If you could work at any IP firm, where?

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Anonymous User
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If you could work at any IP firm, where?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:16 pm

If you could work at any firm for patent work, where would you pick and why?
Please comment on firm health/stability, workload, compensation, anything. Gossip, rumors, and all opinions are welcome.
Some places I have looked into:
F&R - closed down an office a few years ago. Are they healthy?
BB - questionable switch to new compensation system. How has this worked out?
Oblon - can't find any recent compensation data with bonus info.
Any other firms?

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: If you could work at any IP firm, where?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you could work at any firm for patent work, where would you pick and why?
Please comment on firm health/stability, workload, compensation, anything. Gossip, rumors, and all opinions are welcome.
Some places I have looked into:
F&R - closed down an office a few years ago. Are they healthy?
BB - questionable switch to new compensation system. How has this worked out?
Oblon - can't find any recent compensation data with bonus info.
Any other firms?


Some distinctions you need to make: (1) boutique or GP, (2) practice area: lit or pros, (3) practice area: specific industry, (4) geographic market. Different firms vary widely re: each of these distinctions.

Re: compensation...follows the local market for biglaw pay, generally. Exceptions include: (1) certain boutiques (can't think of them off the top of my head, but I know there are a few in DC) that pay slightly below market, (2) GP firms in smaller markets where you can actually earn more than your non-IP counterparts (I know Alston & Bird has this option if you've got your reg #, e.g., you get 145K in charlotte when everyone else there gets 130K to start). As a general rule, however, compensation will track biglaw compensation.

Re: firm health...again, a wide variety. I've heard some boutiques are in decline (e.g. Brinks, Hoefer), while others are doing really well (e.g. Fitzpatrick), and still other's not too bad but not too great (e.g. Kenyon). A little Googling should yield good results if you're willing to put in the time to do the research.

tl;dr...lots of variety across firms, much of firm-choice results from personal preferences, and ultimately, deciding on a firm takes lots of homework to make a well-informed, educated decision (of course, only once you've got your options laid-out).

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Re: If you could work at any IP firm, where?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:51 pm

Irell

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: If you could work at any IP firm, where?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you could work at any firm for patent work, where would you pick and why?
Please comment on firm health/stability, workload, compensation, anything. Gossip, rumors, and all opinions are welcome.
Some places I have looked into:
F&R - closed down an office a few years ago. Are they healthy?
BB - questionable switch to new compensation system. How has this worked out?
Oblon - can't find any recent compensation data with bonus info.
Any other firms?


I've heard that Oblon is very stable. They're always at the top of the # of patents issued list, and the number of issue patents increases every year with them. It will likely decline this year though due to issues with the patent office that everyone is experiencing (the PTO had a hiring freeze). I know several patent prosecutors who worked there and they had a lot of 3-day weekends.

I believe that Oblon, like many other patent boutiques that focus on prosecution (their litigation department is much smaller), gives a percentage of the revenue generated back to associates at the 3 or 4 year mark. This is a very common model. You'll earn slightly less your first few years because you'll be on salary (likely $140k or so for a first year, however you don't work anywhere near the biglaw hours), but when you hit senior associate, you keep anywhere from 30-65% of your billings. The larger firms are usually on the lower end. Small, sub-10 lawyer firms are on the higher end. Patent prosecutors often earn much more at small places because of the way the compensation works.

Anonymous User
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Re: If you could work at any IP firm, where?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you could work at any firm for patent work, where would you pick and why?
Please comment on firm health/stability, workload, compensation, anything. Gossip, rumors, and all opinions are welcome.
Some places I have looked into:
F&R - closed down an office a few years ago. Are they healthy?
BB - questionable switch to new compensation system. How has this worked out?
Oblon - can't find any recent compensation data with bonus info.
Any other firms?


I've heard that Oblon is very stable. They're always at the top of the # of patents issued list, and the number of issue patents increases every year with them. It will likely decline this year though due to issues with the patent office that everyone is experiencing (the PTO had a hiring freeze). I know several patent prosecutors who worked there and they had a lot of 3-day weekends.

I believe that Oblon, like many other patent boutiques that focus on prosecution (their litigation department is much smaller), gives a percentage of the revenue generated back to associates at the 3 or 4 year mark. This is a very common model. You'll earn slightly less your first few years because you'll be on salary (likely $140k or so for a first year, however you don't work anywhere near the biglaw hours), but when you hit senior associate, you keep anywhere from 30-65% of your billings. The larger firms are usually on the lower end. Small, sub-10 lawyer firms are on the higher end. Patent prosecutors often earn much more at small places because of the way the compensation works.


OP Here.
Really? That is very interesting. I never knew that models worked this way.
Do you have a sense of how much the base+cut total compensation of Oblon actually amounts to compared to biglaw firms' base + bonus model throughout the years? Do they have a traditional 6-9 year partnership model as well?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273310
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: If you could work at any IP firm, where?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you could work at any firm for patent work, where would you pick and why?
Please comment on firm health/stability, workload, compensation, anything. Gossip, rumors, and all opinions are welcome.
Some places I have looked into:
F&R - closed down an office a few years ago. Are they healthy?
BB - questionable switch to new compensation system. How has this worked out?
Oblon - can't find any recent compensation data with bonus info.
Any other firms?


I've heard that Oblon is very stable. They're always at the top of the # of patents issued list, and the number of issue patents increases every year with them. It will likely decline this year though due to issues with the patent office that everyone is experiencing (the PTO had a hiring freeze). I know several patent prosecutors who worked there and they had a lot of 3-day weekends.

I believe that Oblon, like many other patent boutiques that focus on prosecution (their litigation department is much smaller), gives a percentage of the revenue generated back to associates at the 3 or 4 year mark. This is a very common model. You'll earn slightly less your first few years because you'll be on salary (likely $140k or so for a first year, however you don't work anywhere near the biglaw hours), but when you hit senior associate, you keep anywhere from 30-65% of your billings. The larger firms are usually on the lower end. Small, sub-10 lawyer firms are on the higher end. Patent prosecutors often earn much more at small places because of the way the compensation works.


OP Here.
Really? That is very interesting. I never knew that models worked this way.
Do you have a sense of how much the base+cut total compensation of Oblon actually amounts to compared to biglaw firms' base + bonus model throughout the years? Do they have a traditional 6-9 year partnership model as well?


Sorry, but I'm not sure about their total compensation.

I'd guess that their partnership model is 8-10 years based on their peer firms of similar size. Some patent boutiques have accelerated partnership models. For example, Knobbe Martens is a large firm with a 5 or 6 year partnership track. Lots of smaller firms (in the 20-50 lawyer range) have 5-year partnership tracks. However, many of them recognize that a lot of patent prosecutors have no desire to become or stay as a partner, so they also have a lot of Of Counsel positions, too.

Things just tend to be a bit different in the patent prosecution world. Nobody knows what Vault is. Nobody on the East Coast knows who Blakely Sokoloff is (the largest domestic patent prosecution firm with ~70 or so lawyers; based mainly in CA and is basically Intel's primary patent prosecution counsel). Nobody on the West Coast knows who Oblon is (the largest patent prosecution firm; based in Alexandria, VA; but mainly does inbound patent work coming in from Japan and Europe for companies like Sony). It's a very different universe compared to the rest of the legal world.

Patent prosecution tends to be flat rate nowadays, so that's one reason why the compensation model is the way it is. Some people are very efficient and can just churn out applications and office actions. Those people just earn more at smaller firms where there's less overhead and thus more of a cut is given to the prosecutor.




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