How to get into IP law (1L question)

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Anonymous User
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How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:41 am

I'm asking this on behalf of a friend because I think you guys would be very helpful.

I have a friend who has an engineering background and about 6 years of work experience in that field. He wants to do IP law or something using his engineering background. He currently goes to a top 20 school and is a 1L right now, so he's quite green.

What should he do to have the best shot at IP law (patent too?) or anything related? He wants big law (he thinks for now) for a few years and then maybe transition into something else.

Should he take the patent bar? What should he do for his 1L summer? Do you have any other fields or areas to recommend?

thx!

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:46 am

Optimal 1L summer would be biglaw patent practice. Another option is to work for the USPTO but that's for free.
Figure out if he wants pros or lit. Most IP people want pros, but I don't understand why. If not doing IP work 1L summer, and wants lit, do lit work anywhere.
IP has a national congregation of IP firms called PLIP in chicago in June. If he does well in school (i.e. top 1/3) he'll be fine with that background.

Patent bar instead of studying for 1L core classes is a bad idea.

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Anciano
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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby Anciano » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:40 am

Hipster but Athletic wrote:Optimal 1L summer would be biglaw patent practice. Another option is to work for the USPTO but that's for free.
Figure out if he wants pros or lit. Most IP people want pros, but I don't understand why. If not doing IP work 1L summer, and wants lit, do lit work anywhere.
IP has a national congregation of IP firms called PLIP in chicago in June. If he does well in school (i.e. top 1/3) he'll be fine with that background.

Patent bar instead of studying for 1L core classes is a bad idea.

I agree with all of this, except that PLIP is actually in early August but registration ends relatively early in the spring. I'd add that law school grades are still very important for patent litigation, but significantly less so for patent prosecution. Also, while it's helpful to do something patent-related at a firm or at the USPTO over 1L summer, it's not necessary. Depending on your market, 1L SAs may be practically nonexistent, and the USPTO doesn't take many interns, but 2L SAs are much more common.

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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:31 am

He should probably take the patent bar at some point. But not during 1L year.

He could also do a judicial internship if he's going for lit. Not so much for pros.

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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:40 am

Can someone give me a brief description of what patent prosecution an patent litigation are? I'm not sure if my 1L friend totally knows, and I sure don't.

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bk1
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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby bk1 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can someone give me a brief description of what patent prosecution an patent litigation are? I'm not sure if my 1L friend totally knows, and I sure don't.

Patent prosecution is representing a client, who seeks to obtain a patent, before the USPTO and negotiating with examiners at the USPTO for the issuance of a patent. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_prosecution

Patent litigation deals with defending or suing clients involved in alleged patent infringement. This will share many elements with litigation generally but will also have its own unique aspects such as Markman Hearings and the fact that patent law is of course substantively different than other areas of law (so you will have to deal with prior art, obviousness, inducement, etc).

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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:40 pm

Thanks! That is very helpful.

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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:17 pm

I don't think it really matters if he does anything IP related 1L summer. I was fortunate enough to have a callback at an IP boutique for a 1L SA position, but unfortunately did not get the job. I worked at a small firm that did anything but IP and it didn't seem to hurt me when it came to PLIP/OCI. For reference I was close to top 1/3 at a top30 school and landed a few offers (1 V50, 1 V100, 2 at large IP boutiques) and went straight from my undergraduate ME degree to law school. No work experience as an engineer. So long as your friend keeps his law school grades up he should be okay.

Also, I did not take the patent bar yet and even though I was studying and planning to take it during interview season, I decided not to. The firms did not care, and now they will pay for my prep classes/patent bar (I'm just required to take it within the first 2 years). Having the reg number might help to a certain degree, but as long as you are qualified to take it, I feel as though it wouldn't help much more than being a good interviewer would.

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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:50 am

If you have the right degree and/or experience, working as a student associate is a real possibility (at least it is if you can got to school part-time). Student associates work full time and go to school at night, and the firm generally pays for your tuition in addition to your salary. A fair number of people in DC do it. Although this is typically for 2Ls and 3Ls, and typically for prosecution, I know some firms hire 1Ls and some firms (including Quinn) hire for litigation.

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Jsa725
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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby Jsa725 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:14 pm

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Last edited by Jsa725 on Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:19 pm

I took a different route, and it worked out really well for me. I externed for a fed judge after 1L, and that beefed up my legal writing chops (wrote a published opinion that I could use as a writing sample). While I was there, I attended a Markman hearing (a term I wasn't yet familiar with at the time) in another judge's courtroom and spoke with some of the litigators on the case. They all recommended trying to get experience in both lit and pros where possible.

I actually ended up working in-house for one of the parties in the hearing the following summer doing almost entirely pros work with a little lit related research. They recommended me to some of their outside counsel, and I got multiple offers out of it. I studied for and took the patent bar at the end of my 2L summer and worked as an agent for a mid-size firm during 3L to get prep/pros experience.

I went to PLIP as a rising 3L, and found that it could have been really beneficial had I gone after 1L. If you're looking for midwest or some NY/DC biglaw type stuff, PLIP is a really great option, especially with top 15%-ish grades (although I would recommend it to any IP-minded 1L, regardless of grades). Every rising 2L at my school ended up with an SA with firms like Covington, Finnegan, etc.

Basically I am saying that there are multiple ways to get there. Great options include tech transfer offices, SA gigs, USPTO, in-house, and fed court.

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Re: How to get into IP law (1L question)

Postby ipguy » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:32 pm

What degree and what field? This will govern a lot of the advice.




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