IP Litigation w/o tech background

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Anonymous User
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IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:11 pm

So I'm interested by IP Litigation and IP issues. I'm a little worried going into interviews though seeing as I don't have a background in Comp Sci/Engineering/Etc.

Is this going to be a huge issue? How do you talk about these sort of things in interviews? How are you seen by interviewers without that sort of experience?

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pinkcamellia
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby pinkcamellia » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So I'm interested by IP Litigation and IP issues. I'm a little worried going into interviews though seeing as I don't have a background in Comp Sci/Engineering/Etc.

Is this going to be a huge issue? How do you talk about these sort of things in interviews? How are you seen by interviewers without that sort of experience?


It's only a huge issue if you don't have a degree that will allow you to take and pass the patent bar. It doesn't matter how much you're interested - if you don't have the degree, you can't do IP.

However if you do have a patent bar-eligible degree, you should look into the types of IP work the firm does and ask questions when given the opportunity in your interviews. Try to network with attorneys in your area to get an idea of what kind of conversations you should be having.

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BVest
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby BVest » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:17 pm

If by background you mean you're K-JD or your WE is not tech, you'll probably be OK. If you mean no hard science degree, then yes.

Also I guess depends on what you mean by IP. As you would expect, Trademark and Copyright are OK without hard science.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby ScottRiqui » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:21 pm

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Last edited by ScottRiqui on Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nammertat
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Nammertat » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:22 pm

pinkcamellia wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So I'm interested by IP Litigation and IP issues. I'm a little worried going into interviews though seeing as I don't have a background in Comp Sci/Engineering/Etc.

Is this going to be a huge issue? How do you talk about these sort of things in interviews? How are you seen by interviewers without that sort of experience?


It's only a huge issue if you don't have a degree that will allow you to take and pass the patent bar. It doesn't matter how much you're interested - if you don't have the degree, you can't do IP.

However if you do have a patent bar-eligible degree, you should look into the types of IP work the firm does and ask questions when given the opportunity in your interviews. Try to network with attorneys in your area to get an idea of what kind of conversations you should be having.


This is simply not correct. I am not PB-eligible and have done just fine going after patent lit. Yes it is more difficult, but for someone to say "you can't do IP" is ignorant.

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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby kyle010723 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:24 pm

You don't need to be patent bar eligible to do litigation, though it's a strong preference. So yes you will be fighting a steep uphill battle, but the best thing you can do is show the firm how awesome of a litigator you are.

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BVest
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby BVest » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:25 pm

Yes you can do it. But the question was whether it would be a huge issue in interviews. Which it will.

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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:26 pm

pinkcamellia wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So I'm interested by IP Litigation and IP issues. I'm a little worried going into interviews though seeing as I don't have a background in Comp Sci/Engineering/Etc.

Is this going to be a huge issue? How do you talk about these sort of things in interviews? How are you seen by interviewers without that sort of experience?


It's only a huge issue if you don't have a degree that will allow you to take and pass the patent bar. It doesn't matter how much you're interested - if you don't have the degree, you can't do IP.

However if you do have a patent bar-eligible degree, you should look into the types of IP work the firm does and ask questions when given the opportunity in your interviews. Try to network with attorneys in your area to get an idea of what kind of conversations you should be having.


So, if you can't sit for the Patent bar--IP is a taboo subject? What about "soft" IP? I've heard a huge range of opinions--everywhere from plenty of lawyers are IP lawyers without tech backgrounds to never-ever-ever-ever discuss soft IP.

Jimbo_Jones
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Jimbo_Jones » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:27 pm

This question gets asked at least once a week here. Do a search.


viewtopic.php?f=4&t=211250

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=182618

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=157352

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Nammertat
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Nammertat » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:28 pm

BVest wrote:Yes you can do it. But the question was whether it would be a huge issue in interviews. Which it will.


I think that depends on what you did for 1L summer... If you're working in IP as a 1L, people overlook the degree pretty quickly (for lit, not prosecution obviously).

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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:30 pm

kyle010723 wrote:You don't need to be patent bar eligible to do litigation, though it's a strong preference. So yes you will be fighting a steep uphill battle, but the best thing you can do is show the firm how awesome of a litigator you are.


So let's assume I'm interviewing with a firm like WilmerHale SF. 80% of their attorneys are IP litigators; the other 20% (roughly) do transactional work. Truth be told--I still haven't yet decided whether I want to do litigation or corporate (I feel like I would enjoy either). If I were to do litigation, I'd like to be in SF and IP issues interest me.

How do I answer the question when asked "So...what do you want to do?" I'm feeling increasing pressure to pick litigation or transactional. I don't want to say lit. if its going to be an issue. But, I also don't want to say corporate if a firm that leans heavy-lit decides it doesn't need a transactional SA.

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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:31 pm

Jimbo_Jones wrote:This question gets asked at least once a week here. Do a search.


viewtopic.php?f=4&t=211250

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=182618

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=157352


I'm on it. Thank you sir.

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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby lolwat » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:31 pm

A science/engi/tech whatever degree is NOT necessary to do patent litigation. It is only necessary to do patent prosecution.

However, it may as well have become a practical necessity at this point. I used to have people tell me "Yeah, you don't need a tech degree to do patent lit." And a fair number of partners don't. But they've become increasingly in-demand and more and more people have told me something to the effect of "Yeah... you don't really need it, but all the firms really want it now." I'm not sure why--maybe it's just the clients demanding it. I remember Quinn sending out something to everyone asking whether they should raise incoming EE associates' salaries because of client demand for dudes with EE degrees.

OP: I don't know what the best strategy is for you. At this point, when talking to firms, I try to sell myself as a general litigator (commercial litigation, primarily) with an interest in IP if the opportunity arose to do IP work. Can talk about why you're interested in those issues (for me, it's learning about the underlying technologies). Regardless, I'm trying to have my interviewers put me in a "general litigation" frame rather than "IP litigation without tech background."

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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:36 pm

lolwat wrote:At this point, when talking to firms, I try to sell myself as a general litigator (commercial litigation, primarily) with an interest in IP if the opportunity arose to do IP work. Can talk about why you're interested in those issues (for me, it's learning about the underlying technologies). Regardless, I'm trying to have my interviewers put me in a "general litigation" frame rather than "IP litigation without tech background."


I like this. Thank you for the advice.

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pinkcamellia
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby pinkcamellia » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:55 pm

Nammertat wrote:
pinkcamellia wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So I'm interested by IP Litigation and IP issues. I'm a little worried going into interviews though seeing as I don't have a background in Comp Sci/Engineering/Etc.

Is this going to be a huge issue? How do you talk about these sort of things in interviews? How are you seen by interviewers without that sort of experience?


It's only a huge issue if you don't have a degree that will allow you to take and pass the patent bar. It doesn't matter how much you're interested - if you don't have the degree, you can't do IP.

However if you do have a patent bar-eligible degree, you should look into the types of IP work the firm does and ask questions when given the opportunity in your interviews. Try to network with attorneys in your area to get an idea of what kind of conversations you should be having.


This is simply not correct. I am not PB-eligible and have done just fine going after patent lit. Yes it is more difficult, but for someone to say "you can't do IP" is ignorant.


I was talking about typical IP work, in which I would argue you need to pass the patent bar. Every firm that interviewed my SO said PB passage was a requirement to work in their IP dept. Let me be more clear. Yes, PB-eligibility is not required for some firms and types of work, but if you're going to be working in the field with no experience (as OP is saying) I think it would be extremely difficult to obtain IP Lit without PB. The PP is right, it's not impossible. PB is helpful when dealing with the patent office, pros, etc but with training, it would be possible to get into.

Like other posters suggested to you OP, I would sell yourself as a general litigator and get your foot in the door that way. If you want Biglaw, I would find someway to involve yourself with an IP journal etc. to boost their interest in you.

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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So I'm interested by IP Litigation and IP issues. I'm a little worried going into interviews though seeing as I don't have a background in Comp Sci/Engineering/Etc.

Is this going to be a huge issue? How do you talk about these sort of things in interviews? How are you seen by interviewers without that sort of experience?


Current patent litigation associate at a V50 with a great patent litigation practice. I have a grad degree in EE.

If, by IP, you mean patent-related work, you can only do patent litigation if you don't have a technical background.

Good grades from a good law school can get you into patent litigation, be it GP firms or boutiques. But, after you start working, you are competing with the other associates for the firm's internal market. A technical degree makes a huge difference at this point.

According to my observations at my firm, the associates with technical backgrounds, especially those with EE degrees, are always overwhelmingly busy. They do not have to ask for work; partners go to them.

On the other hand, the associates without technical backgrounds are often staffed for discovery types of work and they are behind their hours. More often than not, motion practices and important discovery matters are handled by senior associates with or without technical backgrounds. Non-technical junior associates are viewed negatively by the clients.

So, I guess you can get yourself into a patent litigation group, even if you don't have a technical background (assuming you have good grades or strong connections). It is another story whether you can survive at work or get the amount of work you need to meet your billable requirements.

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KD35
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby KD35 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:24 pm

Can't you also theoretically sit for the patent bar if you take enough physics/chem courses at something like University of Phoenix so long as you take the adequate number of credit hours?

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buttes
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby buttes » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:14 am

Yeah, or pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

Also, it would probably take years to do the additional coursework stuff if you didn't already meet a lot of requirements. The path with the least hours is like 24 hours of physics courses for physics majors. Considering most science curriculums are fairly linear (E/M as prereq for Waves, or whatever) you're looking at quite a few semesters.

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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So I'm interested by IP Litigation and IP issues. I'm a little worried going into interviews though seeing as I don't have a background in Comp Sci/Engineering/Etc.

Is this going to be a huge issue? How do you talk about these sort of things in interviews? How are you seen by interviewers without that sort of experience?


If, by IP, you mean patent-related work, you can only do patent litigation if you don't have a technical background.



Do you mean you're able to do exclusively patent litigation if you lack a technical background? Or do you mean you're incapable of doing anything but patent litigation if you lack a technical background? Either way this makes no sense.

I'm just a summer, but in the IP lit department at a GP V20-30. Grad degree in LS. I passed the patent bar last summer. My impression is that, for patent lit, the PB is a way to demonstrate your sincere interest in the specialty (as opposed to looking like you're just hopping on the bandwagon because you think it'll land you a job). That may not sound like much, but it nudges you above other applicants for the same job in an extremely tight and competitive process.

Otoh the degree is very nearly a hard-line requirement these days. There are older attorneys who specialize in patent lit without a technical degree, but these days it's very rare. You have to really be an all-star. I agree with the advice in this thread. Sell yourself as general lit. When you get an offer for a summer see if you can get a few patent assignments (and trademark/copyright if you're interested and it's available). Impress the pants off whoever assigns you patent work and make them want to go to you when you start full-time. Be careful about picking a firm where this is possible. At my firm you either start as a patent lit summer and come back into the patent lit group or you don't and then you can't, period. The technical degree requirement is an absolute requirement here. You need to seek out a firm that's more flexible in that respect.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:52 pm

Tech background is definitely a plus for patent lit, but it's certainly not required.

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bk1
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby bk1 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:16 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Tech background is definitely a plus for patent lit, but it's certainly not required.

This. It's also heavily firm dependent. While it is likely very difficult to get into patent lit generally without a science background, there are firms that don't really care. If you can swing a firm like Quinn/Kirkland/etc (iirc) you can likely do patent lit without a science background.

I think the real answer is that if you have top grades from a top school, you can likely overcome your lack of a science background by applying to the right firms. If you don't have top grades or are not at a top school then you're probably not going to get yourself into patent lit and, more importantly, you should be praying for any biglaw job not just one in patent lit.

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fltanglab
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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby fltanglab » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:15 am

Do you have any work experience in the sciences? I think going into patent lit with no interest in sciences represented on your resume is going to be tough no matter what your grades look like. I've had interviews where I've been asked to demonstrate my knowledge in engineering and I'm not an engineer (I'm a life sciences person, but luckily I hang out with other scientists). They will want to know that you can fully grasp what's going on and not be confused by the science. IP litigation actually looks very technical in the courtroom because you have to explain complex technologies and make subtle comparisons.

As for interviewing...it's an art and not a science (ha). Honestly you should be able to spin anything into a good answer. And if you can't, then IP is probably not going to be a convincing choice for you. You certainly can't say "I'm interested in IP lit and IP issues." These days I would imagine interviewers would think you're just trying to get a job.

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Re: IP Litigation w/o tech background

Postby Emu Flu » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:17 pm

Some IP boutiques have litigators do a bit of patent prosecution so that they can provide a steady income when litigation becomes slow. A non-patent bar, or a patent attorney with a less desirable background, wouldn't be able to do that.

Also, there are litigation-alternative procedures within the patent office that a non-patent bar attorney would not be allowed to participate in.

It would also be more difficult to go in-house because the standard initial in-house IP position usually requires managing some portion of a patent portfolio and dealing with outside prosecution firms.




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