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Three broad technology areas for patent attorneys: chemical, mechanical and electrical

The American Intellectual Property Law Association’s (AIPLA) Rep. of the Ec. Survey 2005, at 5, states that 27 percent of the 1,558 survey participants practiced in-house, with fully a third of them serving as the head of the Corporate IP department. When they estimated how much of their time they spent by technical specialization area, the average results for IP chiefs were 26.8 percent chemical, 26.4 percent mechanical and 14.1 percent electrical. For those 140 top IP lawyers, therefore, the three broad areas consumed on average two-thirds of their time. Perhaps with the ascent of biotechnology in recent years, the 2010 distribution will alter.

For non-technologists who manage IP lawyers or for those who might gather benchmark data about the services provided by IP lawyers, it is good to know not only terminology but also a framework for the kinds of work they do.

One final point comes from the Report: for all the corporate IP lawyers, 70-80 percent of their time goes to patents, with the remainder to trademark, trade secrets and other domains.

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