.

(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.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:13 pm

.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:29 pm

Thanks.

User avatar
monkey85
Posts: 394
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:07 pm

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby monkey85 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:51 pm

...or you can just go into Soft IP.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:53 pm

monkey85 wrote:...or you can just go into Soft IP.

i thought of this. there's no work in soft ip, i.e., no jobs.

User avatar
Dr. Review
Posts: 1797
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:51 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Dr. Review » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:21 pm

So the first chair litigators handling multi million dollar patent cases without a tech background are clearly inferior?

User avatar
Julio_El_Chavo
Posts: 803
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:09 pm

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:43 pm

Bedsole wrote:So the first chair litigators handling multi million dollar patent cases without a tech background are clearly inferior?


There are like 10 of these guys and they all graduated from Harvard (magna) or YLS in the 1980s.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
monkey85 wrote:...or you can just go into Soft IP.

i thought of this. there's no work in soft ip, i.e., no jobs.


There are.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:47 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
Bedsole wrote:So the first chair litigators handling multi million dollar patent cases without a tech background are clearly inferior?


There are like 10 of these guys and they all graduated from Harvard (magna) or YLS in the 1980s.


Yes, and they generally hailed from a time when science-->law wasn't as relatively common as it is today.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:i can definitively say, after my first year or so on the job, that you absolutely need a tech background (preferably an EE background) to excel as a patent litigator.

or you need to be exceptionally good at Wikipedia'ing every fourth word in a patent (e.g., mux/demux, narrowband jamming signal, fast fourier transform, high-impedance pull-down amplifier, anisotropic diffusion coefficient, code-phase versus carrier-phase GPS) and back-tracing it to very basic principles, i.e., an impossible task given time constraints. You also need to be able to read through undocumented code and figure out whether an algorithm works a certain way or not.

It really helps to make friends with a mid-level or junior associate (or heck, even summer associate) with an EE background. If you are headed into patent litigation group with an English background, please make friends with an EE so you can have them on speed-dial. You *will* SOS them within the first month on a patent case.


What kind of technology have you worked on in a year?

What is the majority of your firm's work?

User avatar
gotmilk?
Posts: 203
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:25 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby gotmilk? » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:32 am

No, you do not need a technical background for patent litigation. 85% of people who do have a technical background will not be working on cases where their background is even remotely relevant. "Congratulations Ms. Associate on your bio degree, but we need people on this software case that's blowing up right now." or you might even be on a case in tech related to your background, but classes rarely go into enough detail so that you can just pick up a patent and understand what it's talking about.

Sure, yeah, sometimes it helps to have someone with a CS degree who can go over the code with an expert, but in terms of your day to day work, it's more about getting good at figuring out the technology after reading the spec/claims/doing a few smart google searches.

User avatar
Loose Seal
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:43 pm

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Loose Seal » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:23 am

gotmilk? wrote:No, you do not need a technical background for patent litigation. 85% of people who do have a technical background will not be working on cases where their background is even remotely relevant. "Congratulations Ms. Associate on your bio degree, but we need people on this software case that's blowing up right now." or you might even be on a case in tech related to your background, but classes rarely go into enough detail so that you can just pick up a patent and understand what it's talking about.


Agreed. Also, depending on the size of the patent department at your firm you may find them to be more welcoming of folks without experience (and as a result capable of distributing work so that the harder tech stuff goes to the people who can understand it). We have a small but quickly growing patent practice and they are happy to have any trial-loving associates jump on board. I suppose it also helps that the partner in charge of most of the litigation prefers to have a balance of tech:non-tech people on his teams.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:15 pm

.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby r6_philly » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:14 pm

^ that is very well said. It seems to capture everything I saw and learned as a SA.

JetsFan1990
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:41 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby JetsFan1990 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:21 pm

"And citing non-tech-bg attorneys as exemplars is as misguided as citing some white guy in the 50s who won the 100M track and field event."

hahah yes.

User avatar
camelcrema
Posts: 281
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:43 pm

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby camelcrema » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:35 pm

For those of us without tech undergrad degrees, what are your thoughts on the usefulness of taking engineering/CS classes during law school either on the undergrad campus or through something like coursera?

User avatar
Mr. Frodo
Posts: 196
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:59 pm

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Mr. Frodo » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:38 pm

Although acceptable by USPTA standards for taking the patent bar, will a hard science background in engineering (Civil; particularly structural) with 1.5 years work experience allow me to pursue patent litigation? Or is it all going to be CS/EE based work, rendering my engineering degree useless?

Just curious.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby IAFG » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:43 pm

camelcrema wrote:For those of us without tech undergrad degrees, what are your thoughts on the usefulness of taking engineering/CS classes during law school either on the undergrad campus or through something like coursera?

I mean, what's your end game? Do you just love patent work but don't have a tech background? I get the sense some people "have an interest" in patent because they hear IP hiring is hot, but it's hot for people with tech backgrounds, not people with a hobbyist interest.

User avatar
Bosque
Posts: 1585
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:14 pm

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Bosque » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:55 pm

A tech background is not necessary for comprehension. I am an EE, and while I might get through the material for a particular matter faster than someone who was a history major, I will still have to look most of it up. As mentioned before, even if I took a class on the particular tech I am working on it most likely did not go into enough depth on the particulars of this patent that I could just pick it up and know everything that is going on. Besides, ethical attorneys always research like they don't remember a thing, remember? I wouldn't say I am at a huge advantage.

That said, you DO need to LIKE reading about this stuff. If you picked history or English because you cannot stand schematics, theorems, or science in general, then don't go into patent law. I would hope that would be obvious, but some people get blinded because they think it will be easier to get a high paying job. You won't magically enjoy reading about p-n diodes and data structure search algorithms now if you have found it boring your whole life.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:19 pm

.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:28 pm

if post-grant practice becomes as important as is touted (on defense side), i think that puts a major dent in the career prospects for a non-tech ip litigator in the near term.

by career prospects, im only referring to mid-term practical things like getting a job, lateraling, etc. im sure if you're a really good litigator, you can litigate patents really well too.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:35 pm

.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:One guiding rule: Your firm is likely as good at patent work as the type of patents it defends clients against (and unless the world changes dramatically, your large law firm will likely do upwards of 80-90% defense work). The more complex the patent, the more hours a firm can bill.

I'm not sure that's right. To take a timely example, look at the Apple v. Samsung litigation. The patents at the heart of that litigation are relatively simple, yet the firms for both sides are billing massive hours. And the lead attorneys--Michael Jacobs of Mofo for Apple, Charlie Verhoeven of Quinn for Samsung--don't have science or engineering backgrounds.


And citing non-tech-bg attorneys as exemplars is as misguided as citing some white guy in the 50s who won the 100M track and field event. That's a nice role model. It's just not going to happen 20 years from now.

Huh. My sense is that things are running in the opposite direction. Twenty years ago, patent litigation was handled mostly by a few boutiques that hired lawyers with engineering and science degrees. Now, the big trials are increasingly handled by general litigation firms with lawyers from a variety of backgrounds. If there's a trend here, it's towards more non-tech-bg attorneys on large patent cases.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:28 pm

OP is wrong.

I worked in a patent-heavy practice and much of what people are saying in this thread simply isn't true. Certainly not as universally true as people are asserting. On the technology side, your degree doesn't always match up with your client's technology, and when it does, you're only marginally better off and mostly being used as a sales pitch to clients. I've been staffed on matters where non-tech people were working on PICs (which also get outsourced to India these days, but please, market yourself as the associate who will do PIC work for ten times the going rate in Mumbai), tech tutorials, tech-heavy depos, and Markman hearings. There are usually people with relevant backgrounds also on the team and contributing in various ways, but no patent case is staffed exclusively with engineers.

At the end of the day, half of patent litigation is just that: litigation. There is discovery to do, motion practice, evidentiary issues, trial, appeal, etc. Look at the people who actually take patent cases to trial; they are not exclusively tech people. Plenty of smart engineer-types will never cross a witness or talk to a jury because they can't dumb down their vocabulary enough to communicate with regular people. And talking about the partnership benefits of a tech degree is basically worthless, because nobody makes partner in biglaw. At a boutique, maybe; you'd have to look at recent partners.

A tech degree will make it easier to get a patent litigation job. It may provide a marginal benefit on some cases. It may also pigeonhole you at a larger firm because you're now "the software patent guy." It is not a requirement for the practice area.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:35 pm

Does anyone know how hard it is to get patent litigation with a tech background (Computer Science + WE as an engineer) when one isn't patent-bar eligible? I'm basically a few science classes short of being patent bar eligible (plan to do these during 2 or 3L).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273533
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: yes, you need a tech background for patent litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone know how hard it is to get patent litigation with a tech background (Computer Science + WE as an engineer) when one isn't patent-bar eligible? I'm basically a few science classes short of being patent bar eligible (plan to do these during 2 or 3L).

Do you have medianish (or better) grades from a top law school? If yes, then it will be easy for you to get a patent litigation job. Firms will love your tech background.

The lower down you go--both with respect to your grades and your school's reputation--the more important patent bar eligibility becomes.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.