appeals, and getting additional information from the client to satisfy IP protection
- Prepare and file legal documents for cases involving intellectual property
- Provide legal support for discovery
- Maintain and generate docket reports for attorneys
- Create status reports for multiple cases that are in process
- Coordinate with clients via phone, email, and in-person meetings
- Provide quotes for interested clients and invoices to existing clients
- Various secretarial work and office oversight duties
Wondering what to offer as an intellectual property paralegal salary? As you may expect, salaries range based on experience of the candidate and the size and location of the law firm. However, paralegals generally make an average salary of $51,740 per year. An hourly breakdown hovers just under $25.
Paralegals that specialize in a specific field, like intellectual property, tend to make more than the average salary. How much more is determined by the employer.