Patents grant an inventor a limited period of exclusive rights to a human-made invention or an improvement on an existing invention, providing the United States Patent and Trademark Office deems it worthy of both technical and legal merit. The foundation for most patent law can be found within Title 35 of the U.S. Code, which allows for the protection of every aspect of a discovery, from the ornamental design to the processing methods. Constantly evolving technology has forced the scope of patent law to adapt in order to define what constitutes a human-made product.
In order to become a patent attorney, you must be admitted to practice before the courts of at least one state in the U.S., and must pass the patent bar exam which allows you to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent bar exam has a much lower pass rate than most bar exams, and requires that examinees possess strong technical backgrounds. Because of this, many patent lawyers have undergraduate (or even graduate) degrees in science or engineering.