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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby lawschool99 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:35 pm

Thank you everyone so much for your replies.

To give you a bit more context, I have a computer science degree from a top engineering school in the US. I also hold a double major in business but I'm aware that may not be as relevant for patent attorney jobs.

I'm currently working in a well-known technology company in the data science/analytics side. After recently graduating from university, I considered working as a patent agent or going into industry and ended up choosing the latter because it was something I really wanted to experience before potentially heading back to school (law school). I will be applying this year in the 2018-2019 cycle most likely as a GRE-only candidate.

I am very interested in working in IP/patent law. If I am fortunate to receive admission, I would have just over 1.5 years of full time industry experience (excluding internships) before heading to law school. Does this sound like a good plan?

As a side note, my university's CS program is not ABET accredited, so I would need to take an extra science course at a CC/nearby university to fulfill the requirements to sit for the patent bar with relevant engineering courses + 8 units of science courses. I expect to sit and take this exam much before graduating from law school, maybe as early as next year.

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby QContinuum » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:14 pm

lawschool99 wrote:I will be applying this year in the 2018-2019 cycle most likely as a GRE-only candidate.


Why? Do you already have a gangbusters GRE score? The LSAT is still the better test to take at this point, as many law schools don't accept the GRE, and even at those who do accept it, it's unclear how they consider/weigh the score.

lawschool99 wrote:As a side note, my university's CS program is not ABET accredited, so I would need to take an extra science course at a CC/nearby university to fulfill the requirements to sit for the patent bar with relevant engineering courses + 8 units of science courses. I expect to sit and take this exam much before graduating from law school, maybe as early as next year.


Definitely qualify for (and pass) the patent bar.

lawschool99

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby lawschool99 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:53 pm

Why? Do you already have a gangbusters GRE score? The LSAT is still the better test to take at this point, as many law schools don't accept the GRE, and even at those who do accept it, it's unclear how they consider/weigh the score.


I do currently have a somewhat high GRE score, but I was definitely going to retake in the next month or so for a higher score. The biggest problem for me was that the June and July LSAT tests were administered on Mondays and it was not easy to commit to these tests due to my full time work schedule/unexpected things that come up from work. Also, I had limited time studying for the LSAT, which I'm aware may be the case for everyone and not necessarily a valid excuse. And since my ugrad GPA is not as strong as conventional law school applicants (harsher GPA curves for computer science), I also felt that I should score the highest score as possible on either the LSAT or GRE to maximize my chances at a top law school, and I decided I would have a better chance at the GRE.

I agree with you that there is not much data yet for GRE and it might not be as "safe" as using a LSAT score. I am content with the current list of schools taking the GRE and due to being comfortable with quantitative material, I also considered using a GRE score. I also heard that another reason for law schools taking GRE was to attract STEM majors, which also added to my decision process.

My thought process may have been incorrect at some point but those were few thoughts I had before deciding to be a GRE-only applicant. Please let me know if there is anything problematic.

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby QContinuum » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:09 pm

lawschool99 wrote:I do currently have a somewhat high GRE score, but I was definitely going to retake in the next month or so for a higher score. The biggest problem for me was that the June and July LSAT tests were administered on Mondays and it was not easy to commit to these tests due to my full time work schedule/unexpected things that come up from work. Also, I had limited time studying for the LSAT, which I'm aware may be the case for everyone and not necessarily a valid excuse. And since my ugrad GPA is not as strong as conventional law school applicants (harsher GPA curves for computer science), I also felt that I should score the highest score as possible on either the LSAT or GRE to maximize my chances at a top law school, and I decided I would have a better chance at the GRE.

I agree with you that there is not much data yet for GRE and it might not be as "safe" as using a LSAT score. I am content with the current list of schools taking the GRE and due to being comfortable with quantitative material, I also considered using a GRE score. I also heard that another reason for law schools taking GRE was to attract STEM majors, which also added to my decision process.

My thought process may have been incorrect at some point but those were few thoughts I had before deciding to be a GRE-only applicant. Please let me know if there is anything problematic.


IMO in your situation the LSAT may be even more advantageous than for the "average applicant." For rankings purposes, law schools must report matriculants' college GPA and LSAT (but not GRE). Thus, law schools prefer to take folks with high GPA & LSAT, and failing that, they like to take folks with at least one of a high GPA or a high LSAT. GRE scores don't help or hurt law schools in the rankings game.

So, for example, it might be advantageous for someone with a high GPA but a poor track record on LSAT practice exams to take the GRE instead. Even if s/he also did poorly on the GRE, law schools might care less about a bad GRE (which they wouldn't have to report) than a bad LSAT (which would negatively impact their stats). But you're in the reverse situation, and could really use a boost from a high LSAT score to make you a more attractive candidate.

lawschool99

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby lawschool99 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:29 pm

GRE scores don't help or hurt law schools in the rankings game.


Thanks for the insight. I actually did think about this as well, but I thought the new US News rankings do factor in GRE scores alongside LSAT scores? I do agree with you though about the high GPA + GRE combination.

Link: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-g ... ethodology

On a different note, it says UC Berkeley was one of the schools that reported GRE scores in 2017. How would this be the case because I'm aware that UCB law does not take GRE in lieu of LSAT. Would this data be from LLM?

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby QContinuum » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:43 pm

lawschool99 wrote:I actually did think about this as well, but I thought the new US News rankings do factor in GRE scores alongside LSAT scores? I do agree with you though about the high GPA + GRE combination.

Link: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-g ... ethodology

On a different note, it says UC Berkeley was one of the schools that reported GRE scores in 2017. How would this be the case because I'm aware that UCB law does not take GRE in lieu of LSAT. Would this data be from LLM?


Looks like US News can factor in GRE scores, but only if schools "opt in" by submitting GRE data. Apparently only Arizona, Berkeley and South Dakota did so last year, meaning that the vast majority of schools that accept the GRE have (at least as of last year) refrained from submitting their GRE data to US News (probably out of fear that doing so would hurt their ranking). Thus, those schools would still value a high LSAT score over a GRE score.

(I'm not sure where Berkeley's GRE data is coming from, but it may be from joint degree applicants who submitted GRE scores required by their graduate department.)

lawschool99

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby lawschool99 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:50 am

Do you think that being a GRE-only candidate may be more negative for my situation for ideally a top law school?

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby QContinuum » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:06 pm

lawschool99 wrote:Do you think that being a GRE-only candidate may be more negative for my situation for ideally a top law school?


I'm not (and have never been) on any adcom, so I really don't have any inside knowledge. Again, my general advice to all applicants (except for maybe someone with a superb uGPA and a bad track record on LSAT practice exams, as mentioned above) is to take the LSAT. Based on the very limited GRE data we have on LSN, I believe the GRE-only folks who've successfully gotten into top schools have had both a high GRE score and a high uGPA. There isn't enough public data to enable us to definitively determine how top schools consider "splitters" with a high GRE/low uGPA.

All that said, if you really think you can do much better on the GRE than the LSAT, then it might not be a bad idea to go with the GRE. (Although I'll note that the LSAT is a very "learnable" test, much more so than the GRE. So a weak GRE practice test record may be harder to overcome than a weak LSAT practice test record.)

Best of luck!

lawschool99

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby lawschool99 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:29 pm

Is there a way to search for GRE-only candidates on LSN? All I can see is to search by GPA/LSAT.

lawschool99

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby lawschool99 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:17 pm

I would also really appreciate if I can receive any more feedback/advice on my current career trajectory (leading to law school and ultimately wanting to get into patent law in EE/CS) and application strategy. For reference, my current LSAC GPA is just below 3.6.

lawschool99

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Re: Masters for Patent Law

Postby lawschool99 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:22 pm

Based on everyone's inputs, I'm also guessing that you guys would not recommend a JD/MS joint degree? (based on the extra time+money vs. benefit)



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