Can I do patent prosecution with my background?

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Anonymous User
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Can I do patent prosecution with my background?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:53 pm

I am an incoming 0L at HYS with an undergraduate degree in biology. I am also working on a PhD in a non-science related field, although my dissertation will focus heavily on evolutionary biology and cognitive neuroscience. (I am hoping for a job in academia, but I know that isn't something I can count on even at HYS.) I have also taken some advanced coursework in neuroscience (enough to earn a certification).

I have been told that even though I am technically eligible to take the patent bar that most patent firms won't hire me with just a BS in biology; I was told I need at least a MS if not a PhD. Would the fact that I am attending HYS plus the fact that I have graduate coursework in biology/neuroscience (and a PhD dissertation based on that subject area) help me at all? (FWIW, I am also a URM.) Would it help at all if I tried to earn a MS in biology or neuroscience while I worked on my PhD? Or should I assume that patent prosecution is not an option with my current background?

Thanks in advance!

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OrdinarilySkilled
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Re: Can I do patent prosecution with my background?

Postby OrdinarilySkilled » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:00 pm

Sure. But I would imagine you already knew that.

thwalls
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Re: Can I do patent prosecution with my background?

Postby thwalls » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:35 pm

So just to clear this up. You're an incoming law student and you're working on your PhD at the same time? This can't be a science related PhD because if it was you'd be putting in 60+ hours a week in the lab and there's no way you'd have time for your law classes.

But you're also saying that you'd consider an MS in another field. So, did you defend your PhD already and will be attending law school in the fall? Is that what you mean? I'm confused here.

The short answer is that you'd qualify for the patent bar, which you already knew, but you would not be attractive for IP pros even with a degree from HYS. I just got a job doing patent prosecution and I was told point-blank by the interviewer that they don't hire anyone to do patent prosecution work without a PhD. Period. Maybe this doesn't hold true for all law firms but the problem is that a law firm has to sell you to prospective clients. As someone who is leaving academia research, I always wanted to work with an attorney who had a PhD rather than some guy with an undergraduate degree who took 3 semesters of chemistry.

I hope this helps. This is only from my personal experience and I am in no way an expert. But if you can get into HYS I'm sure you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. Good luck!

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merichard87
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Re: Can I do patent prosecution with my background?

Postby merichard87 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:24 pm

My gut tells me you won't be really attractive for pat pros but if its what you want to do I think you should definitely still pursue and see what happens. And the convential wisdom is that for a non engineering science background you're gonna need advanced degrees.

Anonymous User
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Re: Can I do patent prosecution with my background?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:27 am

I started my PhD program two years ago, and I am done with my coursework. The plan is to alternate between law school and writing my dissertation. I have toyed with the idea of getting an MS in biology or neuroscience, since I thought that might give me more credibility in my field of research. (My PhD will be in philosophy, although I am studying the philosophy of biology and cognitive neuroscience.) But I am leaning against it, since I think doing law school and writing a dissertation at the same time will be challenging enough, and I am hoping to graduate before age 40. :) If it would help me land a job in patent prosecution if I don't make it in academia, I might be slightly more likely to consider the idea. But it sounds like anything short of a science PhD probably won't help me much.

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Can I do patent prosecution with my background?

Postby Na_Swatch » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:I started my PhD program two years ago, and I am done with my coursework. The plan is to alternate between law school and writing my dissertation. I have toyed with the idea of getting an MS in biology or neuroscience, since I thought that might give me more credibility in my field of research. (My PhD will be in philosophy, although I am studying the philosophy of biology and cognitive neuroscience.) But I am leaning against it, since I think doing law school and writing a dissertation at the same time will be challenging enough, and I am hoping to graduate before age 40. :) If it would help me land a job in patent prosecution if I don't make it in academia, I might be slightly more likely to consider the idea. But it sounds like anything short of a science PhD probably won't help me much.


Do it... get ALL the degrees... just so i can sit around thinking about how many years of schooling it takes to get: A JD, a MS in biology, and a PHD in Philosophy... I think that beats a PHD/MD!!!

On a serious note tho, you should probably ask the firms your interested in if they would consider you if you have a HYS JD + BS... they're going to have the best idea

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DavidYurman85
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Re: Can I do patent prosecution with my background?

Postby DavidYurman85 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:12 pm

most patent firms prefer people with a hard science degree (electrical/computer engineering). even coming from hys, it's unlikely that your bio degree/phd will hold much weight.

an exception of course would be if you were a chemist at coke or kraft foods and had work experience. but even then, you're limited with the kind of prosecution work you could do.

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tinman
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Re: Can I do patent prosecution with my background?

Postby tinman » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:47 pm

Hey OP. I do not have much insight into whether you can do patent prosecution without a Ph.D. in science, but if you need advice about the academic route, let me know.

Also, any chance you are going to YLS? We would love to have you here. I'm a biology Ph.D. (evolution and genetics) who just finished 1L at YLS. Please PM me if you are going to YLS. I'd love to introduce you to the resources here.




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