IP Career Without Science Background?

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IP career possible without hard science background?

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

270910
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby 270910 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:50 pm

stratocophic wrote:
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.


Look, we can debate the normative question of how IP firms should run their railroads. But it doesn't matter, and you won't ever be right about the way the world works by arguing how it should work.

The people who know what they are talking about (I am not one of them) say - on this thread and elsewhere - that it is extraordinarily rare to break into IP work of any kind without technical credentials.

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phoenix323
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby phoenix323 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:52 pm

disco_barred wrote:
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.


Well, I thought it would be better to have it in the law school FAQ's or something. But maybe not.

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stratocophic
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby stratocophic » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:54 pm

disco_barred wrote:
stratocophic wrote:
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.


Look, we can debate the normative question of how IP firms should run their railroads. But it doesn't matter, and you won't ever be right about the way the world works by arguing how it should work.

The people who know what they are talking about (I am not one of them) say - on this thread and elsewhere - that it is extraordinarily rare to break into IP work of any kind without technical credentials.
Absolutely. Never gonna have max efficiency for any system, particularly in the work place. I'm not arguing the point, I'm saying (not particularly clearly, TBF) that it just makes more sense to have the person who can do patents over the one who can't in general because hey, even if you don't need it right now it may be useful in the future. I'd imagine firms have this figured out, but who knows?

tesoro
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby tesoro » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:00 pm

I once dated a girl whose father was a trademark lawyer with a history background. He told me that he absolutely loves butting heads in the courtroom with "patent lawyers" because they don't know anything about trademarks and almost always lose.

I can't get clarification anymore, because well... that bridge is burned. But we can glean a few things from this:

1) At least some history majors work in IP firms.
2) (this is more relative to the argument above, rather than OP's concern) Specialization does occur. The conversation made no reference to "IP lawyers," but rather made repeated references to the differences between a "trademark laywer" and a "patent lawyer."

My disclaimer is that this is anecdote, and as a 0L, I have no idea to what degree these specializations exist or to what degree IP firms seek out tech-only attorneys.

OP, go for it. Go to as prestigious school as possible and get the best grades possible because it won't be easy.

Simultaneously, enter law school being willing to work in another field of law without a sour taste in your mouth. Because not doing so would be the equivalent of enrolling at TTT with the intent of transferring to T14 the next year and having no expectation staying

icydash
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:07 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.

What makes you think hiring one person means they'll do everything poorly? On the contrary, there are probably a lot of people out there who can do all three well. Why pay two people 160k+ a year to do the same thing a single 160k salary can do?

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autarkh
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby autarkh » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:13 pm

This thread is relevant to my situation. I also want to do IP (including patents). I took enough hard science/CS to sit the patent bar, and I have several years of work experience in software development, but I don't have a B.S. in engineering / science. Would my choices also be limited?

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:14 pm

icydash wrote:What makes you think hiring one person means they'll do everything poorly? On the contrary, there are probably a lot of people out there who can do all three well. Why pay two people 160k+ a year to do the same thing a single 160k salary can do?

Because experience breeds familiarity and skill. That's a generalization, if you want to contest it be my guest. "A lot of people" probably can indeed do all three well; do you think such people make up the majority of IP lawyers?

-----------------------

I figured I'd bring in some objective data:
Of the ~160 firm offices at the Loyola Patent Interview Program (annual IP interview fair for 2/3L), 78 do not require applicants to be patent-bar eligible. The overwhelming majority of firms that do so are biglaw (referring to the number of attorneys employed or wide diversity of practice area).

Also, a lot of these firms also specified background areas, so I'm a little confused as how they require applicants to have a specific technical background but do not care about patent-bar eligibility...anyways I don't have the time or inclination to do a full investigation right now, so feel free to arrive at your own conclusions on the matter

Flanker1067
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Flanker1067 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:17 pm

icydash wrote:
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.

What makes you think hiring one person means they'll do everything poorly? On the contrary, there are probably a lot of people out there who can do all three well. Why pay two people 160k+ a year to do the same thing a single 160k salary can do?


Icy, no one is saying that a Patent lawyer can't do the job of a trademark lawyer well. He is only saying that where there is enough work for specialization to occur, then there is no benefit from having attorneys doing both things. I think this is what the conversation is really about. Some are saying that IP lawyers need to do a little of all IP fields, whereas others (specifically the anecdote about the girlfriend's father) is saying that there is further specialization that happens (and by virtue of it happening sort of becomes necessary). I don't know what the truth here is.

edited a little for clarity.
Last edited by Flanker1067 on Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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phoenix323
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby phoenix323 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:18 pm

tesoro wrote:OP, go for it. Go to as prestigious school as possible and get the best grades possible because it won't be easy.

Simultaneously, enter law school being willing to work in another field of law without a sour taste in your mouth. Because not doing so would be the equivalent of enrolling at TTT with the intent of transferring to T14 the next year and having no expectation staying


Thanks! I think the bolded is credited in general. And yes, I have no problem working in another field if breaking into IP proves unsuccessful. I just wanted some thoughts on it as a possibility. :D

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merichard87
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:18 pm

OK all this conjecture is making my head hurt. If you don't have a science background but you want to do IP, give it a shot. It won't hurt but you do need to be prepared to go into another area and be happy with it if IP does not work out. That is all.

lshopeful3232
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby lshopeful3232 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:24 pm

doesnt copyright law encompass things like art, literature, music? why would you need a science background to get into that field? is it unrealistic to think that one can break into IP law (specifically copyrights) unless you can do ALL IP including patents? i'm sure some firms specialize in catering to the arts and the like without necessarily dealing with patents. ami wrong here?

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merichard87
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:27 pm

I think copyrights in the arts are a totally different ballgame. But i wonder how many biglaw firms work in that area? (since alot of this post was directed at biglaw hiring practices)

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:29 pm

merichard87 wrote:I think copyrights in the arts are a totally different ballgame. But i wonder how many biglaw firms work in that area? (since alot of this post was directed at biglaw hiring practices)

The correct question to ask is how many biglaw firms does it take to successfully fellate the RIAA?

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merichard87
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby merichard87 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:33 pm

Ah Leeroy your wit is a never ending ray of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day. (read: I'm being sarcastic because I don't know wtf you are talking about) :lol:

icydash
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby icydash » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:43 pm

Leeroy Jenkins wrote:
merichard87 wrote:I think copyrights in the arts are a totally different ballgame. But i wonder how many biglaw firms work in that area? (since alot of this post was directed at biglaw hiring practices)

The correct question to ask is how many biglaw firms does it take to successfully fellate the RIAA?

Didn't know "fellate" was a word. Love it.

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phoenix323
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby phoenix323 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:05 pm

Thanks for all your input, everyone. I really appreciate it. I will definitely try and speak to some lawyers in the field to get their perspective on the matter too.

lshopeful3232
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby lshopeful3232 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:37 pm

merichard87 wrote:I think copyrights in the arts are a totally different ballgame. But i wonder how many biglaw firms work in that area? (since alot of this post was directed at biglaw hiring practices)



care to elaborate if you know anything about this? (anyone else is welcome too)
anyone know someone working in biglaw doing art law/copyright etc. or how to break into this in general?
i know it's pretty specialized so i would assume IP is the track to look into...but then the science background just doesnt seem that relevant.

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:40 pm

Just FYI: Ken, the founder of this site, worked in trademark law and I don't believe he has a science background. You should probably direct germane questions to him :D Or just search his posts I think he talked about it in another thread at one point.

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Aeon
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Aeon » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:42 pm


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phoenix323
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby phoenix323 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:44 pm

Aeon wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=316


Awesome! Thanks so much!

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Aeon
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Re: IP Career Without Science Background?

Postby Aeon » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:47 pm

phoenix323 wrote:
Aeon wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=316


Awesome! Thanks so much!

Cheers. :)




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