Patent engineer


Patent engineers advise companies on different aspects of intellectual property law. They analyse inventions, and research their economic potential. They check if  patent rights have already been given out for an invention and ensure that these rights have not been affected or violated.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to patent engineer:

patent agent
patent and trademark engineer
patent scientist
technical patent specialist
intellectual property engineer

Minimum qualifications

Bachelor’s degree is generally required to work as patent engineer. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Patent engineer is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Patent engineer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to patent engineer.

legal consultant
environmental mining engineer
fire prevention and protection engineer
precision engineer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of patent engineer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of patent engineer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of patent engineer.

Patents: The exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor’s invention for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention.
Engineering principles: The engineering elements like functionality, replicability, and costs in relation to the design and how they are applied in the completion of engineering projects.
Intellectual property law: The regulations that govern the set of rights protecting products of the intellect from unlawful infringement.
Engineering processes: The systematic approach to the development and maintenance of engineering systems.
Market research: The processes, techniques, and purposes comprised in the first step for developing marketing strategies such as the collection of information about customers and the definition of segments and targets.
Financial analysis: The process of assessing the financial possibilities, means, and status of an organisation or individual by analysing financial statements and reports in order to make well informed business or financial decisions.
Market analysis: The field of market analysis and research and its particular research methods.
Legal terminology: The special terms and phrases used in the field of law.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of patent engineer.

Present arguments persuasively: Present arguments during a negotiation or debate, or in written form, in a persuasive manner in order to obtain the most support for the case the speaker or writer represents.
Create patent draft: Make a precise description of the invention in legal terms.
Provide advice on inventions: Provide advice to inventors and manufacturers as to whether their inventions will be granted patents by researching if the invention is new, innovative and viable.
Provide legal advice: Provide advice to clients in order to ensure that their actions are compliant with the law, as well as most beneficial for their situation and specific case, such as providing information, documentation, or advice on the course of action for a client should they want to take legal action or legal action is taken against them.
Analyse financial risk: Identify and analyse risks that could impact an organisation or individual financially, such as credit and market risks, and propose solutions to cover against those risks.
Ensure law application: Ensure the laws are followed, and where they are broken, that the correct measures are taken to ensure compliance to the law and law enforcement.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of patent engineer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Characteristics of products: The tangible characteristics of a product such as its materials, properties and functions, as well as its different applications, features, use and support requirements.
Communication: Exchanging and conveying information, ideas, concepts, thoughts, and feelings through the use of a shared system of words, signs, and semiotic rules via a medium.
Project management principles: Different elements and phases of project management.
Design principles: The elements used in design such as unity, scale, proportion, balance, symmetry, space, form, texture, colour, light, shade and congruence and their application into practice.
Attention to detail: Performs tasks conscientiously and effectively, taking into account all their aspects, no matter how detailed they are.
Trademarks: The recognisable signs, designs, and expressions that identify and distinguish products and services of a specific source from those of others.
Project management: Understand project management and the activities which comprise this area. Know the variables implied in project management such as time, resources, requirements, deadlines, and responding to unexpected events.
Civil engineering: The engineering discipline that studies the design, construction and maintenance of naturally built works such as roads, buildings, and canals.
Mechanical engineering: Discipline that applies principles of physics, engineering and materials science to design, analyse, manufacture and maintain mechanical systems.
Legal research: The methods and procedures of research in legal matters, such as the regulations, and different approaches to analyses and source gathering, and the knowledge on how to adapt the research methodology to a specific case to obtain the required information.
Company policies: The set of rules that govern the activity of a company.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of patent engineer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Use a computer: Utilise computer equipment or digital devices to facilitate quality control, data management, and communication. Follow instructions given by a computer programme, create computer files or documents.
Adjust engineering designs: Adjust designs of products or parts of products so that they meet requirements.
Act as a company ambassador: Represent and defend the interests of the company to customers, and provide workable solutions to problems. Pursue the highest quality customer service.
Present legal arguments: Present legal arguments during a court hearing or during negotiations, or in written form after a trial concerning its outcome and sentence, in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for the client or to ensure the decision is followed. Present these arguments in a manner that is compliant with regulations and guidelines and adapted to the specifications of the case.
Coordinate engineering teams: Plan, coordinate and supervise engineering activities together with engineers and engineering technicians. Ensure clear and effective channels of communication across all departments. Make sure the team is aware of the standards and objectives of the research and development.
Collaborate with engineers: Work closely and communicate with engineers on designs or new products.
Handle conflicts: Mediate in conflicts and tense situations by acting between parties, such as service users, important others like families, and institutions, striving to effect an agreement, reconciliate, and resolve problems.
Provide advice on trademarks: Provide advice to individuals and businesses on how to properly register trademarks and on the use and originality of the trademark.
Apply technical communication skills: Explain technical details to non-technical customers, stakeholders, or any other interested parties in a clear and concise manner.
Provide technical expertise: Provide expert knowledge in a particular field, especially concerning mechanical or scientific subjects, to decision makers, engineers, technical staff or journalists.
Apply for patents: Defend the interests of the inventor or manufacturer when appealing for patents at the relevant patent office. Make sure application deadlines are met, also when applying for renewal.

ISCO group and title

2149 – Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified





  1. Patent engineer – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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