Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

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raiderrobert
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Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby raiderrobert » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:06 am

I don't have a science degree. I have an English degree and an MBA; however, I did spend the last 2 years of my life getting a minor in physics (24 hours). So yes, I know the requirements for the patent bar.

But I've some whispers on this board that without a degree in EE or some other hard science (not CS) that I'm fooling myself: I could pass the patent bar, but I probably couldn't get a job afterwards because all the people interviewing me would look at my resume and immediately pass over it for someone else with an engineering degree.

Like I said, I really, really find patent law interesting, and I've been working toward getting into it for the past 2 years. However, I'm not stupid enough to drop $100k on a degree and then realize--in the eyes of hiring authorities at law firms and corporation--I've been shining poop. So please tell me if I'm being stupid.

(Also, I've been admitted to Franklin Pierce for their IP program. First impression of that law school name, please?)

Anonymous User
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:19 am

You can probably throw patent prosecution out the window. But you have a shot at patent lit (it'll be an uphill battle). If you want to try this, go to a much higher ranked school than franklin pierce because you'll more than likely need the prestige to get looked at when applying to lit jobs

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Cupidity
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby Cupidity » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:22 am

raiderrobert wrote: First impression of that law school name


LOL :lol:

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Cupidity
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby Cupidity » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:24 am

You will never be a patent prosecutor, because to do so you have to be patent bar eligible, and you are not because of your background. As for the soft side of patent, both litigation and licensing, that work is almost exclusively handled by large firms and corporations. If you are looking at schools down around the level of Franklin Pierce, there is no way you are getting a job in either one of those positions.

Hate to say it, but you are SOL without a hard-science master that makes you patent bar eligible, or a top tier school that can get you into BigLaw litigation.

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SilverE2
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby SilverE2 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:19 pm

raiderrobert wrote:I don't have a science degree. I have an English degree and an MBA; however, I did spend the last 2 years of my life getting a minor in physics (24 hours). So yes, I know the requirements for the patent bar.

But I've some whispers on this board that without a degree in EE or some other hard science (not CS) that I'm fooling myself: I could pass the patent bar, but I probably couldn't get a job afterwards because all the people interviewing me would look at my resume and immediately pass over it for someone else with an engineering degree.

Like I said, I really, really find patent law interesting, and I've been working toward getting into it for the past 2 years. However, I'm not stupid enough to drop $100k on a degree and then realize--in the eyes of hiring authorities at law firms and corporation--I've been shining poop. So please tell me if I'm being stupid.

(Also, I've been admitted to Franklin Pierce for their IP program. First impression of that law school name, please?)


I've never heard of Franklin Pierce. That should say something. If you "really, really" want to become a patent lawyer, go back to school, get the EE bachelor's, and then attend law school, preferably one with some name recognition.

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Cupidity
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby Cupidity » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:11 pm

SilverE2 wrote:I've never heard of Franklin Pierce. That should say something. If you "really, really" want to become a patent lawyer, go back to school, get the EE bachelor's, and then attend law school, preferably one with some name recognition.


What are we looking at in terms of LSAT/GPA? If you aren't going to get into a first-tier law school, you still probably aren't going to do patent law. No reason to get the EE bachelor's then.

Also, it sounds like at that point, you'll be looking at school until 30, do you really want that?

mrowkat
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby mrowkat » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:17 pm

I both agree and disagree with the other posters on the board - you can get a job in IP without a science degree. One of my friends got an IP lit offer from a very good firm with no science background at all. BUT he had great grades from a T-14. If you really wanted to increase your chances (and aren't just doing this out of fear of the terrible job market), take the patent bar now, before you go law school. That will demonstrate a genuine interest that will increase your chances.

de5igual
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby de5igual » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:22 pm

mrowkat wrote:I both agree and disagree with the other posters on the board - you can get a job in IP without a science degree. One of my friends got an IP lit offer from a very good firm with no science background at all. BUT he had great grades from a T-14. If you really wanted to increase your chances (and aren't just doing this out of fear of the terrible job market), take the patent bar now, before you go law school. That will demonstrate a genuine interest that will increase your chances.


I don't see where you disagree. You basically said to get into IP, you either need 1) a good school or 2) pass the patent bar (which requires a science background)

OP, as of now, has neither credentials

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patentlaworbust
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby patentlaworbust » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:24 pm

I agree with what has been said so far.

At this point in the game, it doesn't make sense to go get a BS in an engineering discipline if your heart isn't in it. Notwithstanding that the subject matter would be extremely difficult since you're coming from a Business/English background (no offense), spending all the $$ to first get a sci degree and then spending more $$ to get a law degree doesn't make rational economic sense. You should only get a science degree at this stage if you are interested in an engineering/science career, and since you seem to be interested in a legal career, this point is moot.

There are ways to get into patent or general IP litigation (if that is truly what interests you) without having a sci background, although it is seriously an uphill battle. Going to a tier 1 law school is a must, T14 preferred. Taking the patent bar, if you're eligible, will at least communicate a genuine interest in the subject, even though the engineer-hungry IP firms will subordinate your candidacy to those with heavier science qualifications. Trying for soft IP work, like copyrights and TMs, may put you on a more level playing field with your competition.

See this thread for more helpful info: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=182618

raiderrobert
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby raiderrobert » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:35 pm

Undergrad GPA 3.6ish. LSAT 154. Yeah, I ain't gettin' into Harvard, I know. But I was hoping originally for some place like University of Washington. A pre-law advisor directed me to UNH (Franklin Pierce). So I've been planning on going there.

Also, I do have science credits built up like I said earlier. I've already got a physics minor. Switching it to some form of engineering (EE or CompE) shouldn't be too hard. (I hope.)

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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:48 pm

Look, if you want patent law, get a higher LSAT score and go to a law school that multiple firms with patent lit departments will be interviewing at (think: T14, or at least Tier 1). Otherwise, you're going to go to law school at a school like UNH or UW hoping for patent lit, and more than likely not getting it. Even if you get an EE minor, that's extremely unlikely to get you patent pro. Even if you did go to a T14, you'd have to shine to catch the eye of patent lit firms. Yes, I understand that FP is "strong in IP," but this is extremely unlikely to be helpful if you're not desirable for prep/pro based on major, regardless of whether you qualify for a USPTO registration number.

Basically, what I'm saying is, be careful about spending a ton of money on the schools you're talking about if your only goal is patents, because there's a good chance that 3 years and 150k later, you won't get it. If you're open to other things, like soft IP or other corporate/transactional work, law school may be a good idea. But with only this one goal and your current credentials, you might be doing yourself a disservice.

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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:52 pm

Franklin Pierce is immediately recognized by most patent prosecutors, but I'm not sure about patent litigators. FPLC was into patent law before it became cool. They graduate a ton of students interested in prosecution. However, I have no idea how they're doing in this economy.

It will likely be very difficult for you to break into patent prosecution with your credentials.

johndhi
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby johndhi » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:57 pm

Out of curiosity, why do you find patent law "really, really interesting"? What is your experience with patent law?

I literally just got done reading for my patent law class, so this is quite relevant to me :) What I'm getting at is maybe you don't know you want to do patent law if you haven't really been exposed to it. Here's my suggestion: apply for a job at the USPTO as a patent examiner, study your dick off for an LSAT retake and get into GW or Georgetown or something and take a lot of patent law classes. IMO that wuould make you eligible for patent lit jobs. Source: someone with a patent lit job this summer.

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wiseowl
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby wiseowl » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:19 pm

To be fair, "Franklin Pierce" no longer exists. They're part of UNH.

And yes, patent practitioners will definitely at least know what Franklin Pierce is/was; whether that has carried over to UNH is a different story.

Still, as others have said, it's unlikely you'll get many looks for prosecution jobs. Best case scenario is you get great grades and do litigation, with a chance to back into prosecution later if that's what you really want to do.

clintone88
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby clintone88 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:23 pm

I think Franklin Pierce actually would be fine if you had an EE degree or something and wanted prosecution. It's one school that seems to put out a lot of patent pros people while being low rank, everyone in patent prosecution has heard of Franklin Pierce. But everyone is right about not being able to do patent prosecution with a BA and some physics credits. Even if you are B track eligible for the patent bar, no one will hire you.

09042014
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby 09042014 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:28 pm

Why the fuck are you so interested in patent law? Because you know someone who made a lot money doing it?

Spending two years getting a minor in Physics when you didn't even know if it was worth it? This seems like a really shitty plan bro.

My advice is go find a job you qualified for. If you still want patent law for some bizzarre reason, pass the patent bar and try to find a job as a patent agent. It doesn't require school. If you like it, you can do a part time law program and get the law degree that way. If you can't find a patent agent job, no patent prosecution firm will take you either.

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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:40 pm

not to derail the topic, but it seems there's a general consensus on TLS that Patent Litigation > Patent Prosecution.

why is this? is it merely because the prestigious V25 firms (K&E et. al.) are focused on litigation over prosecution?

it seems to me that the hours are more manageable in prosecution. prosecution also seems much more engineering related. assuming you're making the same from both, i guess i don't see the draw to lit.

chaoticreassembly
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby chaoticreassembly » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:43 pm

Contrary to some of the assertions on here, you ARE eligible for the patent bar with 24 hours of physics work.
http://www.patentbarstudy.com/exam/qualifications.html

You should probably work very hard, be at the top of your class, and even transfer if possible. But don't let people tell you that you can't do it. Because of the requirements to pass the patent bar, far from everyone is able to compete for these jobs, and they can be very lucrative. If this is where your interest lies and you have the background necessary to pass the bar, you should go for it. Just know that with the oversupply in the market right now, job offers are not what they used to be. Just getting through law school does not guarantee a job anymore. However, it is not an impossibility for you if you work hard.

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Cupidity
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby Cupidity » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:47 pm

Patent Lit v. Patent Pros.

Patent Pros:
(+) One of the only golden tickets remaining in the legal industry
(+/-) Widely variable salaries
(-) Requires hard science/patent bar

Patent Lit:
(+) Anyone can do it
(+) Generally handled by large firms, meaning market salary
(-) It's still BigLaw lit, which is a hard job to find in this economy
(-) Anyone can do it, so none of that IP hiring boost stuff.

raiderrobert
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby raiderrobert » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:49 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Why the fuck are you so interested in patent law? Because you know someone who made a lot money doing it?

Spending two years getting a minor in Physics when you didn't even know if it was worth it? This seems like a really shitty plan bro.


Actually, while I was in my MBA program, we had strategic management class. A core project of the class was to build a 5-plan for ourselves. I was interested in IP law. So I interviewed some IP lawyers in the NW, where I was originally from. Talked to a guy in litigation and two in prosecution. The job sounded interesting.

So I built my plan around becoming viable to take the bar. It never entered my head until recently that I'd need to compete to get the jobs afterwards because I understood from the other attorneys that the field had a shortage.

And no, money wasn't a driving factor. It became a nice perk after talking to those attorneys. And yes, I'm going to talk to some more patent attorneys now to verify what I'm hearing from you guys.

As to what I find interesting about patent law: I've always enjoyed inventions and understanding how things work. I go out of my way to read patents that are being litigated and IP blogs, like Patently-O.

Perhaps, I'm idealistic, but I want to join some business incubator like Y-Combinator as an in-house, full-service attorney. And yes, I've been involved in a handful of start ups already. So I know what I'm doing that way.

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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:51 pm

chaoticreassembly wrote:Contrary to some of the assertions on here, you ARE eligible for the patent bar with 24 hours of physics work.
http://www.patentbarstudy.com/exam/qualifications.html

You should probably work very hard, be at the top of your class, and even transfer if possible. But don't let people tell you that you can't do it. Because of the requirements to pass the patent bar, far from everyone is able to compete for these jobs, and they can be very lucrative. If this is where your interest lies and you have the background necessary to pass the bar, you should go for it. Just know that with the oversupply in the market right now, job offers are not what they used to be. Just getting through law school does not guarantee a job anymore. However, it is not an impossibility for you if you work hard.


Nobody's disputing whether this guy qualifies for the patent bar. We're saying he's not desirable for patent pro positions. While you're right that competition is lesser in this niche, that doesn't mean there is no competition. Anecdotally, I know a graduating EE at my well-regarded law school who could not find a law firm that would hire him, and so he is starting work as a PTO examiner. Could you imagine wasting 3 years in law school to become a PTO examiner? Not only did you lose all the money that law school costs, but you've also lost about 160-250k in wages you would have earned had you just started there 3 years earlier.

The OP doesn't even have a science degree, let alone an engineering degree. It's possible that some firm out there would consider hiring him. But I wouldn't bet any amount of money on that chance, and certainly not the cost of tuition and lost wages. We were asked to let him know if he was just "shining poop" in getting a law degree, particularly from UNH. The answer is yes.

r6_philly
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby r6_philly » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:57 pm

Cupidity wrote:Patent Lit v. Patent Pros.

Patent Pros:
(+) One of the only golden tickets remaining in the legal industry
(+/-) Widely variable salaries
(-) Requires hard science/patent bar

Patent Lit:
(+) Anyone can do it
(+) Generally handled by large firms, meaning market salary
(-) It's still BigLaw lit, which is a hard job to find in this economy
(-) Anyone can do it, so none of that IP hiring boost stuff.


That is not true. There is a large difference between can and prefer.

target
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby target » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:01 pm

r6_philly wrote:
Cupidity wrote:Patent Lit v. Patent Pros.

Patent Pros:
(+) One of the only golden tickets remaining in the legal industry
(+/-) Widely variable salaries
(-) Requires hard science/patent bar

Patent Lit:
(+) Anyone can do it
(+) Generally handled by large firms, meaning market salary
(-) It's still BigLaw lit, which is a hard job to find in this economy
(-) Anyone can do it, so none of that IP hiring boost stuff.


That is not true. There is a large difference between can and prefer.


+1.

09042014
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby 09042014 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:36 pm

Cupidity wrote:Patent Lit v. Patent Pros.

Patent Pros:
(+) One of the only golden tickets remaining in the legal industry
(+/-) Widely variable salaries
(-) Requires hard science/patent bar

Patent Lit:
(+) Anyone can do it
(+) Generally handled by large firms, meaning market salary
(-) It's still BigLaw lit, which is a hard job to find in this economy
(-) Anyone can do it, so none of that IP hiring boost stuff.


There is a still a significant hiring boost for people with a tech/eng./sci. background for IP Lit. While anyone can do Patent Lit, firms and clients want people with tech backgrounds. Most patent lit groups don't hire 2Ls without a tech background. The people who get into it with a background usually just move into it because they were staffed on a case during their career. There are plenty of exceptions.

Anonymous User
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Re: Really Interested in Patent Law, BUT.....

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:50 pm

Cupidity wrote:Patent Lit v. Patent Pros.

Patent Pros:
(+) One of the only golden tickets remaining in the legal industry
(+/-) Widely variable salaries
(-) Requires hard science/patent bar

Patent Lit:
(+) Anyone can do it
(+) Generally handled by large firms, meaning market salary
(-) It's still BigLaw lit, which is a hard job to find in this economy
(-) Anyone can do it, so none of that IP hiring boost stuff.


I'd add the following:

Patent Pros:
(+) Many firms have billing requirements as low as 1500 hours.
(+) Easier to start your own firm or get business.
(+) More in-house positions.
(+) More part-time or contractor/consultant positions.
(+) Potentially a longer career in private practice.
(+) No surprises, steady work flow. Most deadlines are extendable several months.
(+) Firms come in all sizes.
(-) Lonely/isolating and repetitive work
(-) Law school friends won't know where you work.
(+/-) Can't wear cuff links to work.

Patent Lit:
(+) Other lawyers have likely heard of your firm.
(+) Can get a $300 million settlement that makes the news.
(+) More "lawyerly"
(+) Can earn more money if you're a partner.
(-) Unpredictable schedule.




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