Getting out of Patent Litigation

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:42 am

Big Shrimpin wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Is it really that bad out there for a Patent lit bro?

Corp work seems like torture.


i see non-life sci potentially getting fukt cuz of patent reform

life sci is where its at just hard 2 get into if u dont have adv deg

biosims whattup


EE won't be affected by reform.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Big Shrimpin » Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Is it really that bad out there for a Patent lit bro?

Corp work seems like torture.


i see non-life sci potentially getting fukt cuz of patent reform

life sci is where its at just hard 2 get into if u dont have adv deg

biosims whattup


EE won't be affected by reform.


explain, anonymous

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FSK
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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby FSK » Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Is it really that bad out there for a Patent lit bro?

Corp work seems like torture.


i see non-life sci potentially getting fukt cuz of patent reform

life sci is where its at just hard 2 get into if u dont have adv deg

biosims whattup


EE won't be affected by reform.


0 reason for this to be anon.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:18 pm

Who cares maybe someone doesn't wanna out they do WE patent lit.

But ee will lose some work to ipr, some to exceptional case, and a lot if real troll reform works. Alice is obviously a non factor.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Big Shrimpin » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:24 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Who cares maybe someone doesn't wanna out they do WE patent lit.

But ee will lose some work to ipr, some to exceptional case, and a lot if real troll reform works. Alice is obviously a non factor.


ya that's what I was thinking

reform/285 will hopefully destroy lots of shitty smash and grab shops

i hate trolls - what an economic leech

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Desert Fox
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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:27 pm

Yea smash and grab doesn't even generate work.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:31 pm

flawschoolkid wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Is it really that bad out there for a Patent lit bro?

Corp work seems like torture.


i see non-life sci potentially getting fukt cuz of patent reform

life sci is where its at just hard 2 get into if u dont have adv deg

biosims whattup


EE won't be affected by reform.


0 reason for this to be anon.


I'm not going to out myself just to please the poasterati. I should have been clearer though: My point was that EE wouldn't be affected by reform any differently than LifeSci/Pharma. And it's even possible overall EE work (lit plus ipr) might pick up as Alice causes trolls to shift from comp sci patents to EE ones.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Big Shrimpin » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:33 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Yea smash and grab doesn't even generate work.


I feel like this is a huge % of total patent cases filed tho?

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:36 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Yea smash and grab doesn't even generate work.


I feel like this is a huge % of total patent cases filed tho?


I guess I interpreted smash and grab differently. I'm talking about tiny little trolls just trying to get 50k to go away. They typically don't even file suits. It is mostly an extortion game.

Troll work in general is a ton of the work, probably the majority. If that gets stopped we are all fucked.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Big Shrimpin » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:46 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Yea smash and grab doesn't even generate work.


I feel like this is a huge % of total patent cases filed tho?


I guess I interpreted smash and grab differently. I'm talking about tiny little trolls just trying to get 50k to go away. They typically don't even file suits. It is mostly an extortion game.

Troll work in general is a ton of the work, probably the majority. If that gets stopped we are all fucked.


ya I meant more like small troll lit shops...the big ones will never go anywhere for sure, since I'm guessing they do a bit more diligence before filing

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:03 am

I'm an EE with a 1L SA at a firm where I've gained exposure to patent lit and pros. Just from reading through threads like this and from my experiences with the work I've decided against patent lit.

However, how much would joining a tech transactions group over a patent pros group affect exit options for in-house? Would it make any difference?

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby jhett » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:07 am

Can you do both tech trans and pros, or switch between the two? I would perhaps start off in pros and shift over to tech trans. Prosecution is cost sensitive, so it gets more difficult to bill towards as you get more senior and your billing rate goes up.

As for exit options, very large tech companies have separate tech trans people, pros people, and IP lit people. Smaller companies usually want someone with experience in all areas. In my experience, it's better to have more varied IP experience than narrow as it provides more flexibility when applying to different jobs.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Aureusmons » Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm an EE with a 1L SA at a firm where I've gained exposure to patent lit and pros. Just from reading through threads like this and from my experiences with the work I've decided against patent lit.

However, how much would joining a tech transactions group over a patent pros group affect exit options for in-house? Would it make any difference?


what turned you off to lit in the 4 weeks you've been there?

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:20 pm

I should have phrased that better. It's really just exit options that has turned me off. I like the work fine and could see myself enjoying working on lit stuff alongside other patent work, as long as I'm not silo-ed into an exclusively patent lit practice.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I should have phrased that better. It's really just exit options that has turned me off. I like the work fine and could see myself enjoying working on lit stuff alongside other patent work, as long as I'm not silo-ed into an exclusively patent lit practice.


This is right. The best place to be right now is in patent prosecution with a side practice of reexams/IPRS. There are a bajillion non-tech shitheads vying for the district court patent litigation work, and that kind of patent lit is going to see the biggest dropoff over the next few years. Non-tech patent lit associates with no IPR experience are basically fucked.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby orangered » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:01 am

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I should have phrased that better. It's really just exit options that has turned me off. I like the work fine and could see myself enjoying working on lit stuff alongside other patent work, as long as I'm not silo-ed into an exclusively patent lit practice.


This is right. The best place to be right now is in patent prosecution with a side practice of reexams/IPRS. There are a bajillion non-tech shitheads vying for the district court patent litigation work, and that kind of patent lit is going to see the biggest dropoff over the next few years. Non-tech patent lit associates with no IPR experience are basically fucked.


Haha, the grass is truly always greener... :)

Coming from a pros (agent) background, I've been thinking of going into patent lit after law school. Pros is really becoming unsustainable for the average biglaw associate: billing rates keep going up and budget expectations (even for non fixed-fee clients) have remained the same for around 15 years. Companies these days, especially the household names in tech, see patents as a commodity, not a legal service. They would rather have 10 garbage patents than 5 valuable ones, and the budgets reflect that. I don't care how efficient someone is: they can't draft a good response to the average office action in 5 hours. Add to that the physical impossibility of billing more than ~2.1k hours in pros, and it's no wonder a lot of work is going to midlaw IP boutiques. Unless firms can convince clients that quality patents are worth paying for, IMO biglaw pros will be dead in <10 years.

As far as IPR work, it's fun and the budgets are reasonable, but everybody wants it. Not a lot of practitioners can make it a significant part of their practice.

At least with lit, there's some extrinsic need to do a good job (i.e., win), and the stakes can be high enough that clients want to hire the best.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby jhett » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:41 am

orangered wrote:Haha, the grass is truly always greener...

Coming from a pros (agent) background, I've been thinking of going into patent lit after law school. Pros is really becoming unsustainable for the average biglaw associate: billing rates keep going up and budget expectations (even for non fixed-fee clients) have remained the same for around 15 years. Companies these days, especially the household names in tech, see patents as a commodity, not a legal service. They would rather have 10 garbage patents than 5 valuable ones, and the budgets reflect that. I don't care how efficient someone is: they can't draft a good response to the average office action in 5 hours. Add to that the physical impossibility of billing more than ~2.1k hours in pros, and it's no wonder a lot of work is going to midlaw IP boutiques. Unless firms can convince clients that quality patents are worth paying for, IMO biglaw pros will be dead in <10 years.

As far as IPR work, it's fun and the budgets are reasonable, but everybody wants it. Not a lot of practitioners can make it a significant part of their practice.

At least with lit, there's some extrinsic need to do a good job (i.e., win), and the stakes can be high enough that clients want to hire the best.


That's why I think diversification is the best route if you're doing biglaw IP. It's tremendously hard to sustain your hours in pure pros as your seniority and bill rate increase. I think a good approach is to start in pros when you're billing rate is low and move on to tech trans or lit as you get more senior.

A lot of the patent agents at my old firm either left or moved into tech trans/lit soon after becoming associates because they realized they couldn't continue doing what they were doing as a patent agent, and their work was drying up because the firm moved it all to newly hired patent agents to keep it under budget. I left as well, to an IP boutique where my billing rate is halved and so I get twice as much time to complete pros assignments. I'm angling for more non-pros work as well due to the commoditization you mentioned.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby SplitMyPants » Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:14 pm

jhett wrote:I left as well, to an IP boutique where my billing rate is halved and so I get twice as much time to complete pros assignments. I'm angling for more non-pros work as well due to the commoditization you mentioned.


How does the boutique pay and billables compare to a biglaw GP, if you don't mind?

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby jhett » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:02 pm

SplitMyPants wrote:How does the boutique pay and billables compare to a biglaw GP, if you don't mind?


It really varies depending on the firm and the type of work it handles (pros for domestic clients, pros for foreign clients, litigation, etc.). My firm is predominately pros for domestic clients, with some opinion work and litigation/quasi-lit on the side. I get roughly 3/4 the pay for 3/4 of biglaw billable hours requirements. The pay also increases as you bill above the minimum so that if you bill biglaw hours you'll get a biglaw-equivalent salary. My base salary is tied to my billable rate - as I get more efficient and come under budget consistently, they bump up my rate and hence my salary. This is one of the better pay structures I've seen for IP boutiques.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Emu Flu » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:50 pm

orangered wrote:I don't care how efficient someone is: they can't draft a good response to the average office action in 5 hours.


I have to disagree there, at least on the EE/CS side.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:20 pm

I'm not sure why any of you would think patent litigation is a good idea at this point. At least you have one barrier to entry with patent pros and IPR stuff: the requirement of a reg number. You better be tippy top of your class at a top law school if you expect to compete long-term in patent litigation. You really have to be one of those "love the law" types to succeed in patent litigation. You have to compete with the (many) people with non-tech degrees who are set on patent lit.

The problem with patent lit is that you will most likely never have a reliable book of business if you are set on district court litigation to the exclusion of everything else. There are only a few dozen attorneys in the entire country who have reliable books of business in patent lit, whereas there are probably thousands of patent prosecutors with reliable books of business. Yeah, your billable rates are lower in patent pros, but at least you have business. As a patent litigator, you will almost certainly be reliant on someone else to feed you work for the vast majority of your career, even if you do end up as the top honcho late in your career.

Couple all of the above with changes to the law like fee shifting (which now looks like it is definitely going to happen) and you guys are setting yourselves up for a pretty shitty career.

I guess it makes sense if you are dead set on being in court.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:55 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:I'm not sure why any of you would think patent litigation is a good idea at this point. At least you have one barrier to entry with patent pros and IPR stuff: the requirement of a reg number. You better be tippy top of your class at a top law school if you expect to compete long-term in patent litigation. You really have to be one of those "love the law" types to succeed in patent litigation. You have to compete with the (many) people with non-tech degrees who are set on patent lit.

The problem with patent lit is that you will most likely never have a reliable book of business if you are set on district court litigation to the exclusion of everything else. There are only a few dozen attorneys in the entire country who have reliable books of business in patent lit, whereas there are probably thousands of patent prosecutors with reliable books of business. Yeah, your billable rates are lower in patent pros, but at least you have business. As a patent litigator, you will almost certainly be reliant on someone else to feed you work for the vast majority of your career, even if you do end up as the top honcho late in your career.

Couple all of the above with changes to the law like fee shifting (which now looks like it is definitely going to happen) and you guys are setting yourselves up for a pretty shitty career.

I guess it makes sense if you are dead set on being in court.


Thanks for the insight. I'm an Agent at a large boutique in law school contemplating switching to patent litigation at a GP firm after law school. Right now my docket is a mix of IPR/prosecution work. At my firm, the litigators also do IPR work since everyone has a patent bar eligible background. By the time I finish law school, I'll have a total of 5 years prosecution experience.

Given the current climate, would it be foolish to jump ship to a GP firm that does patent lit only? Any potential advantages of being in lit vs. pros (other than budget and chances of making partner)? I have noticed that pros tends to be the less "prestigious" out of the two since less is on the stake for the client per work product.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:59 pm

Could you elaborate on why you'd think it's a flame? I just hadn't realized that there were dedicated groups for this in some markets. Given the drawbacks of pros that are talked about (i.e. the commoditization and the issues that accompany that if you're doing pros at a GP), I was legit curious about the practicality of leveraging a tech background to look at one of those groups.

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Re: Getting out of Patent Litigation

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:I'm not sure why any of you would think patent litigation is a good idea at this point. At least you have one barrier to entry with patent pros and IPR stuff: the requirement of a reg number. You better be tippy top of your class at a top law school if you expect to compete long-term in patent litigation. You really have to be one of those "love the law" types to succeed in patent litigation. You have to compete with the (many) people with non-tech degrees who are set on patent lit.

The problem with patent lit is that you will most likely never have a reliable book of business if you are set on district court litigation to the exclusion of everything else. There are only a few dozen attorneys in the entire country who have reliable books of business in patent lit, whereas there are probably thousands of patent prosecutors with reliable books of business. Yeah, your billable rates are lower in patent pros, but at least you have business. As a patent litigator, you will almost certainly be reliant on someone else to feed you work for the vast majority of your career, even if you do end up as the top honcho late in your career.

Couple all of the above with changes to the law like fee shifting (which now looks like it is definitely going to happen) and you guys are setting yourselves up for a pretty shitty career.

I guess it makes sense if you are dead set on being in court.


Thanks for the insight. I'm an Agent at a large boutique in law school contemplating switching to patent litigation at a GP firm after law school. Right now my docket is a mix of IPR/prosecution work. At my firm, the litigators also do IPR work since everyone has a patent bar eligible background. By the time I finish law school, I'll have a total of 5 years prosecution experience.

Given the current climate, would it be foolish to jump ship to a GP firm that does patent lit only? Any potential advantages of being in lit vs. pros (other than budget and chances of making partner)? I have noticed that pros tends to be the less "prestigious" out of the two since less is on the stake for the client per work product.


It really depends on the GP firm. Some GP firms (like Skadden/GDC) almost exclusively do district/appellate court litigation. I would avoid these firms.

Other firms, on the other hand, handle a mix of IPR, ITC, and district court litigation. Covington/Wilmer fall into this camp, as do most of the top boutiques. These are the firms you want to gravitate toward, as they will give you the best experience early on and provide you with better exit options in the long run.

The thing is, if you start in pros, you can always go into lit. The reverse is not always true, in my experience. My old firm hired people with mostly patent pros experience into patent lit because the firm needed their technical expertise and knowledge of how the back-and-forth of the PTO works. I have never heard of a patent lit person going into pros after a few years, however--mostly because of the rising rates issue that people have alluded to.

"Prestige" is 100% meaningless when you are a junior attorney. You should care about one thing and one thing only: BUILDING USEFUL SKILLS. That includes IPR, reexam, etc. Doc review, discovery, etc. is going to get you no separation whatsoever from the unwashed masses of shitheads that are still going to try to get into patent litigation without a tech degree.

Making partner in any practice is a long shot, so don't worry about it. First, worry about developing skills (BEFORE you get siloed into something useless). THEN, worry about building a book of business. Finally, after all of that, you can think about making partner. Making partner is not the goal, however. Building a book of business is. If you have a book of business, the world is your oyster. Until then, you are someone's bitch, even if your title is "partner." And no, not all service "partners" make the big bucks. Some make even less than associates!




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