IP Law, Non-Science Background

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sanpiero
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IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby sanpiero » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:04 am

Is it possible to get into IP law without a background (e.g. bachelors or masters in engineering) in science? In other words, do I, as a finance grad, have any shot at IP law? The schools I am targeting that have strong IP programs are SCU and GW.

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rayiner
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby rayiner » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:09 am

You can do IP litigation, though many law firms like to hire people with science backgrounds who can do both.

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Giles Rich
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby Giles Rich » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:23 am

sanpiero wrote:Is it possible to get into IP law without a background (e.g. bachelors or masters in engineering) in science? In other words, do I, as a finance grad, have any shot at IP law? The schools I am targeting that have strong IP programs are SCU and GW.


There are a number of areas in IP that don't require a science background. As rayiner mentioned, there is IP litigation. You can also do copyrights and trademarks. Most of the trademark attorneys I know don't have any science background.

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Roth Mantel
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby Roth Mantel » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:27 am

Sure.

You could do soft IP (copyright/trademark), IP litigation, IP licensing/transactions, etc. The only thing you really need a science/eng background for is patent prosecution. Of course, it has some value as a credential as well, and some firms may prefer people with more technical backgrounds for IP as a broader rule, but if you look at attorney profiles at large law firms you'll find plenty of people with nothing more than a BA/JD who do IP work.

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mllerustad
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby mllerustad » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:07 am

Yeah, copyright and trademark are fair game for non-technical degrees, though it can be a bit harder to find a job since many firms want someone who can multitask. If you go to a school that lets you cross-register, you may want to take a course or two relevant to the kind of copyright/other IP law you want to do (computer science, documentary film, marketing, etc) so you have a bit of background.

foodizgood
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby foodizgood » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:59 am

Giles Rich wrote:
sanpiero wrote:Is it possible to get into IP law without a background (e.g. bachelors or masters in engineering) in science? In other words, do I, as a finance grad, have any shot at IP law? The schools I am targeting that have strong IP programs are SCU and GW.


There are a number of areas in IP that don't require a science background. As rayiner mentioned, there is IP litigation. You can also do copyrights and trademarks. Most of the trademark attorneys I know don't have any science background.


I think the areas of IP law that don't require a science background are much more numerous than those that do... perhaps I'm not being imaginative enough here, but I only see the science background coming into play if you have to litigate details of precedent and dependent technology, and writing patents. But there are whole fields of IP law that require no technical training; for example, entertainment law. IP is huge.

Besides, even with the technical stuff, I think most of it doesn't require technical understanding, just basic knowledge of concepts. You think the lawyers who got Apple their recent patent on multi-touch interface understand how it works? Or just the ideas of user-experience?

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rayiner
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby rayiner » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:22 pm

foodizgood wrote:Besides, even with the technical stuff, I think most of it doesn't require technical understanding, just basic knowledge of concepts. You think the lawyers who got Apple their recent patent on multi-touch interface understand how it works? Or just the ideas of user-experience?


When an electrical engineer shows you an invention that uses a markov model to predict some degradation factor within a transmission network, you're going to have to understand what a markov model is and how it works. Good patents are very detailed and specific. You can bet that the lawyers who wrote Apple's multi-touch patent understand what capacitive touch-screens are, how to deconflict spurious inputs, etc.

snotrocket
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby snotrocket » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:30 pm

sanpiero wrote:Is it possible to get into IP law without a background (e.g. bachelors or masters in engineering) in science? In other words, do I, as a finance grad, have any shot at IP law? The schools I am targeting that have strong IP programs are SCU and GW.

No.

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:32 pm

foodizgood wrote:Besides, even with the technical stuff, I think most of it doesn't require technical understanding, just basic knowledge of concepts. You think the lawyers who got Apple their recent patent on multi-touch interface understand how it works? Or just the ideas of user-experience?

The idea that a lawyer who doesn't understand the technology would actually get anywhere during patent prosecution is laughable.

The idea that a client would be fine and dandy handing off proprietary technology that is bringing them millions of dollars in revenue to a patent lawyer who doesn't know how a touch screen works is even more laughable, nay, it is ridiculous.

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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:32 pm

snotrocket wrote:
sanpiero wrote:Is it possible to get into IP law without a background (e.g. bachelors or masters in engineering) in science? In other words, do I, as a finance grad, have any shot at IP law? The schools I am targeting that have strong IP programs are SCU and GW.

No.

You are wrong. Even if he wanted to do patent law, there are avenues available to him to pursue that path.

foodizgood
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby foodizgood » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:35 pm

rayiner wrote:
foodizgood wrote:Besides, even with the technical stuff, I think most of it doesn't require technical understanding, just basic knowledge of concepts. You think the lawyers who got Apple their recent patent on multi-touch interface understand how it works? Or just the ideas of user-experience?


When an electrical engineer shows you an invention that uses a markov model to predict some degradation factor within a transmission network, you're going to have to understand what a markov model is and how it works. Good patents are very detailed and specific. You can bet that the lawyers who wrote Apple's multi-touch patent understand what capacitive touch-screens are, how to deconflict spurious inputs, etc.


This is true, however, you can have a lawyer working with an engineer with this. It doesn't take an engineer or a technical background to decipher that "markov model to predict some degradation factor within a transmission network" = uses a tried and true mathematical method to model that transmissions get exponentially weaker on distance. Or "capacitive touch-screens / how to deconflict spurious inputs" = appreciating the complexity of more than one point of contact on a touch screen.

Engineers (look at my profile, I have an engineering background) like to make concepts sound a lot more complicated than they are. When it comes down to it, the discussion doesn't need to sound so complex when you're talking about copyrights, rights of usage, and UI implementation.

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General Tso
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:37 pm

I am pretty sure that you have to have a science degree to practice patent law. I think I read somewhere that you can't sit for the patent bar without a science degree. I'll look for sources.

foodizgood
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby foodizgood » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:38 pm

Lxw wrote:
foodizgood wrote:Besides, even with the technical stuff, I think most of it doesn't require technical understanding, just basic knowledge of concepts. You think the lawyers who got Apple their recent patent on multi-touch interface understand how it works? Or just the ideas of user-experience?

The idea that a lawyer who doesn't understand the technology would actually get anywhere during patent prosecution is laughable.

The idea that a client would be fine and dandy handing off proprietary technology that is bringing them millions of dollars in revenue to a patent lawyer who doesn't know how a touch screen works is even more laughable, nay, it is ridiculous.



I have to concede and agree with the bold.

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General Tso
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:39 pm

Check out this pdf...Pages 6-7 (or 4-5 if you look on the actual page).

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/oed/grb.pdf

An applicant applying for the examination must demonstrate that he or she possesses the scientific and technical training necessary to provide valuable service to patent applicants. Applicants bear the burden of showing the requisite scientific and technical training. To be admitted to the examination, each applicant must demonstrate possession of the required scientific and technical training


It then gives a list of appropriate majors to sit for the patent bar.

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mllerustad
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby mllerustad » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:41 pm

swheat wrote:I am pretty sure that you have to have a science degree to practice patent law. I think I read somewhere that you can't sit for the patent bar without a science degree. I'll look for sources.


For the Michigan patent bar you don't have to. (Have a friend at GMU who took that route.) You'll need to study your advanced math, though--it's pretty hard.

foodizgood
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby foodizgood » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:44 pm

Thanks, swheat. My bad for the misinformed musings. Well... glad it's still an option for me :lol:

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General Tso
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:44 pm

mllerustad wrote:
swheat wrote:I am pretty sure that you have to have a science degree to practice patent law. I think I read somewhere that you can't sit for the patent bar without a science degree. I'll look for sources.


For the Michigan patent bar you don't have to. (Have a friend at GMU who took that route.) You'll need to study your advanced math, though--it's pretty hard.


Are you sure that each state has its own patent bar? I thought CA had one too, but I just read on Wikipedia that there is only one patent bar for the whole US, and it is governed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_Bar

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:46 pm

mllerustad wrote:For the Michigan patent bar you don't have to. (Have a friend at GMU who took that route.) You'll need to study your advanced math, though--it's pretty hard.

WHAT THE FRACK IS A MICHIGAN PATENT BAR.

There is only one patent bar, which is administered by the USPTO. There isn't a Michigan PTO. And for the record, the patent bar doesn't test your technical knowledge. I have no idea why you would need to study advanced math to prepare for the patent bar, you only need math to do one or two problems, and that math is as hard as what you learned in third grade.

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premierock
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby premierock » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:51 pm

I was under the impression there is only one as well...but anyway, this is getting a little off topic. The OP asked if he can get into IP Law without a science degree, not if he can be a patent attorney. Does anyone have insight as to the prospects of pursuing IP without that degree?? (I bring this up because I'm also in the same position as OP)

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General Tso
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:52 pm

premierock wrote:I was under the impression there is only one as well...but anyway, this is getting a little off topic. The OP asked if he can get into IP Law without a science degree, not if he can be a patent attorney. Does anyone have insight as to the prospects of pursuing IP without that degree?? (I bring this up because I'm also in the same position as OP)


Other people discussed it. You can do copyrights and trademarks, but not patents.

snotrocket
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby snotrocket » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:02 pm

Lxw wrote:
snotrocket wrote:
sanpiero wrote:Is it possible to get into IP law without a background (e.g. bachelors or masters in engineering) in science? In other words, do I, as a finance grad, have any shot at IP law? The schools I am targeting that have strong IP programs are SCU and GW.

No.

You are wrong. Even if he wanted to do patent law, there are avenues available to him to pursue that path.

False. Without a hard science or engineering background (i.e. PhD + relevent published research or maybe M.S. plus substantial and on topic work experience), he will not be working in patent prosecution. Even people who have these things are having problems landing jobs ITE.

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dresq
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby dresq » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:06 pm

snotrocket wrote:
Lxw wrote:
snotrocket wrote:
sanpiero wrote:Is it possible to get into IP law without a background (e.g. bachelors or masters in engineering) in science? In other words, do I, as a finance grad, have any shot at IP law? The schools I am targeting that have strong IP programs are SCU and GW.

No.

You are wrong. Even if he wanted to do patent law, there are avenues available to him to pursue that path.

False. Without a substantial hard science or engineering background (i.e. PhD + relevent published research or maybe M.S. plus substantial and on topic work experience), he will not be working in patent prosecution. Even people who have these things are having problems landing jobs ITE.

As someone already mentioned, you can do patent litigation without being registered at the USPTO. Probably can't argue anything before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, but you can do things like negotiate deals and settlements in civil patent infringement cases and the like.

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:08 pm

snotrocket wrote:False. Without a substantial hard science or engineering background (i.e. PhD + relevent published research or maybe M.S. plus substantial and on topic work experience), he will not be working in patent prosecution. Even people who have these things are having problems landing jobs ITE.

Right. You're the guy making broad generalizations which are not only unfounded, but based on the current job market. The mere fact that is hard to do right now does not make it impossible. You are basically saying that a) nobody has done it in the past, and b) nobody will do it in the future. Both are laughable claims.

snotrocket
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby snotrocket » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:14 pm

dresq wrote:As someone already mentioned, you can do patent litigation without being registered at the USPTO. Probably can't argue anything before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, but you can do things like negotiate deals and settlements in civil patent infringement cases and the like.

In other words, you can't do anything of consequence in "IP Law." If the OP wants to litigate, then he can ask what it takes to get into litigation, and "IP Law" has nothing to do with that.

snotrocket
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Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Postby snotrocket » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:16 pm

Lxw wrote:
snotrocket wrote:False. Without a substantial hard science or engineering background (i.e. PhD + relevent published research or maybe M.S. plus substantial and on topic work experience), he will not be working in patent prosecution. Even people who have these things are having problems landing jobs ITE.

You are basically saying that a) nobody has done it in the past, and b) nobody will do it in the future. Both are laughable claims.

False, and comically uninformed. Even in the best of times, people without the required technical background will have zero prospects, although those with the right background will be in high demand. ITE, even the people who have the required qualifications are having a tough time (i.e. OP's prospects, which were zero at the best of times, are now even less than zero).




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