## IP Law, Non-Science Background

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rayiner

Posts: 6145
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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

foodizgood wrote: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.

Thanks for proving my point. A Markov model is a way to predict the parameters of some statistical system when given just the outputs of that system. It has nothing to do with what you're talking about, which is propagation loss. A patent lawyer who made that mistake while writing a patent...

Have a you read any patents? They're complicated.

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7171043.html

If I was the engineer explaining that technology to a lawyer, I'd kill myself if I had to explain terms like "states" and "vector" and "coefficients".

foodizgood

Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:16 pm

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

rayiner wrote:
foodizgood wrote: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.

Thanks for proving my point. A Markov model is a way to predict the parameters of some statistical system when given just the outputs of that system. It has nothing to do with what you're talking about, which is propagation loss. A patent lawyer who made that mistake while writing a patent...

Have a you read any patents? They're complicated.

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7171043.html

If I was the engineer explaining that technology to a lawyer, I'd kill myself if I had to explain terms like "states" and "vector" and "coefficients".

ok. you win =)

although i don't think the reading required to clarify that would be a daunting task to any lawyer, and if i were writing a patent or interpreting a patent, i certainly wouldn't leave any of that to assumption. I'm not an EE background, but if I could get work on that patent, I would take it and ensure the quality of my work by doing some extra research. People do a little extra legwork for the job. Just like in industry, you don't expect to have learned everything you needed coming out of school....
Last edited by foodizgood on Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rayiner

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Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

snotrocket's assertion that you need a PhD + publications or an MS + publications + work seems completely contrary to any information I've seen on the subject, and all the advice I've seen on the intelproplaw forum.

dresq

Posts: 154
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:05 pm

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

sanpiero wrote:... do I, as a finance grad, have any shot at IP law?

Yes, but you will not be able to prosecute patents without some additional technical training.

rayiner

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Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

foodizgood wrote:although i don't think the reading required to clarify that would be a daunting task to any lawyer, and if i were writing a patent or interpreting a patent, i certainly wouldn't leave any of that to assumption. I'm not an EE background, but if I could get work on that patent, I would take it and ensure the quality of my work by doing some extra research. People do a little extra legwork for the job. Just like in industry, you don't expect to have learned everything you needed coming out of school....

I agree that you don't need to know everything out of the gate, but you need to be able to learn quickly. As a CS major, you already know what states and state transitions, are, what vectors and matrices are. You've almost certainly taken a probability class and you're used to modeling physical systems in mathematical terms. Just by reading the wikipedia page for "markov model", you can easily figure out what you need to know. Someone who doesn't have this background will take far, far, longer to come up to speed.

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simmersiz

Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:35 pm

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

rayiner wrote:snotrocket's assertion that you need a PhD + publications or an MS + publications + work seems completely contrary to any information I've seen on the subject, and all the advice I've seen on the intelproplaw forum.

Yeah, I haven't heard that either. I do know for certain areas in IP grad work is important, but I don't think you need it for all of them. To the OP: you won't be able to do IP work with patents without an appropriate bachelors. I don't know if you could do stuff with copyrights, etc. but it seems like you should probably go another route.

dresq

Posts: 154
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:05 pm

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

dresq wrote:
sanpiero wrote:... do I, as a finance grad, have any shot at IP law?

Yes, but you will not be able to prosecute patents without some additional technical training.

Again, to reiterate the correct answer, you can do anything but prosecute patents. During an IP presentation by Chris Sprigman at the UVA ASD last weekend someone asked the exact same question, and that was the gist of his response. Do not listen to the idiots saying otherwise, because they do not know what they are talking about.

CE2JD

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Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:33 pm

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

While it is true that there are perhaps 10x more non-technical IP jobs than technical ones, there are about 100x more lawyers trying to compete for the "non-technical" IP jobs than lawyers who are qualified for the "technical" IP jobs.

Translation: non-technical IP jobs = LESS job security, LOWER pay, and LOWER mobility than technical IP jobs.

patentlaw

Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:29 am

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

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.

There is no "Michigan" patent bar. There's one patent bar and it has the same requirements no matter where you take it.

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Leeroy Jenkins

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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

snotrocket wrote:
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).

So the guy without the required technical background goes out and gets the required technical background, thus rendering your entire argument moot, because you assumed that one couldn't change his status, which is exactly what one would do in that situation if they really wanted to be a patent lawyer.

patentlaw

Posts: 62
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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

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?

You'd be way off if you didn't think the patent prosecutors understood the technology. I've prosecuted patents for a couple years, there's no way I would draft a patent where I didn't (or couldn't easily) understand the underlying technology. One small screw-up characterizing something could sink the whole thing. Firms would be idiotic to not match up prosecutors carefully with the technology.

awesomepossum

Posts: 911
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 12:49 am

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

I think snotrocket is partially right. I'm also an engineer and have gone to a lot of these IP career thingies.

I've heard that in some areas which are more the sciences (chem or bio for example), you tend to need PhDs. In some of the engineering disciples, especially EE, they tend to be happy with a BS.

simmersiz

Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:35 pm

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

awesomepossum wrote:I think snotrocket is partially right. I'm also an engineer and have gone to a lot of these IP career thingies.

I've heard that in some areas which are more the sciences (chem or bio for example), you tend to need PhDs. In some of the engineering disciples, especially EE, they tend to be happy with a BS.

I had always heard exactly this. I have a BS in EE and plan to do IP.

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slashtom

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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

You definitely can get a certificate in Intellectual Property, the problem is Biglaw firms won't hire you.

At least that is what I gathered from looking at Biglaw lists, most 9/10 IP concentrations in big firms have a science undergrad degree. It makes sense, why not?

I'd highly advise you not to do it, if you want to work in big law.

whyamidoingthis

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Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:31 am

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

dresq wrote:
dresq wrote:
sanpiero wrote:... do I, as a finance grad, have any shot at IP law?

Yes, but you will not be able to prosecute patents without some additional technical training.

Again, to reiterate the correct answer, you can do anything but prosecute patents. During an IP presentation by Chris Sprigman at the UVA ASD last weekend someone asked the exact same question, and that was the gist of his response. Do not listen to the idiots saying otherwise, because they do not know what they are talking about.

To elaborate on the patent prosecution thing (and ONLY patent prosecution), you can't even sit for the US (yes, there is only ONE) Patent Bar without a BA/BS in a science or engineering discipline OR fulfilling an hours requirement of science/engineering classes. The requirements are on the USPTO website. My former BigLaw firm informally required PhD for any molecular bio-related stuff. Anything to do with engineering was more like a BS or MS.

There are many areas/aspects of IP outside patent prosecution. You can go answer infringement complaints working in-house at a social networking site for all anyone cares. No one will require a science background for that. Trademark, copyright, etc--all are open to you in various capacities.

How many times do we have to go over this IP nonsense? Search the boards people, this question has been asked SO many times and I know that because I'm dumb enough to keep answering.

rondemarino

Posts: 529
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:29 am

### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

snotrocket wrote:
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).

Wow. This seems overly pessimistic. I have no knowledge of the market outside SoCal, but no one is firing and more than a few are hiring.

- Technology Specialist w/o Ph.D

Mulliganstew

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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

I've talked to multiple IP professors and they have all said the only thing you can't do is sit for the patent bar/prosecute patents. There's plenty of work for copyright/trademark lawyers.

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A'nold

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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

This thread is funny. Isn't the point of going into this kind of field the fact that you have a specialization that is very sought after, even though the work is very boring and killself like? It's like op heard "IP law is where da money's at" and decided that's what he wanted to do.

rayiner

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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

A'nold wrote:This thread is funny. Isn't the point of going into this kind of field the fact that you have a specialization that is very sought after, even though the work is very boring and killself like? It's like op heard "IP law is where da money's at" and decided that's what he wanted to do.

I don't think the work is very boring at all. You know what's boring? Finance. I had lunch with a couple of finance people the other day, and while they were very nice people, my god they're boring. Blah blah mortgages blah blah interest blah blah blah!

Leeroy Jenkins

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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

rayiner wrote:I don't think the work is very boring at all. You know what's boring? Finance. I had lunch with a couple of finance people the other day, and while they were very nice people, my god they're boring. Blah blah mortgages blah blah interest blah blah blah!

You know what I think is boring? This thread

rondemarino

Posts: 529
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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

A'nold wrote:This thread is funny. Isn't the point of going into this kind of field the fact that you have a specialization that is very sought after, even though the work is very boring and killself like? It's like op heard "IP law is where da money's at" and decided that's what he wanted to do.

There's that, or maybe the schools OP has any shot of getting into happen to have well regarded specialty programs in IP. Its like the kids who go to crappy UGs and brag about going to the #3 school for proctology in the U.S. Its not clear to me why anyone pays attention to specialty rankings, but they exist.

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CE2JD

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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

LOLWAT?

DavidYurman85

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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

My g/f is a patent attorney with an EE degree and she says that most IP groups want to recruit people with a strong technical background, especially in this economy. Even folks with "soft science" backgrounds such as bio or chem are not as versatile. Though, it is possible to do IP litigation w/o an engineering background and this often falls under soft IP, ie: copyright/trademark. It also depends on the firm and their client base. In her case, the firm prefers only to hire those with a hardcore engineering background because they do a lot of patent prosecution--especially when litigation is slow. And to OP, she went to GWU, FWIW.

CE2JD

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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Getting a job in IP Litigation is just as competitive as getting a job in any other type of litigation.

Also, from my years of research and work in the tech industry, having talked with many IP attorneys in my previous employer's IP department, I can tell you that copyright / trademark work is almost exclusively done by people with technical degrees in firms that specialize in all types of IP work. I've never even heard of a lawyer that ONLY does copyright work.

I think it's pretty safe to say that the job security and "highly sought after" aspects of IP work can only be attributed to work that requires a hard science background. You won't find anyone with experience in the field that disagrees with me on this point.

SabermetricFan

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### Re: IP Law, Non-Science Background

Great thread, I am in the same boat. I don't have a BS in a science but I plan on working on it while getting my JD during those 3 years or shortly after. I've read patent litigation and I love it. I find it the exact opposite of boring.

My desire to practice IP law and especially patents is because I want to protect people's minds.

My question is how well would a BS in Physics or Engineering Physics help in the patent field? I'm asking specifically about these because after looking at the BS list to sit for the Patent exam, this would be my most enjoyable area to get into. I have always done extremely well in physics courses and the math comes naturally to me. I don't know how different engineering physics would be but I feel at this point that'd be the best science for me to get a degree in instead of starting from complete scratch in EE or ME or whatever. Basically, is the demand for a background in physics average, low or high in the patent litigation field?

Thanks for any feedback.

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