I am considering a career change and I want to know what percentage of time is spent on writing vs other activities if you work as a patent prosecution lawyer in the United States? How do these time allotments change if you begin as a patent litigation lawyer?

  • Not an answer to the question - and therefore a comment - to prosecute patents in the U.S., for example, one needs to have an engineering or scientific training and pass a patent bar exam. Neither are needed to engage in patent litigation.
    – George White
    Oct 27, 2020 at 17:26
  • Thank you for the comment. I am currently in the final stages of my Ph.D. in engineering so I would be eligible for the patent bar. What I don't know is, how much writing will I need to do if I choose to be in prosecution vs litigation. Oct 27, 2020 at 17:50
  • Sorry, I only have experience in patent prosecution so I have no basis for comparison. It is unlikely that many patent litigators look at this site.
    – George White
    Oct 27, 2020 at 19:03
  • I see. How much time do you spend on writing vs other activities as a patent prosecutor? Oct 27, 2020 at 20:16
  • Very approximately 25% of the time. It is the prime way of accomplishing anything and making money. I often did my own searching which can be time consuming and not well remunerated or it might be more like 40%.
    – George White
    Oct 27, 2020 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


I prosecute in-house. Most patent attorneys and agents, during their working hours, are either writing, reading, or trying to find clients. If you start your own practice, much of your time will be spent finding clients at first. If you work for a law firm or in-house, most of your time will be writing or reading. There is some administrative time spent managing your docket task list and, if in private practice, entering information for billing. You will also have occasional discussions with inventors about solutions to difficult problems. That is what makes it all worthwhile.

In terms of writing, I spend about 40% of my work time writing. That can include drafting a new patent application, but also writing replies to rejections from the patent office or writing emails providing advice to a client/boss. All are fairly cerebral and require a sharp mind and drawing on experience.

I spend about 40% of my work time reading. That include inventors' descriptions, prior art, patent office rejections, case law, and legal blogs. There is usually enough variety to keep work stimulating.

  • Thanks a lot for the explanation Nov 23, 2020 at 2:30
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    Excellent answer. Thanks for contributing and welcome to Ask Patients.
    – Eric S
    Nov 23, 2020 at 2:35

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