Intellectual Property question

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koehn2
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Intellectual Property question

Postby koehn2 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:23 pm

Can you become an intellectual property lawyer with out a background in the hard sciences? I really am interested in IP, but don't want to make a decision on a school because of their IP program and then not even be able to practice IP?

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GordonBombay
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby GordonBombay » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:29 pm

I'm in the same boat. I believe you can. However, you are at a big disadvantage. Less so with "soft IP" such as trademarks and copyrights

koehn2
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby koehn2 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:33 pm

You're probably right. I got accepted in to an intellectual property fellowship program so I am not sure if that would help or wouldn't matter. However, that would be a major reason for picking this particular school and I don't want to jump in without knowing the chances of jobs after graduation in this field.

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merichard87
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby merichard87 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:39 pm

It would depend on what aspect of IP you would like to enter. With patents you would need a background in the hard sciences and the general statement is that with an engineering undergrad you should be ok but with biology or chemistry you would need advanced degrees. For trademarks and copyrights you dont necessarily need a background in the sciences but I think many employers still look for it. The way to get around a hard science degree for patent would probably be to become a patent agent because you can qualify for the exam with a certain amount of science classes. Check out the US Patent and Trademark Office website. HTH.

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quickquestionthanks
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby quickquestionthanks » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:38 pm

To sit for the patent bar, you need a BA or MA degree in some physical science OR a certain number of credits in different fields of science. The list is available at the USPTO, but if you didn't study science in college I doubt you'll qualify. It's like 32 credit hours, which is basically a full year of courses.

You only need to pass the patent bar to engage in patent prosecution. You don't need to pass the patent bar to write patents or to do patent litigation. Also, I have a friend who does not have a science background but still got hired for TM and copyright at biglaw.

Patent prosecution:
The USPTO typically rejects most patent claims initially and gives some reason. The lawyer then writes a response to the office. The USPTO then writes their response (often rejection). And back and forth. I've heard it takes about 3-4 rounds. That process must be done by someone who passed the patent bar.

Now, in terms of hiring, why would a patent firm hire someone who couldn't engage in all aspects of the process? If you have ties to firm already, perhaps they'll hire you just for litigation. One reason I'm interested in patent law is that I want to be able to write my own patents. I filed a claim in college and should hear my first USPTO response in May-June. FYI, that was 4 years ago. Meanwhile, I can be taking those science classes at night and be able to prosecute patents by the time I get my first response.

That's another thing, the patent system is broken. If the system doesn't change dramatically in the next 20 years, I'd be shocked.

koehn2
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby koehn2 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:25 pm

I understand what you are saying, but I guess my question was really excluding patents all together because I know that I would not be able to sit for the patent bar. Is there IP jobs out there that don't deal with patents? Is that common or typical or are most firms hiring IP lawyers doing so with the expectation of dealing with patent litigation? I have been contemplating Sports and Entertainment, which could deal with IP areas but I wasn't sure if there were other areas where having IP background would be needed?

thistimereborn
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby thistimereborn » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:26 pm

There is a ton of stuff that you can do in IP without a science degree. The only thing you wouldn't be able to do is in the realm of patents.

Trademark, copyright, licensing, etc.

dreman510
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby dreman510 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:41 pm

Copyrights and Trademarks do not require any sort of science background-but they are very small, competitive fields to break into.
Patent litigation does not require any science background as well, but it is usually a pre-requisite, since 1) firms feel you can better understand the subject matter, 2) it is just another thing that they can sell to clients. However, many patent litigators, while possessing a science degree and patent bar eligibility, never actually end up taking the patent bar.
For patent prosecution-a science background is required (BA is sufficient).

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quickquestionthanks
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby quickquestionthanks » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:58 pm

koehn2 wrote:I understand what you are saying, but I guess my question was really excluding patents all together because I know that I would not be able to sit for the patent bar. Is there IP jobs out there that don't deal with patents? Is that common or typical or are most firms hiring IP lawyers doing so with the expectation of dealing with patent litigation? I have been contemplating Sports and Entertainment, which could deal with IP areas but I wasn't sure if there were other areas where having IP background would be needed?



In sports and entertainment, you'd be dealing exclusively with trademark and copyright. Science background is pretty much irrelevant. As I posted above, I know someone hired at a biglaw firm for trademark/copyright work and he was a politics major. In the field of IP, you either focus on patents or copyright/trademark, but rarely both.

I recently watched an interview with a senior partner at a biglaw firm in DC and he listed four areas of growth in the legal field. Three related to the economic slump and intellectual property. That has as much if not more to do with trademark and copyright as with patent law.

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xj5
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby xj5 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:21 pm

quickquestionthanks wrote:
koehn2 wrote:I understand what you are saying, but I guess my question was really excluding patents all together because I know that I would not be able to sit for the patent bar. Is there IP jobs out there that don't deal with patents? Is that common or typical or are most firms hiring IP lawyers doing so with the expectation of dealing with patent litigation? I have been contemplating Sports and Entertainment, which could deal with IP areas but I wasn't sure if there were other areas where having IP background would be needed?



In sports and entertainment, you'd be dealing exclusively with trademark and copyright. Science background is pretty much irrelevant. As I posted above, I know someone hired at a biglaw firm for trademark/copyright work and he was a politics major. In the field of IP, you either focus on patents or copyright/trademark, but rarely both.

I recently watched an interview with a senior partner at a biglaw firm in DC and he listed four areas of growth in the legal field. Three related to the economic slump and intellectual property. That has as much if not more to do with trademark and copyright as with patent law.


so what were the other three?

imchuckbass58
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:38 pm

thistimereborn wrote:There is a ton of stuff that you can do in IP without a science degree. The only thing you wouldn't be able to do is in the realm of patents.

Trademark, copyright, licensing, etc.


This is right. The reason there's a perception that all IP people have to have science backgrounds is because patent law is much, much larger than either trademark or copyright. There are some biglaw firms that do them, but it's a much smaller field.

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lostjake
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby lostjake » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:48 pm

If you had an electrical engineering patent would you rather have someone represent you that has an EE degree and could understand the patent, or someone who barely met the qualifications for sitting on the patent bar, or someone who couldn't sit for the bar at all? This should answer the OP question.

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quickquestionthanks
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby quickquestionthanks » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:58 pm

xj5 wrote:
quickquestionthanks wrote:I recently watched an interview with a senior partner at a biglaw firm in DC and he listed four areas of growth in the legal field. Three related to the economic slump and intellectual property. That has as much if not more to do with trademark and copyright as with patent law.


so what were the other three?



I looked and looked but couldn't find the video...

I know one was bankruptcy (duh) and I think another one was corporate reorganizations.

tebow4president
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby tebow4president » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:29 am

sorry to bump but no reason for a new thread really...

how comparable would actually having my name on a patent (actuarial computer program if it matters) be to employers as someone with a technical background?

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quickquestionthanks
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Re: Intellectual Property question

Postby quickquestionthanks » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:47 am

tebow4president wrote:sorry to bump but no reason for a new thread really...

how comparable would actually having my name on a patent (actuarial computer program if it matters) be to employers as someone with a technical background?


I imagine it would be nearly irrelevant. First, it doesn't do anything for your ability to sit for the patent bar. Second, there's no guarantee that you had anything to do with the writing of the patent. You can put many names on a patent just by writing them on the form. (Not saying you didn't come up with the ideas, etc.)




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