Patent Law Enrollment on the Decline

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As the number of IP lawyers decline despite the high-reward field, many try to find a reason for this decrease. (Image Credit: Patexia)

As the world evolves daily, so does the economy. The number of jobs in the job market has exponentially increased compared to twenty years ago, offering individuals new employment opportunities. Although the economy has seen growth, certain aspects of politics are hindering the economy’s ability to evolve to its full potential. One hindrance is the bias of women working. Women have been frowned upon when discussing their roles in leadership positions for years and years. One would think that with the rapid modernization of various industries, the idea of women holding important positions would also evolve. However, this is simply not true. Intellectual property law is one of the leading industries of law in the United States. With America continuing to expand on new technologies and other innovations, patent attorneys are crucial in the expansion of innovations. However, Intellectual property law (IP) has seen a decrease in employment rates lately for a variety of reasons.

Intellectual property law is the study of law pertaining to the protection of new ideas. Specifically, IP law focuses on giving credit to inventors, artists, and authors’ products and further ensures no other individual will steal their ideas. IP law has two subcategories: patent law and copyright infringement law. Patent Law is the law of ensuring ideas such as new technologies, new medicines, and overall new inventions are protected from infringement. Copyright law is similar to where it is the law protecting artists’ work such as books and music. Inventions and ideas like such are a huge factor in driving our economy. Without, IP lawyers, inventors would feel uneasy about releasing an invention as there is a huge risk it can get stolen. Thus, IP lawyers ease that tension and aim to make the stressful process of publishing an invention/idea to the public easier.

In the last decade, those who are pursuing a career in IP law have declined dramatically. One crucial reason for this is that women feel discouraged by society when deciding to pursue this career field. Women have always been the icon for watching the children while the man of the house goes out to work. While this ideology has evolved slightly, it still is seen as a hindrance to many. Look at it this way; if a married couple are both IP attorneys and their children are sick, the women would take off to watch the kids. Why? This is a standard set by society. Women want jobs where they can have flexibility within their work. A common misconception is that the field law requires individuals to spend hours away from their personal lives. However, one benefit of IP law is that this job has one of the greatest amounts of flexibility compared to other fields of law. Both men and women can spend time with their families while working in this field. Additionally, women especially should take advantage of having a job in IP law as it can break the standards that women can’t hold powerful positions. This standard is only in one’s mind and can be broken by proving society wrong.

Law school enrollment rates for IP law as well as IP lawyers have also decreased because people tend to stick to what their comfortable with. High schools enable students to explore common career choices such as computer science and medicine. While those are all good careers, you probably haven’t heard of IP law classes being taught in school. If teens are exposed to these classes early on, they are more likely to choose a career in that field since they are already familiar with it. However, what many people don’t know is that IP law – specifically patent law – allows individuals to apply what they already know to law. For example, those interested in mechanics can get a degree in that and apply it to patent law by focusing on the mechanics of inventions. Those interested in pharmaceuticals can get a degree in biology and focus on patenting medicines. This career field allows you to stick to what you’re comfortable while stepping outside of your comfort zone all at the same time.

IP law is essential to the economy as inventions drive commercialization. IP attorneys provides ease to inventors as they ensure that their ideas will remain theirs. With the dropping IP rates, we can only expect to see the economy decline as well. Take India for example: they have a struggling economy because they don’t have as much of a system for consumerism as America does. America’s economy thrives on IP lawyers and it is essential we break the barriers of stereotypes and step outside of our comfort zone to bring the employment rates for Intellectual Property law once again.

Written by Shreya Kulkarni

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