What Does a Patent Analyst Do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A patent analyst reviews a patent application and summarizes the most important features as part of the application and approval process. The job requires advanced experience in a specific area, like mechanical engineering or pharmaceuticals, so the analyst can read and understand applications for new inventions and ideas. Government agencies are major employers of analysts, and they may also provide consulting services to firms interested in applying for patents. Applications are lengthy and expensive, and companies want to make sure they get them right on the first try.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

When a patent office receives a new application, it is assigned to a patent analyst, who reads through it and the accompanying documentation with care. The analyst creates a summary that discusses the key points, looking at what the patent is supposed to do, what advantage it is supposed to provide, and whether it offers something innovative and new. This can also include a discussion of the details of the patent that might be relevant to understanding it in more detail, such as an in-depth analysis of supporting information provided to document originality.

On the job, a patent analyst may need to do substantial research. This can include looking at similar inventions to determine if they are unique, reviewing existing technology, and going over the history of similar inventions and developments to determine if a patent is truly non-obvious. Research and a full summary may take weeks or months as the patent analyst collects information and pulls it together in a report. This becomes the foundation used to decide whether the patent should be granted.

In the event a patent is denied because an application doesn’t meet the standards, an appeal may be filed. The patent analyst can review this information and reconsider the application. Appeals may argue various specifics of the summary and denial on the grounds that the analysis was incomplete or not entirely fair. Patent offices can reverse their decisions if they are persuaded an appeal is merited.

As part of the work, a parent analyst needs to keep up with the industry. This includes subscribing to trade journals, attending conferences, and monitoring other developments in the field. If the analyst falls behind, it can be harder to evaluate new inventions or to understand the context of specific patent applications. Patent analysts typically work through a series of ranks based on experience and performance, with pay increasing at each level.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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