2024 ALPMA Australasian IP, Trade Mark & Patent Firms Salary Survey

Location

Australasia

Closes on

8 March 2024

StatusSurvey Open

PricingMembersAUD 1000 inc GST
Non-Members AUD 1000 inc GST

The new comprehensive survey of Australasian specialist IP, Trade Mark & Patent firms is now open.

In 2023, 15 firms across Australia & New Zealand (representing nearly 900 staff) participated in our new survey for firms specialising Intellectual Property, Trade Marks & Patents to provide salary information for over 25+ roles roles unique to these firms. The survey returns this year to provide an annual overview of salaries paid in specialist firms and law firms practising in these area across Australasia.

Please note that, while participation is free, unlike our long running Legal Industry HR Issues & Salary Surveys, there is an access fee in order to obtain the IP specific suite of customised salary data reports being produced.  Only firms who have participated will be able to receive the final report. If you have any questions or are interested in participating or purchasing the report in the future, please contact us.

Who should complete this survey?

Salary information is highly sensitive. To retain a high level of quality control, the survey should be completed by staff who have the appropriate authority to provide accurate information (e.g. HR Managers, Practice Managers, CFO, Managing Partners).

If you are also a law firm or have lawyers within your firm you may also like to complete our comprehensive Legal Industry HR Issues & Salary Survey to benchmark other salaries.

How to Participate

1

Download the Preparation Documents from this page and gather information.

Before commencing the online survey, please read the Preparation Checklist and gather your information. This will ensure you have everything you need to participate in the survey at your fingertips.

Download the position descriptions, salary calculations spreadsheet and a hard copy of the questionnaire:

2

Complete the survey online by March 8th 2024.

The confidential online survey will take approximately 15 – 25 minutes to complete, depending on the size of your firm.

Positions & Roles covered in the current survey

The Australasian IP, Trade Mark & Patent Firms Salary Survey provides a comprehensive, independent review of salaries paid for over 25+ legal, management and support roles at Australasian Intellectual Property, trade mark and patent specialist firms and law firms that practice in these areas. If you are participating in the survey, you or your firm will need to collect staff numbers and salary data (highest, lowest and average salaries) for each of the following positions at the firm. As titles and responsibilities can vary between firms please see the position descriptions made available below. Positions should be matched based first on competency and role responsibilities rather than years of service or time spent in the role.

Intellectual Property Legal Roles

Patent Attorney – Trainee

Also known as Technical Assistant, Patent Technical Assistant, Patent Technical Specialist, Patent Scientist, or Patent Engineer.

Works directly with Partners and qualified attorneys, receiving training in patent attorney practice and keeping their skills up to date through constant exposure to the latest developments in technology. They will be required to undertake study and sit examinations to gain qualification as a patent attorney.

Holds a degree, diploma, advanced diploma or graduate diploma under the Australian Qualification Framework that is in a field of technology that contains potentially patentable subject matter and is awarded in the Higher Education Sector.

A common career path for an aspiring patent attorney will include several years, for example, up to 3 years, working as a Trainee Patent Attorney under supervision of a registered patent attorney while studying for registration.

Patent Attorney

Salaries to be entered by based first on competency and role responsibilities:

  • Newly Qualified: formally qualified, completed their Masters of Intellectual Property and then registered as a Patent Attorney within Australia and working within a patent role within a law or IP firm. They work directly with Partners and qualified attorneys taking an increased responsibility with clients under supervision, receiving training in patent attorney practice and keeping their skills up to date through constant exposure to the latest developments in technology.
  • Mid Level: also called Associate Patent Attorney; is competent in drafting, prosecution, infringement opinion and works with minimal supervision.
  • Senior: also called Senior Associate Patent Attorney; has developed a strong relationship with the client and works autonomously with occasional supervision; may typically have 5 to 15 years of experience (post registration).
  • Special Counsel: This position sits in between Senior Associate and Partner. This person specialises in Patents. At this stage, typically the person holding this position has either decided they do not want to progress to partner, or the firm has decided they cannot progress to partner. In some firms, a person holding this position is not precluded from progressing to partner at a future date. A person holding this position may be regarded as a leading technical expert in their specialised field.  A Special Counsel Patent Attorney may typically have 12 to 15 years or more of experience. The title is sometimes applied to partners who are on the path to retirement, however, as their remuneration structure is referenced to partner income, a person holding this position should not have their remuneration included in this category.
PTMA Salaried Partner / Salaried Principal *

This position is the most senior in the firm but considered the entry level for Partner / Principal roles. This position specialises in patents or trademarks.

Successfully manages a large portfolio of clients. Consistently achieves fee growth year on year.  Responsibility for generating work to delegate to others which supports team's ongoing development. Takes an active role in building the business through Business Development initiatives including identification and pursuit of targets with a track record of successful conversion to clients. Manages and maintains existing clients through outstanding client care and customer relationship management capabilities. Work product is always excellent, pitched at the right level, on budget and on time. Takes responsibility for self-development and personal accountability for ensuring professional standards are met. Demonstrates leadership across the firm including leading others, culture, risk management, team building capability and governance. Strong contribution to firm profitability both through individual and team contributions.

PTMA Equity Partner / Vendor Principal (0 – 3 years) *

In addition to the PTMA Salaried Partner / Principal role, also plays a key role in the development, implementation and successful execution of the firm's business strategy.

Deep understanding of how the business and IP industry operate as a whole. Strong network across the IP profession and regarded as a go to person in their area of expertise and sought out accordingly.  Advanced financial and business literacy. Plays a key role in developing others in the team including building their own practices. Key contributor to ongoing development and success of the firm.

* For partners please just average their regular drawings into an annual amount and include these figures. Do not include any additional profit share or top up payments received throughout the year. Include only base salary + superannuation. Do not include any variable bonus, profit bonus, employee share scheme.

Equity Partners with more than 3 years in that position should not be entered.

Vendor Principals should be treated as Equity Partners for the purpose of this survey.

Firms that exclude themselves from providing data for this role type will not receive this data in the final report.

Trade Marks Attorney – Trainee

Works directly with qualified attorneys, receiving training and keeping their skills up to date through exposure to marketing and branding issues. If they desire to pursue a career as a Trade Marks Attorney, they will be required to undertake study and pass four subject groups to gain appropriate qualification.

Trade Marks Attorney

A qualified and registered Trade Marks Attorney within Australia and working within a trade marks role within a law or IP firm.

Salaries to be entered by based first on competency and role responsibilities:

  • Newly Qualified: Covers three levels of experience:
    • 0‒1 year post registration
    • 1‒2 years post registration
    • 3 years post registration
  • Mid Level: also called Associate Trade Marks Attorney; covers two levels of experience:
    • 3‒4 years post registration
    • 4‒5 years post registration
  • Senior: also called Senior Associate Trade Marks Attorney; has developed a strong relationship with the client and works autonomously with occasional supervision; may typically have 5 to 15 years of experience (post registration).
  • Special Counsel: This position sits in between Senior Associate and Partner. The person specialises in Trade Marks. At this stage, typically the person holding this position has either decided they do not want to progress to partner, or the firm has decided they cannot progress to partner. In some firms, a person holding this position is not precluded from progressing to partner at a future date. A Special Counsel Trade Marks Attorney may typically have 12 to 15 years or more of experience. The title is sometimes applied to partners who are on the path to retirement, however, as their remuneration structure is referenced to partner income, a person holding this position should not have their remuneration included in this category.

Intellectual Property Support Roles

Patent and Trade Marks (PTM) – Administrator

Performs filings and specialised administrative tasks in the life cycle of a patent or trade mark, and supports patent attorneys or trade mark attorneys.

Salaries to be entered by based first on competency and role responsibilities:

  • Entry / Junior Administrator: Covers junior and entry-level experience; 0–2 years’ experience. Heavily supervised as trained in the role within the first 12 months. Between 1 and 2 years, work still supervised and reviewed but increasing independence in being able to complete work in first instance unsupervised, although work is checked and may ask for occasional guidance. Competently completes routine work; not required to problem solve; can be a career position in itself.
  • Administrator: Covers mid-level experience. 2–4 years’ experience. Understands what is required in the role and generally works unsupervised with only occasional questions relating to irregular or infrequent issues. A reference point for trainees (0–1 year) to ask questions. Competently completes routine work; not required to problem solve; can be a career position in itself.
  • Senior Administrator: 4 – 5 + years’ experience. Able to work unsupervised and work of a consistently high quality. Act as a reference point for PTM Administrators with up to 3 years’ experience. Able to step up into the Team Leader role to cover periods of short absence but does not yet have team supervisory skills. 2IC for the Team Leader and involved in training others; required to problem solve and complete non-routine tasks.
Patent and Trade Marks (PTM) – Administrative Team Leader

Also referred to as a Coordinator. Supervises and coordinates the work of the rest of the team. Leads a team of people. Oversees all filings and administrative tasks in the life cycle of a patent or trade mark including ensuring month-end billing completed, providing client quotes and respond to client queries (filings, examinations, amendments etc). In depth knowledge of Patent and Trade Mark processes. ‘Go To’ person for the team and considered a subject matter expert.

Patent and Trade Marks (PTM) – Administrative Manager

Leads the IP Services Team. Oversees all Filing and Examination Clerks/ Docketing. Supporting the Team Leaders, overseeing all processes and procedures. Ensuring the billing guidelines and flagfalls are accurate for the teams. Maintain client instruction guides for the team's processes. Optional: Prepared and create precedents as required by the team.

IP Assistants or Secretaries

Salaries to be entered by based first on competency and role responsibilities:

  • Career Level 1: An entry-level position typically requiring little to no prior knowledge or experience; 0–2 years’ experience at a trainee level. It takes approximately 6 to 12 months to train a person holding this position into the role of IP Assistant / Secretary because of the level of technical knowledge and understanding of procedures required. They will undergo intensive training, but on the job and through formal training.
  • Career Level 2: An Experienced Para-Professional who requires basic knowledge of job procedures and tools obtained through work experience and may require vocational or technical education. Typically 0–2 years’ experience post trainee level, but competency should be the primary guide.
  • Career Level 3: A Senior Para-Professional who requires broad knowledge of operational procedures and tools obtained through extensive work experience and may require vocational or technical education. Typically 2–4 years’ experience post trainee level, but competency should be the primary guide.
  • Career Level 4 (Senior): A Specialist Para-Professional who requires advanced knowledge of operational procedures and tools obtained through extensive work experience and may require vocational or technical education. Typically 3–5 years’ experience post trainee level, but competency should be the primary guide.
IP Assistants or Secretaries – Coordinator

Team Leader or Coordinator. Typically 5+ years’ experience, but supervisory role and competency should be the primary guide.

Searcher – Trade Marks

A Trade Mark Searcher is responsible for searching multiple Australian and foreign databases to provide accurate trade mark search results.

Salaries to be entered by based first on competency and role responsibilities:

  • Trade Marks or IP Searcher or Trademark Analyst: undertakes trade mark watches and may manage all business and company name searches; may also be required to attend to due diligence matters, the filing and renewal of business and company names, and prepare client reports and correspondence; typically has a minimum of 1–2 years’ experience in an intellectual property environment and an understanding of trade mark principles and practice.
  • Trade Marks (Senior): responsible for overseeing the trade mark search department for an organisation including billing, client services/relationships, quoting, business development and is also responsible for all staffing matters and training within the trade mark searching department; undertakes and oversees trade mark watches and manages all business and company name searches; may also be required to attend to due diligence matters, the filing and renewal of business and company names, and prepare client reports and correspondence;typically has a minimum of 5–7 years’ experience in an intellectual property environment and an understanding of trade mark principles and practice.  A Senior Trade Mark Searcher may also be a qualified trade mark attorney.
Searcher – Patent

A Patent Searcher is responsible for searching multiple Australian and foreign databases to provide accurate patent and non-patent literature search results.

Salaries to be entered by based first on competency and role responsibilities:

  • Patent or IP Searcher or Patent Analyst: undertakes watches and may manage all business and company name searches; may also be required to prepare client reports and correspondence; requires experience in searching patent and/or technology databases. May have a technology degree in a broad based discipline or Bachelor of Science degree if required to conduct searches of a scientific nature.
  • Patent (Senior): conducts watches; responsible for overseeing the patent search department for an organisation including billing, client services/relationships, quoting, business development and is also responsible for all staffing matters and training within the patent searching department; requires experience in developing complex search strategies and searching patent and/or technology databases as well as patent data analysis. May have a technology degree in a broad based discipline or Bachelor of Science degree if required to conduct searches of a scientific nature. A Senior Patent Searcher typically has a minimum of 7–10 years’ experience in an intellectual property environment and an understanding of local and international patent principles and practice.  A Senior Patent Searcher may also be a qualified patent attorney and /or a qualified Patent Information Professional (QPIP).

The following legal and support positions are covered in our 2024 Australian Legal Industry HR Issues & Salary Survey. If you are a law firm with an IP or Trade Mark department, please complete the Legal Industry survey for those positions. Participation in the Legal Industry Salary Surveys guarantees a complimentary copy of the final Legal Industry report. The salary data provided in the IP survey should not overlap with the information asked for in the separate Legal Industry survey.

Solicitors / Lawyers

Graduate

Has successfully completed a Law Degree and is undertaking further supervised work experience or training as governed by the relevant Law Societies and other legal bodies or institutions across Australasia to gain admission.

Lawyer

Enter salary data based on a titled position first (E.g. Associate/ Senior Associate) then by PAE level. E.g. A Lawyer with 3 yrs PAE would be entered under Lawyer 3–4 years PAE but a 3 yr PAE Associate would be entered under Associate.

A qualified and admitted Legal Practitioner with years of Post Admission Experience (P.A.E.). Salaries to be entered by years of experience:

  • 0–1 yr P.A.E.
  • 1–2 yrs P.A.E.
  • 2–3 yrs P.A.E.
  • 3–4 yrs P.A.E.
  • 4–5 yrs P.A.E.
  • 5–6 yrs P.A.E.
  • 6+ years P.A.E.
Associate

A Lawyer with 3 – 5 years’ experience who has achieved a level of specialist knowledge that can be held out to the public as a representative of the firm.

Senior Associate

A Lawyer with 5+ years’ experience held out to be an experienced representative of the firm on the path towards a Partner Position/Special Counsel/Consultant.

Special Counsel

A Lawyer with 7+ years’ experience. Appointment to Special Counsel can be a career path promotion towards Partnership or applied to a Senior Lawyer who is not seeking partnership as part of career goals.  This person may also be a very senior lateral hire or person who has stepped down from Partnership.

Salaried Partner

Also known as Non-Equity Partner or Fixed Draw Partner. They do not receive a profit share but are subject to liability as a Partner. This is often an intermediary step to a full Equity Partner or may be recognition of seniority and prestige.

Managing Partner

Usually performed by an Equity Partner who has been given authority from the partnership to have overall responsibility for the firm’s partnership matters, practice management and other operational matters.

Equity Partner

A Partner that shares in the profits and losses of the business, but who is not involved in its management.

Consultant

Usually a lawyer whose role can range from a specialist advisor (like a Special Counsel), a Partner who has retired or been bought out (and may never come into the office), or can include an overseas qualified lawyer who is not yet admitted in Australia. This person may take the role of coach/mentor or client Relationship Manager and may also be a significant person on a retainer to appear at special events. This position relates to internal salaried consultants, not external consultants.

Paralegals / Law Clerks

Paralegal (also referred to as Law Clerk)

Undertakes specialist legal duties under the supervision of a lawyer, usually in a very defined and process driven area. Eg Conveyancing, Mortgage, Debt Collection, and Personal Injury.  They are frequently considered Fee Earners but are not qualified as a lawyer. They may have completed a Legal Diploma or Certificate. Salaries to be entered by years of experience:
Paralegal/Law Clerk (less than 5 yrs experience)
Paralegal/Law Clerk (5+ yrs experience)

Undergraduate Student Paralegal / Clerk (also referred to as a Vacation or Seasonal / Student Law Clerk)

Students recruited, often in their penultimate year, to assist and gain experience within the firm. Students undertake a range of tasks including simple legal tasks supervised by a lawyer, research or assisting on specific projects. Usually work on a part time basis or as a Summer/Winter Clerk.

Registered Conveyancer

A licensed conveyancer holds a current registered licence and has complied with the various requirements or units of competency under the relevant legislation or regulatory bodies.

ANNUAL RESEARCH

New Zealand Salary Survey report coming soon.

ANNUAL RESEARCH

2024 Australian Salary Survey now open.

Secure your free report and benchmark your firm.

Firms and Individuals who participate in these surveys receive a complimentary copy of the research report.

Need more information?

If you have any questions about the research or need assistance, please contact our research team.

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