IP Career Without Science Background?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.

IP career possible without hard science background?

Yes
13
33%
No
12
31%
Maybe
14
36%
 
Total votes: 39

User avatar
phoenix323
Posts: 348
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:01 am

IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby phoenix323 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:37 pm

I am interested in IP litigation, but I am wondering if not having a science background will make this career path impossible. I was an English major in UG and did not take any extensive science courses. I've heard some people say that it is possible to have a career in IP without hard science (excluding patents), but is this realistic, especially ITE?

Any thoughts?

TIA!
Last edited by phoenix323 on Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
merichard87
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:44 pm

You are certainly eligible to work in trademarks and copyrights but I think actually breaking into the market would be a matter of what school you go to, what opportunities that school offers and how well you can sell yourself and your qualifications. Nothing is impossible even ITE.

User avatar
phoenix323
Posts: 348
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:01 am

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby phoenix323 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:49 pm

merichard87 wrote:You are certainly eligible to work in trademarks and copyrights but I think actually breaking into the market would be a matter of what school you go to, what opportunities that school offers and how well you can sell yourself and your qualifications. Nothing is impossible even ITE.



Thanks! I am most likely going to a school that is known for IP, so I hope that gives me a fighting chance!

icydash
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:49 pm

It's definitely not impossible. That being said, however, typically the firms that will do IP litigation are going to be larger in size, and more than likely they will look for that science background on your resume.

It depends on a lot of factors, but I would imagine it would be tough to be a successful IP litigator when you can't understand a lot of the principles that may be at issue.

User avatar
merichard87
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:56 pm

Honestly I would tell you to go to the best school you get into and not necessarily the best IP school. (unless you have some sort of monstrous scholarship or we are talking about the difference between Yale and Santa Clara)

Flanker1067
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:47 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Flanker1067 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:02 pm

Correct me if I am wrong (I are the 0L!) but isn't IP law, outside of patent law, things like trademarks and copyrights? How would that stuff require a science background?

icydash
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:04 pm

Flanker1067 wrote:Correct me if I am wrong (I are the 0L!) but isn't IP law, outside of patent law, things like trademarks and copyrights? How would that stuff require a science background?

You are correct, and it does not.

The real money (when talking about litigation) is in patents typically, though.
Last edited by icydash on Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

icydash
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:05 pm

Flanker1067 wrote:Correct me if I am wrong (I are the 0L!) but isn't IP law, outside of patent law, things like trademarks and copyrights? How would that stuff require a science background?

You are correct, and it does not.

The real money (when talking about litigation) is in patents typically, though.

icydash
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:05 pm

Weird double post?

User avatar
phoenix323
Posts: 348
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:01 am

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby phoenix323 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:05 pm

Flanker1067 wrote:Correct me if I am wrong (I are the 0L!) but isn't IP law, outside of patent law, things like trademarks and copyrights? How would that stuff require a science background?


I also was under the assumption that trademarks and copyright were the two prominent areas besides patents, so I think that the non-science background might be less of an issue, but it seems like generally breaking into the field might be harder without one.

icydash
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:07 pm

phoenix323 wrote:
Flanker1067 wrote:Correct me if I am wrong (I are the 0L!) but isn't IP law, outside of patent law, things like trademarks and copyrights? How would that stuff require a science background?


I also was under the assumption that trademarks and copyright were the two prominent areas besides patents, so I think that the non-science background might be less of an issue, but it seems like generally breaking into the field might be harder without one.

This is the impression I get. Why would some firm want to hire someone with no science background who can only do trademarks and copyrights, when they can hire someone with a science background who can do all of IP law, including prosecution?

Flanker1067
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:47 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Flanker1067 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:10 pm

phoenix323 wrote:
Flanker1067 wrote:Correct me if I am wrong (I are the 0L!) but isn't IP law, outside of patent law, things like trademarks and copyrights? How would that stuff require a science background?


I also was under the assumption that trademarks and copyright were the two prominent areas besides patents, so I think that the non-science background might be less of an issue, but it seems like generally breaking into the field might be harder without one.


Ok, well again, I don't really know anything, but it would make no sense for T and C firms to only hire people with science degrees. That's not saying that it isn't true, just makes no sense. If anything they might want finance or accounting people, since putting a value on trademarks and copyrights is one of those made up business "skills" they taught us.
Last edited by Flanker1067 on Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Flanker1067
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:47 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Flanker1067 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:11 pm

Good timing Icy.

Leeroy Jenkins
Posts: 1003
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:19 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:11 pm

icydash wrote:This is the impression I get. Why would some firm want to hire someone with no science background who can only do trademarks and copyrights, when they can hire someone with a science background who can do all of IP law, including prosecution?

Because prosecution and litigation require completely different skill sets? IP litigation is sort of like regular litigation, only the context of IP law. IP prosecution is repeatedly butting heads with some government lifer who doesn't care about anything except how much OT he can get away with billing.

User avatar
DavidYurman85
Posts: 242
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:55 am

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby DavidYurman85 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:14 pm

For Trademarks & Copyrights, no. Anything else it will be very dificult - especially for patent prosecution which typically sees an increase during a recession. A lot of companies ask for the science/engineering backgrounds of the attorneys assigned to their work and many of them are even picky ie: bio-tech vs. ee vs. mech. e vs. civil, etc... Of course it depends on the kind of IP work that your firm handles but I know the above is often the case when dealing with major tech firms.

edit: clarity
Last edited by DavidYurman85 on Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
merichard87
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:14 pm

I don't think firms specifically set out to only hire science backgrounds for T&C but since they are smaller practice areas for a lot of big firms I think they hire lawyers who can handle all of IP instead of just a specific part.

User avatar
phoenix323
Posts: 348
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:01 am

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby phoenix323 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:19 pm

merichard87 wrote:I don't think firms specifically set out to only hire science backgrounds for T&C but since they are smaller practice areas for a lot of big firms I think they hire lawyers who can handle all of IP instead of just a specific part.


That makes sense. All of these responses have been very helpful so far.

icydash
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:19 pm

Haha yep good timing flanker! we should just talk on AIM or something instead of posting over each other haha.
Flanker1067 wrote:Ok, well again, I don't really know anything, but it would make no sense for T and C firms to only hire people with science degrees. That's not saying that it isn't true, just makes no sense. If anything they might want finance or accounting people, since putting a value on trademarks and copyrights is one of those made up business "skills" they taught us.

As far as I know, there are no T and C firms. There are IP firms...period. There aren't many firms that "specialize in trademark and copyright law" and don't do patents...Typically (that I know of) firms specialize in intellectual property law, and do it all...and want attorneys who can do it all, too.

Leeroy Jenkins wrote:Because prosecution and litigation require completely different skill sets? IP litigation is sort of like regular litigation, only the context of IP law. IP prosecution is repeatedly butting heads with some government lifer who doesn't care about anything except how much OT he can get away with billing.

Right, but we weren't talking about litigation, we were talking about why IP firms tend to hire people with hard science backgrounds over those without. And the answer is that people with hard science backgrounds can do all kinds of IP, where as those without hard science backgrounds can not. Why would a firm have to pay two people (one to do patents, and one to do trademarks and copyrights) when they can just pay one?

User avatar
merichard87
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:26 pm

icydash wrote:Haha yep good timing flanker! we should just talk on AIM or something instead of posting over each other haha.
Flanker1067 wrote:Ok, well again, I don't really know anything, but it would make no sense for T and C firms to only hire people with science degrees. That's not saying that it isn't true, just makes no sense. If anything they might want finance or accounting people, since putting a value on trademarks and copyrights is one of those made up business "skills" they taught us.

As far as I know, there are no T and C firms. There are IP firms...period. There aren't many firms that "specialize in trademark and copyright law" and don't do patents...Typically (that I know of) firms specialize in intellectual property law, and do it all...and want attorneys who can do it all, too.

Leeroy Jenkins wrote:Because prosecution and litigation require completely different skill sets? IP litigation is sort of like regular litigation, only the context of IP law. IP prosecution is repeatedly butting heads with some government lifer who doesn't care about anything except how much OT he can get away with billing.
Right, but we weren't talking about litigation, we were talking about why IP firms tend to hire people with hard science backgrounds over those without. And the answer is that people with hard science backgrounds can do all kinds of IP, where as those without hard science backgrounds can not. Why would a firm have to pay two people (one to do patents, and one to do trademarks and copyrights) when they can just pay one?


Someone gives icydash a sticker.

P.S. Dear God I hope one of my professors gives me a sticker in law school.

icydash
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:53 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:28 pm

Yay a sticker! =)

Leeroy Jenkins
Posts: 1003
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:19 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:40 pm

icydash wrote:Right, but we weren't talking about litigation, we were talking about why IP firms tend to hire people with hard science backgrounds over those without. And the answer is that people with hard science backgrounds can do all kinds of IP, where as those without hard science backgrounds can not. Why would a firm have to pay two people (one to do patents, and one to do trademarks and copyrights) when they can just pay one?

On the contrary, why would a firm hire one person to do everything poorly instead of hiring two people to do two different things well? Most law firms that aren't 10-person sweatshops can afford to, and will profit by, specializing their attorneys.

User avatar
phoenix323
Posts: 348
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:01 am

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby phoenix323 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:43 pm

Oops! I just realized I put this in the wrong forum. Does anyone know how to move it to the correct forum, or can only a mod do that?

270910
Posts: 2437
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:51 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby 270910 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:46 pm

phoenix323 wrote:Oops! I just realized I put this in the wrong forum. Does anyone know how to move it to the correct forum, or can only a mod do that?


Yeah, wouldn't want this question about legal employment to be in the legal employment forum. That would be crazy

For the record, IP w/o a solid tech background probably isn't happening. If you really want to do it, talk to experts, attorneys, and career services officers - not us. The only field you will be explicitly barred from is patent prosecution which requires passing the patent bar which requires specific credentials to take it.

User avatar
stratocophic
Posts: 2207
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:24 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby stratocophic » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:47 pm

Leeroy Jenkins wrote:
icydash wrote:Right, but we weren't talking about litigation, we were talking about why IP firms tend to hire people with hard science backgrounds over those without. And the answer is that people with hard science backgrounds can do all kinds of IP, where as those without hard science backgrounds can not. Why would a firm have to pay two people (one to do patents, and one to do trademarks and copyrights) when they can just pay one?

On the contrary, why would a firm hire one person to do everything poorly instead of hiring two people to do two different things well? Most law firms that aren't 10-person sweatshops can afford to, and will profit by, specializing their attorneys.
Wouldn't that be firm-specific? If there are a limited number of patent projects at a hypothetical firm, why not let associates do those while filling in the gaps with the rest of the IP work available or vice versa? Assuming that having expertise in one field precludes the ability to produce well or even competently in another may reach beyond the limits of the usefulness of specialization.

User avatar
merichard87
Posts: 751
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:31 pm

Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:50 pm

There were a lot of words in that last sentence that I don't care to spend time focusing on but I think it says just cuz you're really good at soccer doesnt mean you cant be good at basketball too. Am I right?




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.