For Prospective Employers


The MS in Patent Law and the Certificate in Patent Prosecution are not accepting or considering applications.


Today, most patent agents learn patent law and practice through the same apprenticeship-based model as that in which junior associates are trained. This model is costly to a law firm or corporation, both because the firm is paying a salary to the new patent agent, and because the firm is writing off or writing down the time of the people training that new agent. 

Notre Dame’s Master of Science in Patent Law (MSPL) and Certificate in Patent Prosecution (CPP) provide their students with a basic skill set in patent practice. Over the course of either the MSPL or the CPP, students:

  • Become familiar with the common patent databases and best practices in searching.
  • Draft two patent applications for model "inventions."
  • Draft responses to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office communications.

In addition, MSPL students write a real patent application for a Notre-Dame generated technology. Our MSPL students:

  • Analyze an invention disclosure.
  • Conduct a patentability search for the technology.
  • Interact with the inventor(s) to gather the information required for a patent application.
  • Draft a complete, fileable patent application for that technology. 

Our students develop legal writing and research skills, as well as the professional skills critical to a successful legal practice. 

In addition to the tangible skill set graduates of the MSPL and CPP possess, they also graduate with a set of fundamental knowledge critical for patent prosecutors: familiarity with the patenting process, how to practice at the Patent Office, and ethical/professional knowledge about how to represent a client. These skills save a hiring firm the time and money that would otherwise need to be spent in training the novice patent agent.

Ultimately, the MSPL and CPP prepare their graduates to pass the Patent Bar, and trains them in the practical, day-to-day practice of patent law.

Please contact Dr. Karen Deak to inquire about the benefits of hiring a graduate of Notre Dame’s Master of Science in Patent Law. You can also read our current student profiles.

View Student Profiles