What is the Master of Science in Patent Law (M.S. Patent Law) program?

The M.S. Patent Law degree program is a one-year professional master’s degree for scientists and engineers interested in pursuing a career in the exciting and fast-growing field of patent law.

What career opportunities are available to graduates of this program?

A number of professional career opportunities exist in the field of patent law that don’t require a law degree. The program prepares students for four primary career paths:

  • Innovation: Those who understand patents, and what it takes to come up with a patentable idea, are often better and more prolific inventors and are able to offer more valuable patent-based insights to a business. Career paths can include working at a start-up or mid-sized company where you can play a dual-role in both innovation and patent strategy.
  • Patent Prosecution: A person who drafts patent applications on behalf of a company or inventor is called a “patent prosecutor.” Law firms and corporations are actively seeking scientists and engineers interested in drafting patent applications. The number of patent applications filed each year continues to rise while the number of new patent practitioners has remained stagnant. There is increasing demand for scientists and engineers interested in this career path.
  • Patent Portfolio Management: Many large corporations have portfolio manager roles for evaluating new ideas and determining which ideas to patent, in accordance with a patent and product strategy. In this role, you would perform patent research on new ideas and lead a cross-functional team in making patenting decisions for each new idea.
  • Technology Transfer: Most research universities and many large research corporations have technology transfer roles that are responsible for licensing their technology to start-ups or existing companies. In this role, you would create the connection with companies that may be interested in licensing your technology.
  • Other Roles: Additional opportunities include roles as a patent examiner at the US Patent Office, roles in competitive intelligence, business development, and due diligence in venture capital firms.

Who is the ideal candidate for the program?

The ideal candidate is one who possesses a strong interest in science and technology and has the capacity to quickly understand new technologies and communicate information relating to new inventions and innovations in a clear and concise manner.

What do we look for in our applicants?

The program is a professional master’s degree. We are looking for candidates that will have a high likelihood of successful placement in industry. We look at applications holistically, while grades are a factor, professional work experience, a strong writing sample and your field of study may play a more important role. More specifically, there is a high demand for patent practitioners with degrees in physics, electrical engineering, chemical engineering or mechanical engineering, or with an advanced degree in the biological sciences. Students with these backgrounds will be considered more favorably for admissions and for scholarship awards.

What is the tuition for this program?

This program is offered through the University of Minnesota Law School, one of the nation’s most competitive law schools. Tuition is the same rate as for a first-year law student. What makes this program unique is that M.S.Patent Law degree-seeking students take a majority of their classes along with law school students, receiving the same training and instruction as law school graduates, without having to attend three years of law school and without having to take non-patent related law courses.

Are scholarships available for this program?

Scholarships are available for exceptional candidates. All candidates are immediately considered for scholarships upon applying to the program. No separate scholarship application is required.

What is the application deadline?

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. Scholarships are available, with priority given to applications received before January 1.

Where can I find out more information about the program?

For more information about our program, or to set up an informational interview, contact the Master of Science in Patent Law Program: patlaw@umn.edu or call 612-625-2362.

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-5000

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