Question about patent law

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musicalmissionary
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 5:14 pm

Question about patent law

Postby musicalmissionary » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:37 pm

My undergrad is Materials Science & Engineering (plus MBA) and I'm definitely interested in patent law or maybe just IP law in general.

I have heard from several sources, including my brother-in-law who used to be a legal headhunter, that your law school doesn't matter so much in landing a patent lawyer job because they are in high demand due to the rarity of lawyers with science/engineering degrees and the Patent Bar under their belt. Is this true today or is this an outdated idea?

LockBox
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:05 pm

Re: Question about patent law

Postby LockBox » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:57 pm

Would also like input on this, preferably from someone who is not speculating.

awesomepossum
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 12:49 am

Re: Question about patent law

Postby awesomepossum » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:07 pm

It does matter what law school you went to.

It especially matters if you want to do patent lit for a big firm since the metrics that they use are similar to those used for regular associates, even if they are more lenient.

In the case of boutiques, it matters as well. I think that one factor is that the supply/demand for patent lawyers IS starting to move away from being an employees market, so you still need to differentiate yourself.

Black-Blue
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Re: Question about patent law

Postby Black-Blue » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:36 am

For patent litigation - it matters a lot. The patent litigation industry is smaller than the prosecution industry, but conversely, there are more candidates who are qualified. Litigation is less "technical" in that (1) litigation is heavily about procedural law and (2) since cases tend to be big, you'll often have technical consultants on stand by.

For patent prosecution - If you want to do pat prosecution at a biglaw firm or a highly-ranked botique... and you have a very strong technical background (e.g. phd / work experience) you have to go to a "good enough" school so that the firm will give you school a look, usually this means a top 50 school. ... but if you don't have a very strong technical background (e.g., you're not EE, no work experience) , then school rank is important and is directly relevant to job opportunities.

Keep in mind that in this economy, there's a huge glut of attorneys of all types, including patent attorneys.

musicalmissionary
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Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 5:14 pm

Re: Question about patent law

Postby musicalmissionary » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:18 pm

Black-Blue wrote:For patent litigation - it matters a lot. The patent litigation industry is smaller than the prosecution industry, but conversely, there are more candidates who are qualified. Litigation is less "technical" in that (1) litigation is heavily about procedural law and (2) since cases tend to be big, you'll often have technical consultants on stand by.

For patent prosecution - If you want to do pat prosecution at a biglaw firm or a highly-ranked botique... and you have a very strong technical background (e.g. phd / work experience) you have to go to a "good enough" school so that the firm will give you school a look, usually this means a top 50 school. ... but if you don't have a very strong technical background (e.g., you're not EE, no work experience) , then school rank is important and is directly relevant to job opportunities.

Keep in mind that in this economy, there's a huge glut of attorneys of all types, including patent attorneys.


Thanks. That was helpful. The lowest ranked schools on my list are Cardozo and Suffolk while the highest are BU and Fordham. I also have 8 years of work experience with demonstrated promotions and leadership roles. So as much as I'm hoping to get into BU and/or Fordham... I'd like to think I won't be disadvantaged if I end up at Cardozo or Suffolk.

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dood
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Re: Question about patent law

Postby dood » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:53 pm

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Last edited by dood on Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

Black-Blue
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Re: Question about patent law

Postby Black-Blue » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:45 pm

dood wrote:bro if cant get into BU/Fordham u'r better off not going to law school. ur ms&e is not really coveted, most chem prosecution requires phd level at the top firms. so basically ur going to do lit, which means u need a good law school. passing the patent bar is a plus too and u can take this whenever u want.

check this site and forums for pretty much everything IP related, including "Patent Agent/Lawyer Careers"
http://www.intelproplaw.com/ip_forum/#Patent

another thing u can do is look at at firms u might want to work at and browse the younger associates...u will notice real fast what degrees/skills/law school/work experience the firms are looking for. good luck!

In general, I agree, but this is still on a case-by-case basis. Qualification-wise, MS&E is a very ill-defined field and can encompass anything, basically. There are some very specialized MS&E fields like ceramics and metallurgy that he might find a home in. MS&E can also fit into solid state materials, polymers, etc., both of which aren't purely chemistry. We don't know what OP's specialty is, or if he's worked for a big engineering company or the USPTO. However, I agree that at face value, MS&E is not an attractive degree, for the reason that employers aren't entirely sure what MS&E is and it's seen as less flexible than Chem E.

The PhD wave just got started for chem prosecution. At the moment, only biochem degrees need PhDs, and chem sometimes need PhD/Masters. PhD isn't required for chemical engineering degrees yet, although in 3 years when OP graduates, it would be heading there.




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