Why is patent lit more profitable than pro for associates?

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Why is patent lit more profitable than pro for associates?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:39 pm

I often hear that you earn a lot more in patent litigation than in prosecution. Which of my following understanding is/are correct?
1. Litigation associates and prosecution associates are still paid exactly the same rate in big law or IP boutique.
2. Partner in litigation may bring home more than pro simply because lit is more profitable for firm.
3. Litigation can get into big firm more easily than pro only because most big firms focus on lit, which makes it high salary.
4. Litigation associates get bigger bonus?
Thanks!

yost

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Re: Why is patent lit more profitable than pro for associates?

Postby yost » Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:39 am

Most pros. is fixed-fee, and junior associates are inefficient. That's a bad combination.

Bluem_11

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Re: Why is patent lit more profitable than pro for associates?

Postby Bluem_11 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 3:58 pm

You earn more, but pros get to go home at 5 every day if they can do their job well (at non big-law). In lit you can bill easier, particularly to start because you're doing research, motions or doc review as opposed to doing 50 hours of app writing on a 30 hour budget.

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Re: Why is patent lit more profitable than pro for associates?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:45 am

It's just a lot easier (in biglaw) for lit associates to bill than pros associates. Lit associates can generally bill for all their work, whereas a lot of pros work is fixed fees, and the partners may chew you out if you actually bill $5k for work that the client was only willing to pay $3k for. Couple that with the fact that many firms don't lower billing rates or requirements for pros associates, and you just get a situation where it's so much easier to get good hours (which are necessary for good bonuses) when you're doing lit. Because lit's often seen as more prestigious than pros in many firms, many firms will also raise a senior lit associate to partner, before they do the same for a senior pros associate (not that it's impossible to be a pros partner, but your best chance will be to lateral in). This is assuming your lit group has a lot of work, though.

Boutiques are a little different; you're getting paid less as a pros because the revenue from pros is less, but they often also compensate for that by reducing your billing requirement, or doing other things to make your life easier.

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nealric

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Re: Why is patent lit more profitable than pro for associates?

Postby nealric » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I often hear that you earn a lot more in patent litigation than in prosecution. Which of my following understanding is/are correct?
1. Litigation associates and prosecution associates are still paid exactly the same rate in big law or IP boutique.
2. Partner in litigation may bring home more than pro simply because lit is more profitable for firm.
3. Litigation can get into big firm more easily than pro only because most big firms focus on lit, which makes it high salary.
4. Litigation associates get bigger bonus?
Thanks!


Ultimately, this type of stuff is "follow the money." When you are Apple being Sued by Samsung for billions of dollars and a potential injunction to stop selling your most profitable product, there is no legal bill that could be too much. But on the prosecution side, the value is usually hypothetical, and your company probably files oodles of applications every year. When work gets commodified, it gets paid commodified rates. There are of course exceptions, but the lit side is just a lot more likely to bring in a big fee.

What it means to the associate is that the litigation associate is going to bring in more cash, which means the litigation associate is likely to be viewed as more valuable and treated as such.For that reason, if I were going to do something like patent prosecution, I'd try to do it as a boutique specializing in it. That way, you aren't a black sheep by virtue of your practice area.



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