Soft IP - Corp vs. Lit

(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.
User avatar
piccolittle
Posts: 1118
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:16 pm

Soft IP - Corp vs. Lit

Postby piccolittle » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:32 pm

Yes, I've been researching my butt off but can't seem to find anything that helps me with this.

So I want to go into soft IP/advertising/privacy/trade secrets stuff (yes, I know it's competitive). I really don't have a preference between corporate or litigation, but I know the specific practice area I want. Should I just mix it up by firm, depending on where their soft IP group falls? Generally, I feel like I would be a better/happier corporate lawyer than litigator, but I would rather do soft IP stuff + other random work as a litigator than general M&A and finance-related stuff.

Is there even such a thing as solely corporate IP work? I'd like to do TM prosecution, IP strategy and advising, and even some lit if it comes up. Any firms come to mind that have an independent soft IP group that does a little of both? Feel free to post a link or snark if there's something major I'm missing.

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Soft IP - Corp vs. Lit

Postby fatduck » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:36 pm

piccolittle wrote:Yes, I've been researching my butt off but can't seem to find anything that helps me with this.

So I want to go into soft IP/advertising/privacy/trade secrets stuff (yes, I know it's competitive). I really don't have a preference between corporate or litigation, but I know the specific practice area I want. Should I just mix it up by firm, depending on where their soft IP group falls? Generally, I feel like I would be a better/happier corporate lawyer than litigator, but I would rather do soft IP stuff + other random work as a litigator than general M&A and finance-related stuff.

Is there even such a thing as solely corporate IP work? I'd like to do TM prosecution, IP strategy and advising, and even some lit if it comes up. Any firms come to mind that have an independent soft IP group that does a little of both? Feel free to post a link or snark if there's something major I'm missing.

there's just so little of this that i can't imagine anywhere that you could do this kind of work exclusively, especially at a GP firm. someone can correct me if i'm wrong but i think you're gonna find yourself doing a broader range of corporate work by necessity.

might be different at IP boutiques but i don't know how many really do significant corp work.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273258
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Soft IP - Corp vs. Lit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:43 pm

I'm also interested in learning whether IP corporate even exists. When I look at IP litigation, even the soft stuff, most of the associates have hard science backgrounds (which I lack).

Should I give up on telling firms I want to do IP entirely and just find something more generally corporate? I'm not opposed to litigation as well, I just don't know how realistic it is for me to express a preference in IP...AT ALL.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273258
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Soft IP - Corp vs. Lit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:49 pm

IP corporate does exist. not sure exactly what they do but from the firm i was at, it was the most competitive group to get into (after being a general in corp for 2 years) because their hours rock and its a small group to begin with. i dont know if there are any firms that are really known for their corp IP work, but several firms have small departments of it. thus, when interviewing i wouldn't really stress you want to do corp IP group. maybe just say you want corp in general and then try networking with the corp IP partners to get placed there.

majmun
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:44 pm

Re: Soft IP - Corp vs. Lit

Postby majmun » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:58 pm

I'm a hard IP guy, but I've done a bunch of random soft IP stuff over the past few years so I can chime in. I've only worked at IP boutiques. One boutique had a big trademark prosecution practice and virtually all of the work was done by paralegals managed by a partner and a senior associate. From what I've been told, that's really the only way to make money off of trademark prosecution. I've done a bit of it myself at a different firm and it's pretty cut and dry work. Also, mind numbing IMO.

As far as corporate IP goes, I doubt there are a lot of associates that focus solely on soft-IP transactions. I don't know any. I know plenty of IP transactional attorneys but they do mostly Hard IP with a smattering of soft in the mix. As far as soft IP firms go, one you may not be familar with is Fross Zelnick, they are some of the best soft-IP only attorneys out there.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273258
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Soft IP - Corp vs. Lit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:09 pm

Thanks everyone for your input and advice. I think I'll definitely be mindful of my answer as to what kind of work I want to do if the firm were to hire me.

Stupid follow-up question: If I ultimately would like to be at the intersection of high tech, business, and law how should I express that in an interview? Start-ups and new technology really interest me even though I don't have a formal background. My school had a panel on "law and startups" a while back and it seemed incredibly interesting. Should I just say general corporate?

Sorry if that's a really ignorant question.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273258
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Soft IP - Corp vs. Lit

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:40 pm

Current SA with very similar interests, currently working in a group like this. BigLaw firms do have groups that do the type of work you are describing, usually called something like "IP Transactions" or "Technology Transactions." We do some soft IP prosecution, but also a lot of IP licensing, joint venture, and general contract work that focuses more day to day operational client needs than straight M&A and securities type advisory. We also are brought in as specialists on transactions with heavy IP components.

The practice area is very interesting with a great lifestyle, but also not the most reliable or lucrative for biglaw since a lot of clients tend to do it in house. Clients are also not as willing to pay $$$ for this type of work, compared to litigation or a huge M&A deal. Keep in mind that most partners in my group also do more general corporate tech deals on the side to round out their practice.

With that said, there are TONS of exit opportunities for mid-level associates looking to lateral or go in-house. Firms with these groups generally have a lot of tech/media/entertainment clients, and/or an IP practice that's not too lopsided towards litigation: Mofo, WSGR, Latham, Cooley, Ropes, Loeb, Paul Weiss, etc.

User avatar
piccolittle
Posts: 1118
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:16 pm

Re: Soft IP - Corp vs. Lit

Postby piccolittle » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Current SA with very similar interests, currently working in a group like this. BigLaw firms do have groups that do the type of work you are describing, usually called something like "IP Transactions" or "Technology Transactions." We do some soft IP prosecution, but also a lot of IP licensing, joint venture, and general contract work that focuses more day to day operational client needs than straight M&A and securities type advisory. We also are brought in as specialists on transactions with heavy IP components.

The practice area is very interesting with a great lifestyle, but also not the most reliable or lucrative for biglaw since a lot of clients tend to do it in house. Clients are also not as willing to pay $$$ for this type of work, compared to litigation or a huge M&A deal. Keep in mind that most partners in my group also do more general corporate tech deals on the side to round out their practice.

With that said, there are TONS of exit opportunities for mid-level associates looking to lateral or go in-house. Firms with these groups generally have a lot of tech/media/entertainment clients, and/or an IP practice that's not too lopsided towards litigation: Mofo, WSGR, Latham, Cooley, Ropes, Loeb, Paul Weiss, etc.

Perfect! I have always been interested in tech transactions, but I was worried it was a little too patent-focused for me. Good to know I was on the right track. Thanks a lot for weighing in.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.