Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

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objection_your_honor
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Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby objection_your_honor » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:28 pm

This post is more about IP law than Santa Clara as a school.

I am interested in possibly attending Santa Clara, mostly because of what I've read about their IP law reputation in the state and in the Valley. However, I've read that the patent bar is basically a requirement if you're looking for a career in IP. Is this the case? With a liberal arts degree, IP is looking less and less like a possibility for me for that reason. Santa Clara then doesn't seem like a wise choice.

pillowpet
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby pillowpet » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:08 pm

the patent bar is not a requirement for IP law. IP litigation covers many things, such as copyright, trademark, etc. Those areas do not require a technical background at all.

Whether you can get into an IP department at a firm with an arts degree depends on the firm. I don't know too many firms that just have lawyers doing copyrights and trademark issues. I would recommend looking up a handful of firms in Silicon Valley. Check out their IP/tech departments and see if there are any attorneys with non-tech backgrounds doing IP.

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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby timbs4339 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:12 pm

objection_your_honor wrote:This post is more about IP law than Santa Clara as a school.

I am interested in possibly attending Santa Clara, mostly because of what I've read about their IP law reputation in the state and in the Valley. However, I've read that the patent bar is basically a requirement if you're looking for a career in IP. Is this the case? With a liberal arts degree, IP is looking less and less like a possibility for me for that reason. Santa Clara then doesn't seem like a wise choice.


As the poster above said, there are options for liberal arts majors in IP (browse any biglaw firm's website and check the degrees their associates have). However, the IP hiring bump accrues to people who have tech, science, and engineering degrees.

Without a tech degree, your options for IP are going to depend on your ability to get into a biglaw firm more generally. This depends on your school and 1L grades. Santa Clara is, obviously, not a very wise choice if this is your goal.

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pugilistjd
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby pugilistjd » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:22 pm

SCU is only a good option for people with tech backgrounds and work experience in tech, because the law jobs that are growing out of Silicon Valley are almost exclusively patent-related. Patent work that requires a technical background is the only type of legal work, IP or otherwise, where there is actually a dearth of qualified lawyers, so school ranking receives less attention.

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bk1
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby bk1 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:26 pm

pugilistjd wrote:SCU is only a good option for people with tech backgrounds and work experience in tech, because the law jobs that are growing out of Silicon Valley are almost exclusively patent-related. Patent work that requires a technical background is the only type of legal work, IP or otherwise, where there is actually a dearth of qualified lawyers, so school ranking receives less attention.


1. SCU is probably not even a good option for those with tech backgrounds.

2. Law jobs in SV are definitely not "almost exclusively patent-related."

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pugilistjd
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby pugilistjd » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:40 pm

bk1 wrote:
pugilistjd wrote:SCU is only a good option for people with tech backgrounds and work experience in tech, because the law jobs that are growing out of Silicon Valley are almost exclusively patent-related. Patent work that requires a technical background is the only type of legal work, IP or otherwise, where there is actually a dearth of qualified lawyers, so school ranking receives less attention.


1. SCU is probably not even a good option for those with tech backgrounds.

2. Law jobs in SV are definitely not "almost exclusively patent-related."


1. Assuming that SCU is a good option for anyone for any reason, yes, its true, kids. All you need for an SCU JD to work for you is a tech background and a well-established career, preferably in Silicon Valley, BEFORE you go to law school. Its that simple! Of course, if you fit this description and want to do patent work, most law schools are probably good options for you.

2. Show me something that says otherwise besides a story about your friend's friend or something you read on TLS.

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bk1
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby bk1 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:47 pm

pugilistjd wrote:1. Assuming that SCU is a good option for anyone for any reason, yes, its true, kids. All you need for an SCU JD to work for you is a tech background and a well-established career, preferably in Silicon Valley, BEFORE you go to law school. Its that simple! Of course, if you fit this description and want to do patent work, most law schools are probably good options for you.

2. Show me something that says otherwise besides a story about your friend's friend or something you read on TLS.


I'm still not sold that for someone with a tech background and well-established career SCU is a good option. Maybe, but considering how miserable SCU is as a whole I'm skeptical.

The firms I interviewed with must have been lying when they said they had openings in corporate. To be clear: yes the SV firms are focused on tech, but that doesn't mean all or even the vast majority of what they do is patent litigation or patent prosecution.

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pugilistjd
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby pugilistjd » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:17 pm

bk1 wrote:The firms I interviewed with must have been lying when they said they had openings in corporate. To be clear: yes the SV firms are focused on tech, but that doesn't mean all or even the vast majority of what they do is patent litigation or patent prosecution.


How does the fact that there are some openings in corporate negate that the majority of legal work in SV is patent-related? When I said no friend-of-a-friend stories, I meant no anecdotes. Here's why most of the legal work in SV is in patents:
a) There is a dearth of patent lawyers across all markets.
b) New technology is being generated faster than during any other period in human history.
c) SV produces the concepts for the majority of said technology.

Thus, in Silicon Valley, there are more jobs in patenting new tech than there are patent lawyers. The same cannot be said for any other type of legal work.

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bk1
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby bk1 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:40 pm

pugilistjd wrote:Thus, in Silicon Valley, there are more jobs in patenting new tech than there are patent lawyers. The same cannot be said for any other type of legal work.

I'm not arguing for or against that. You do realize that this statement is not the same as the one you made earlier? (Quoted below so you don't hurt yourself trying to find it.)
pugilistjd wrote:the law jobs that are growing out of Silicon Valley are almost exclusively patent-related.

GMVarun
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby GMVarun » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:00 pm

pugilistjd wrote:
bk1 wrote:The firms I interviewed with must have been lying when they said they had openings in corporate. To be clear: yes the SV firms are focused on tech, but that doesn't mean all or even the vast majority of what they do is patent litigation or patent prosecution.


How does the fact that there are some openings in corporate negate that the majority of legal work in SV is patent-related? When I said no friend-of-a-friend stories, I meant no anecdotes. Here's why most of the legal work in SV is in patents:
a) There is a dearth of patent lawyers across all markets.
b) New technology is being generated faster than during any other period in human history.
c) SV produces the concepts for the majority of said technology.

Thus, in Silicon Valley, there are more jobs in patenting new tech than there are patent lawyers. The same cannot be said for any other type of legal work.

The local Bay-Area firms SV offices (Cooley, Fenwick, Orrick, Pillsbury, etc.) largely cater to technology, life-science clients. They will do all of these client's legal work, though, not just their patent work.Thus the big SV firms all have pretty robust legal practices (see especially Cooley). These technology clients can generate a fair amount of corporate work (for example, these clients may require M&A work as they buy a competitor to get the competitor's patents or IPO, PE work for the parent companies acquired start-ups), as bk is rightfully suggesting. These clients will also generate some litigation work (some which will be handled by these firms SF offices). This largely is also true of the non-California firms that have SV offices (see, e.g, Jones Day SV, Bingham SV, etc.). Of course, many of these firms also have non-technology clients. Some of these larger firms also cross-staff across offices. So even though you are out of SV, you could be working on other projects in other offices (very commonly the SF office, for example, but also maybe the home office).

Also, I think what you are suggesting is (1) these firms are growing (by what, increased SA classes? increased lateral movement?) and (2) if the SA classes are growing, that the new spots are primarily in their patent groups. From the data I looked at pre-OCI, some firms had modest growth but more firms were holding steady. Also, it is hard to say without inside knowledge where the growth in SA classes is going to be allocated to in terms of practice areas. This is not exactly publicized and different firms operate differently. Quinn this year was advertising that it is largely looking to expand its IP practice.

GMVarun
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby GMVarun » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:07 pm

bk1 wrote: SCU is probably not even a good option for those with tech backgrounds.

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pugilistjd
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby pugilistjd » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:11 pm

You do realize that I wasn't merely paraphrasing my original statement. This should clear things up:

d) There are more jobs in patenting than there are patent lawyers.
e) The same can't be said for any other type of legal work.

Thus the law jobs that are growing out of Silicon Valley are almost exclusively patent-related.

bk1 wrote: To be clear: yes the SV firms are focused on tech, but that doesn't mean all or even the vast majority of what they do is patent litigation or patent prosecution.


Also, I never said that the vast majority of SV firm work was patent-related. I said that the vast majority of new jobs growing out of SV were patent-related.

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bk1
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby bk1 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:31 pm

pugilistjd wrote:You do realize that I wasn't merely paraphrasing my original statement. This should clear things up:

d) There are more jobs in patenting than there are patent lawyers.
e) The same can't be said for any other type of legal work.

Thus the law jobs that are growing out of Silicon Valley are almost exclusively patent-related.


Maybe the issue is with your phrase "growing out of." Even if there are more spots for patent lawyers than there are people to fill those positions does not mean that all the job openings in SV are "almost exclusively patent-related."

This is what GMVarun was getting at with the end of his post. It seems that you're not really offering any evidence that SA classes are increasing and even if there are you aren't really offering any evidence that most of those increases are for patent.

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pugilistjd
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Re: Santa Clara, IP law, patent bar?

Postby pugilistjd » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:05 pm

GMVarun wrote: Also, it is hard to say without inside knowledge where the growth in SA classes is going to be allocated to in terms of practice areas. This is not exactly publicized and different firms operate differently.


bk1 wrote: Maybe the issue is with your phrase "growing out of." Even if there are more spots for patent lawyers than there are people to fill those positions does not mean that all the job openings in SV are "almost exclusively patent-related."

This is what GMVarun was getting at with the end of his post. It seems that you're not really offering any evidence that SA classes are increasing and even if there are you aren't really offering any evidence that most of those increases are for patent.


So, you're both right that I don't have hard numbers to support the claim that a) there is legal job growth in SV and b) it is almost exclusively patent-related. But there are good reasons to believe that, assuming (a) is true but minimal, (b) is true as well. Even if (a) is false, this wouldn't change the fact that, in both firm and in-house legal, there is less division of labor and lawyers are expected to do more than just litigation, M & A, or patents alone: they are expected to do all of the above and the background to do patent work is probably the least available of the three. So, saying that new jobs or even current SV legal jobs are patent-related doesn't necessarily mean that SV lawyers almost exclusively do patent work. That would be absurd. I'm saying that the majority of new jobs, if they exist, and perhaps even current SV legal jobs require the necessary tech background for patent work. But again, you're right, I don't have the numbers.




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