Exit Ops - Patent Law

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Exit Ops - Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:48 am

What kind of exit opportunities are out there for ex-patent attorneys? I'm a rising 3L, and having done patent pros and patent lit work this summer I can tell I don't think I'm going to want to be a lawyer my entire life. I enjoy the work, it's interesting, but constantly keeping track of what I'm doing every 6 minutes is going to wear me down.

I think I would be interested in something business-related where I can apply the experience I'll have gained from working as an attorney for 5-10 years. However, I don't really know what that would look like exactly. Thoughts?

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DildaMan

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Re: Exit Ops - Patent Law

Postby DildaMan » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:39 pm

Pros
In-house prosecution/tech trans counsel - nearly every company has an IP department/budget
USPTO Examiner

Lit
In-house lit/tech trans counsel - tech companies, investment firms, etc
Fed - PTAB/ITC Staff Attorney

While not common, I have peers that have gone to DoJ or accepted positions as permanent? district court clerks.

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Re: Exit Ops - Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:35 pm

DildaMan wrote:Pros
In-house prosecution/tech trans counsel - nearly every company has an IP department/budget
USPTO Examiner

Lit
In-house lit/tech trans counsel - tech companies, investment firms, etc
Fed - PTAB/ITC Staff Attorney

While not common, I have peers that have gone to DoJ or accepted positions as permanent? district court clerks.


Thanks. I'm surprised at the DOJ. Care to expand on that?

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Re: Exit Ops - Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:28 pm

Business-wise you can go in-house. While I agree with the other poster that every company has an IP department, I would stress that not every company actually does any patent work in-house. If you were in-house patent counsel you may get to do the same patent stuff you were doing before, or you may just be supervising what OC is doing and making sure everything is in budget/on track to be completed by the necessary deadlines. They may also have you doing non-patent legal work, depending on how small the company is (e.g., a startup may technically hire you as a patent attorney but you may end up morphing into a GC for them). So if you think you'll want to do something very different after working in patent pros/lit, this could be a good option.

Smaller firms also tend to be more lax than biglaw/high-end boutiques when it comes to billables, so that's another option. You could lateral in with a promotion to SC/partner and not have the kinds of pressures you'd have in biglaw (being partner at any firm's not going to be a cakewalk, but you get my meaning).

You could also work for the Fed CoA as a clerk if you have clerking experience/have some good patent experience. They semi-regularly look for clerks and having years of patent experience (especially pros/lit) would be a plus.

For DoJ, some people in patent lit with clerking experience can get into the civil side of DoJ and continue doing (not patent) lit there. You would still be doing "lawyer stuff" there, but without the billable hours requirements you'd get at larger firms.

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Re: Exit Ops - Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Business-wise you can go in-house. While I agree with the other poster that every company has an IP department, I would stress that not every company actually does any patent work in-house. If you were in-house patent counsel you may get to do the same patent stuff you were doing before, or you may just be supervising what OC is doing and making sure everything is in budget/on track to be completed by the necessary deadlines. They may also have you doing non-patent legal work, depending on how small the company is (e.g., a startup may technically hire you as a patent attorney but you may end up morphing into a GC for them). So if you think you'll want to do something very different after working in patent pros/lit, this could be a good option.

Smaller firms also tend to be more lax than biglaw/high-end boutiques when it comes to billables, so that's another option. You could lateral in with a promotion to SC/partner and not have the kinds of pressures you'd have in biglaw (being partner at any firm's not going to be a cakewalk, but you get my meaning).

You could also work for the Fed CoA as a clerk if you have clerking experience/have some good patent experience. They semi-regularly look for clerks and having years of patent experience (especially pros/lit) would be a plus.

For DoJ, some people in patent lit with clerking experience can get into the civil side of DoJ and continue doing (not patent) lit there. You would still be doing "lawyer stuff" there, but without the billable hours requirements you'd get at larger firms.


Thanks. That's about what I figured, but didn't know if there were any unicorn positions or something out there to be aware of.

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Re: Exit Ops - Patent Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For DoJ, some people in patent lit with clerking experience can get into the civil side of DoJ and continue doing (not patent) lit there. You would still be doing "lawyer stuff" there, but without the billable hours requirements you'd get at larger firms.


This is accurate. There is more autonomy and you actually manage your own cases rather than being relegated to smaller roles in many cases. The peers that went to the DoJ, CA and Fed, all had stellar credentials and clerked for a federal judge at some point.



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