Patent litigation job market question

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Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:14 pm

I'm a second year associate in biglaw patent lit, considering a lateral move, going inhouse, or even career change. From the research I've done and and anecdotally, it seems like firms are hemorrhaging patent lit jobs with the slowdown since alice/fee shifting. Is it worth it to stay on this sinking ship? Or should I try to exit to something more stable now before its too late and all the exit options are taken?

Background is CS.

Please advise.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a second year associate in biglaw patent lit, considering a lateral move, going inhouse, or even career change. From the research I've done and and anecdotally, it seems like firms are hemorrhaging patent lit jobs with the slowdown since alice/fee shifting. Is it worth it to stay on this sinking ship? Or should I try to exit to something more stable now before its too late and all the exit options are taken?

Background is CS.

Please advise.


Alice didn't stop the half a billion dollar webstreaming case against apple last month. We are good bro, at least for now.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:49 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a second year associate in biglaw patent lit, considering a lateral move, going inhouse, or even career change. From the research I've done and and anecdotally, it seems like firms are hemorrhaging patent lit jobs with the slowdown since alice/fee shifting. Is it worth it to stay on this sinking ship? Or should I try to exit to something more stable now before its too late and all the exit options are taken?

Background is CS.

Please advise.


Alice didn't stop the half a billion dollar webstreaming case against apple last month. We are good bro, at least for now.


id bet anything that the fed circuit will invalidate that patent. hoping you're right though

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:40 pm

Not sure I'd call a couple of unstable firms cutting staff and chaff "hemorrhaging jobs."

As many have noted elsewhere, if you're a polysci bro who lucked into patent lit out of law school, yep you're in trouble. If you have a tech background and a reg number, the work is just moving to the PTAB instead.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:Not sure I'd call a couple of unstable firms cutting staff and chaff "hemorrhaging jobs."

As many have noted elsewhere, if you're a polysci bro who lucked into patent lit out of law school, yep you're in trouble. If you have a tech background and a reg number, the work is just moving to the PTAB instead.


Would you say this is true for people (with science backgrounds) who are purely in patent litigation groups (don't do much/any prosecution)

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Big Shrimpin » Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:30 pm

just do life sciences brah

this country is built upon drugs

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not sure I'd call a couple of unstable firms cutting staff and chaff "hemorrhaging jobs."

As many have noted elsewhere, if you're a polysci bro who lucked into patent lit out of law school, yep you're in trouble. If you have a tech background and a reg number, the work is just moving to the PTAB instead.


Would you say this is true for people (with science backgrounds) who are purely in patent litigation groups (don't do much/any prosecution)


Anon above. I would get a reg number if you don't have one and start learning about PTAB practice.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby anonymuos » Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a second year associate in biglaw patent lit, considering a lateral move, going inhouse, or even career change. From the research I've done and and anecdotally, it seems like firms are hemorrhaging patent lit jobs with the slowdown since alice/fee shifting. Is it worth it to stay on this sinking ship? Or should I try to exit to something more stable now before its too late and all the exit options are taken?

Background is CS.

Please advise.


In my experience, firms are not hemorrhaging patent lit jobs. I do not think patent lit is a hot market anymore, and when people leave they might not be replaced as rapidly as before. But I haven't seen or heard of mass layoffs or focused stealth layoffs of patent lit attorneys.

IMO: Alice won't kill software patents. Not right now at least. DDR and other CAFC decisions (yet to be issued, like McRO) will keep them alive, unless SCOTUS jumps into the fray again. I think SCOTUS is done smacking CAFC around for now, and will probably let CAFC see if they can figure out 101 with respect to software patents. It might end up being a slight mess, but it will at least take another 3-4 years for the dust to settle. In the meantime, uncertainty in law can often lead to the need for good attorneys.

In short, I don't see a reason to panic. But I also don't see a reason to jump into patent lit. If you like the job, stay at it. If you don't, start looking. Simple as that.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:53 pm

anonymuos wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a second year associate in biglaw patent lit, considering a lateral move, going inhouse, or even career change. From the research I've done and and anecdotally, it seems like firms are hemorrhaging patent lit jobs with the slowdown since alice/fee shifting. Is it worth it to stay on this sinking ship? Or should I try to exit to something more stable now before its too late and all the exit options are taken?

Background is CS.

Please advise.


In my experience, firms are not hemorrhaging patent lit jobs. I do not think patent lit is a hot market anymore, and when people leave they might not be replaced as rapidly as before. But I haven't seen or heard of mass layoffs or focused stealth layoffs of patent lit attorneys.

IMO: Alice won't kill software patents. Not right now at least. DDR and other CAFC decisions (yet to be issued, like McRO) will keep them alive, unless SCOTUS jumps into the fray again. I think SCOTUS is done smacking CAFC around for now, and will probably let CAFC see if they can figure out 101 with respect to software patents. It might end up being a slight mess, but it will at least take another 3-4 years for the dust to settle. In the meantime, uncertainty in law can often lead to the need for good attorneys.

In short, I don't see a reason to panic. But I also don't see a reason to jump into patent lit. If you like the job, stay at it. If you don't, start looking. Simple as that.


Thank you for this.
You're not worried about antitroll legislation?

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not sure I'd call a couple of unstable firms cutting staff and chaff "hemorrhaging jobs."

As many have noted elsewhere, if you're a polysci bro who lucked into patent lit out of law school, yep you're in trouble. If you have a tech background and a reg number, the work is just moving to the PTAB instead.


Would you say this is true for people (with science backgrounds) who are purely in patent litigation groups (don't do much/any prosecution)


Anon above. I would get a reg number if you don't have one and start learning about PTAB practice.

New anon here. Probably this. I'm at a boutique that does some high level PTAB work. They pulled me in knowing I don't have a Reg number, but said it would not be bad for me to get one to participate in the PTAB practice, specifically, to take depos and argue at hearings.

That said, to person above on anti-trolling legislation, there has definitely been a decline of new suits filed in 2015. The real party in interest+loser pays provision makes they ultimate movers of the NPE legislation a little concerned, I think. This is having an immediate effect because of the retroactive application that is written into the bill (unlike the massive filings that hit pre-AIA). I don't know if the bill will be as harsh as it is written now, but I expect it will be passed in some form. We'll see how it goes from there. But, I do think patent lit is cooling.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Desert Fox » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:07 pm

I think democrats will stop the fee shifting. The trial lawyer lobby has got to be terrified of the America rule on fees dying.

Any other troll provisions won't do shit.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:45 pm

Yeah, I think most attorneys should be shitting the bed to some extent over the potential of fee shifting getting introduced en masse in American litigation. Say bye bye to 30% or more of attorney jobs if the American rule goes away.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Big Shrimpin » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:00 pm

guess i shuld start figuring out what to do

im thinking maybe BIGBARISTA ir BIGRETAIL

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby kcdc1 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:26 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Yeah, I think most attorneys should be shitting the bed to some extent over the potential of fee shifting getting introduced en masse in American litigation. Say bye bye to 30% or more of attorney jobs if the American rule goes away.

FWIW, theory does not necessarily predict that fee-shifting will reduce the amount of litigation. Fee-shifting should discourage meritless claims brought to extract settlements, but it should also encourage meritorious claims where the plaintiff might not have otherwise brought suit due the expense of litigation.

Fee-shifting has also been shown to reduce parties' inclination to settle, so the claims that do get filed might turn into more attorney work under a fee-shifting model.

Might not work out this way in patent litigation tho. Mostly depends on whether the NPE's have stronger patents to which they can redirect their efforts.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat May 09, 2015 5:09 pm

kcdc1 wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Yeah, I think most attorneys should be shitting the bed to some extent over the potential of fee shifting getting introduced en masse in American litigation. Say bye bye to 30% or more of attorney jobs if the American rule goes away.

FWIW, theory does not necessarily predict that fee-shifting will reduce the amount of litigation. Fee-shifting should discourage meritless claims brought to extract settlements, but it should also encourage meritorious claims where the plaintiff might not have otherwise brought suit due the expense of litigation.

Fee-shifting has also been shown to reduce parties' inclination to settle, so the claims that do get filed might turn into more attorney work under a fee-shifting model.

Might not work out this way in patent litigation tho. Mostly depends on whether the NPE's have stronger patents to which they can redirect their efforts.


No matter how "meritorious" your case is, you're still dealing with American juries, which are hardly predictable (especially in patent cases when they don't know shit about what is going on in the case).

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby kcdc1 » Sun May 10, 2015 9:54 am

But as long as odds of winning at trial are >50%, fee shifting increases risk/settlement pressure on defendants more than on plaintiffs. Just need to bring good cases and fee shifting helps plaintiffs instead of hurting.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:38 pm

OP here. Still employed, but there's been a major slowdown in work at my firm, and every day feels like it could be my last. Have been searching for 3 months now for in-house jobs, with no luck. Thinking of going back into coding at this point, maybe getting an MBA or Masters in CS if need be. Please advise.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby h2go » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Still employed, but there's been a major slowdown in work at my firm, and every day feels like it could be my last. Have been searching for 3 months now for in-house jobs, with no luck. Thinking of going back into coding at this point, maybe getting an MBA or Masters in CS if need be. Please advise.


Why don't you stick around at your firm for a while? At least you are being paid without needing to work a lot. It's hard to go in house with so little experience and it seems like a waste of your tuition to just go back into engineering.

It's hard to say if EE/CS lit is really going to die down that much. In general, patent lit is picking up again from a slow beginning of the year/end of 2014, although it seems to be mostly pharma stuff. Litigation has its ups and downs. You aren't going to get fired just cause there was a temporary slowdown.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby kcdc1 » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:37 pm

Do you do IPR/CBM work? Seems like a lot of district court litigations were stayed pending PTO challenge as the AIA proceedings became mainstream. Workflow could stabilize a bit as district courts lift stays on the surviving patents.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:11 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:just do life sciences brah

this country is built upon drugs

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:32 pm

kcdc1 wrote:Do you do IPR/CBM work? Seems like a lot of district court litigations were stayed pending PTO challenge as the AIA proceedings became mainstream. Workflow could stabilize a bit as district courts lift stays on the surviving patents.


My firm doesn't seem interested IPRs (margins are too low), so no. And even if I lateralled to a firm that does do IPR/PTAB work, not sure how long that gravy train will last, since almost all the CS patents appear to be getting thrown out.

Desert Fox wrote:My firm is still having a tough time hiring laterals with EE. Is it really that bad out there?


Lateralling is definitely an option, and I've had a few recruiters contact me in the past couple months. But it just seems like I'd be trading one sinking ship for another. Plus, CS seems to be less in demand than EE.

h2go wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Still employed, but there's been a major slowdown in work at my firm, and every day feels like it could be my last. Have been searching for 3 months now for in-house jobs, with no luck. Thinking of going back into coding at this point, maybe getting an MBA or Masters in CS if need be. Please advise.


Why don't you stick around at your firm for a while? At least you are being paid without needing to work a lot. It's hard to go in house with so little experience and it seems like a waste of your tuition to just go back into engineering.

It's hard to say if EE/CS lit is really going to die down that much. In general, patent lit is picking up again from a slow beginning of the year/end of 2014, although it seems to be mostly pharma stuff. Litigation has its ups and downs. You aren't going to get fired just cause there was a temporary slowdown.


Based on the results of my brief but disappointing in-house job search, I definitely plan on sticking around as long as possible until I get shitcanned. For the most part, I like my firm and the people I work with. But the uptick in bio/pharma cases hasn't led to any improvement, as far as I can see, in the CS/EE lit market.

My biggest concern is that the longer I stay in a field that is (or at least appears to be) dying, the harder it will be to get back into tech work. My coding skills are rusty after 5+ years in law, and I'm already probably too "old" by Silicon Valley standards.

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Re: Patent litigation job market question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:41 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Your firm is dumb as hell for not getting an IPR/CBM practice up and running. The margins are lower than normal work. But clients expect you to do one if the case is suitable.

What do you guys do? Just suggest not doing one or refer the client to someone else?

Every case I'm does an IPR now. It's part of the district court process now.

Are you at a V20? Those firms are slowly just getting out of the game. Or that's what a pumo in the other IP thread says, I don't work at one.


FWIW, my V20 is starting up an IPR/CBM practice, having all of its eligible patent litigators get reg numbers, etc.

Edit: and I'm just sitting here with my social science degree, trying to jump ship.




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