Masters for Patent Law

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lawschool99

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Masters for Patent Law

Postby lawschool99 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:23 pm

I currently hold an undergrad degree in computer science and am very interested in pursuing a career in patent law. I was wondering what others thought about the need of having a masters (MS - master of science/ME - master of engineering) for a career in patent law. Would it be preferable to have a masters in computer science if I see myself becoming a patent attorney in the CS field?

If so, would it be preferable to have a master of science or master of engineering? Or would the difference be negligible?

Thank you in advance.

Staddle

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby Staddle » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:16 pm

A Masters in CS or Engineering is unlikely to help much. It may help very slightly if you are interested in patent prosecution or patent opinion work. In my opinion, it will not help at all for landing a patent litigation position. The only reason to do it is if you can get a Masters from a significantly better school than your undergrad school.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby totesTheGoat » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:27 pm

Go spend the same amount of time and effort in industry, it'll be more useful. I wouldn't even do it for the prestige whoring thing. If you have your USPTO reg number, nobody cares where you went to school.

sparkytrainer

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby sparkytrainer » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:56 pm

Staddle wrote:A Masters in CS or Engineering is unlikely to help much. It may help very slightly if you are interested in patent prosecution or patent opinion work. In my opinion, it will not help at all for landing a patent litigation position. The only reason to do it is if you can get a Masters from a significantly better school than your undergrad school.


You are a 0L. Go away, you have no legitimate opinion for employment outcomes as you are not a patent attorney.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby totesTheGoat » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:05 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:
Staddle wrote:A Masters in CS or Engineering is unlikely to help much. It may help very slightly if you are interested in patent prosecution or patent opinion work. In my opinion, it will not help at all for landing a patent litigation position. The only reason to do it is if you can get a Masters from a significantly better school than your undergrad school.


You are a 0L. Go away, you have no legitimate opinion for employment outcomes as you are not a patent attorney.


Relax! We're trying to let some of the asshole vibe waft out of this forum. 0L or not, Staddle was mostly correct. However, I completely agree that 0Ls should think twice before posting authoritatively about a topic they have no experience in.

Staddle

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby Staddle » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:45 pm

First rule of being a lawyer: don’t assume. The fact that I asked for advice for a law student doesn’t mean I am that law student. I earned an engineering degree at a top engineering school and then a T-14 law school more than 30 years ago. I have spent my entire career in Biglaw. I try major patent infringement cases, and teach as an adjunct at a T25 law school.

sparkytrainer

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby sparkytrainer » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:51 pm

Staddle wrote:First rule of being a lawyer: don’t assume. The fact that I asked for advice for a law student doesn’t mean I am that law student. I earned an engineering degree at a top engineering school and then a T-14 law school more than 30 years ago. I have spent my entire career in Biglaw. I try major patent infringement cases, and teach as an adjunct at a T25 law school.


If you were a biglaw partner then, you would know FSU and UF dont place outside of FL at all.

Staddle

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby Staddle » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:01 pm

It is indeed an uphill battle. That is why I was seeking advice on the relative merits of the two schools.

Staddle

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby Staddle » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:44 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:Go spend the same amount of time and effort in industry, it'll be more useful. I wouldn't even do it for the prestige whoring thing. If you have your USPTO reg number, nobody cares where you went to school.

A couple thoughts: a reg number is necessary if you are going to do prosecution or opinion work. It is not necessary to do litigation, including contested proceedings at the Patent Office such as IPRs and PGRs (because the Patent Office will grant pro hac vice status to lawyers without reg numbers). Even with a reg number, competitive Biglaw firms will still care very much where you went to law school and how you did. They will be less interested in where you went to undergrad but it is not irrelevant. I think industry experience is a worthwhile strategy only if you want to do prosecution or opinion work. I do not think it will be given commensurate weight if you want to do litigation.

JosefK

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby JosefK » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:35 pm

The masters probably won't matter much for litigation where your law school degree matters more. It also likely won't matter much for prosecution. Candidly CS patent apps just don't require that much specialty technical knowledge above a bachelors and everyone knows it, so the masters won't move the needle much. If you specialize in machine learning or something interesting in your masters and it's at a good school I could actually see it helping a decent amount for prosecution though.

I do want to refute the bit above about not needing a reg number for PTAB work. As an academic matter yes, you can be granted pro hac vice. But as a practical matter, it is unlikely you'll do much PTAB work if you aren't patent bar eligible in BigLaw lit. Clients like to see reg. numbers as a measure of minimum competency considering the rates they pay, and that honestly seems perfectly reasonable to me. OP is patent bar eligible though so that's all sort of irrelevant, just take the patent bar when you're at your firm job down the road if needed.

I'll put in a plug for being a technical advisor/patent agent here too - a number of firms, both big and midlaw, have programs where you work for a couple years, they train you, they pay for your school (mostly night, although some firms allow for day school), and then you become an associate. It's not a bad way to go to figure out if you actually like the work and in many cases have a job already lined up.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:13 am

Staddle wrote:
totesTheGoat wrote:Go spend the same amount of time and effort in industry, it'll be more useful. I wouldn't even do it for the prestige whoring thing. If you have your USPTO reg number, nobody cares where you went to school.

A couple thoughts: a reg number is necessary if you are going to do prosecution or opinion work. It is not necessary to do litigation, including contested proceedings at the Patent Office such as IPRs and PGRs (because the Patent Office will grant pro hac vice status to lawyers without reg numbers).


A reg number is a bonus for litigation as well. Certainly not required, but definitely a benefit. I recommend that all IP interested 0Ls and law students get their reg number and at least get some basic prep and pros experience during school. Those skills and the understanding that comes with them makes for a better patent litigator.

Even with a reg number, competitive Biglaw firms will still care very much where you went to law school and how you did.


Yup. I should've been more clear in my first post. Law school matters, but undergrad school doesn't really matter. I've used it as the deciding factor for a 50/50 decision once, where I was really trying to mentally justify dropping an applicant who had a bad interview.

They will be less interested in where you went to undergrad but it is not irrelevant. I think industry experience is a worthwhile strategy only if you want to do prosecution or opinion work. I do not think it will be given commensurate weight if you want to do litigation.


In my experience from the in-house side, practical experience is more desirable than a masters degree in the EE/CS area because it's more rare. I've never really been in an interview situation where the prestige of the masters degree even made it on our radar, but I don't interview for lit positions.



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