Future Patent Attorney questions......

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MurderafterMidnight

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Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby MurderafterMidnight » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:34 pm

Plan on applying to law school soon.

If I were seeking a job as a patent attorney, which of these areas of specialization is most sought after by those hiring patent attorneys with a EE degree?

1. Semiconductor + circuit
2. Software + embedded
3. Telecommunication + network

jhett

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby jhett » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:41 am

I wouldn't sweat it and just pick the one that interests you the most. I am an EE patent attorney and can handle patent work for all three categories you list. If I didn't learn it in school, I would learn it on the job (e.g., by reading prior patent applications from the client to learn their technology). Most employers actually expect you to be able to handle a wide variety of technologies, so what matters more is your ability to learn quickly rather than what you've already learned.

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:15 am

I agree with the first responder. Here is my take:

It sounds like you’re in undergrad, trying to pick a specialty for your final few semesters. If so, good for you for thinking so far ahead.

The reality is that it does not matter what “specialty” you study in school at the undergrad level. It really only starts to matter at the graduate level. Regardless, study what you like most. If you don’t really care which path you take (I didn’t), specialize in what is the easiest to get good grades in. That is likely a professor-specific decision. Breadth is good.

Patent attorneys are, generally speaking, hired based on the fact that you actually have an EE degree. Do you have one? Check. Law firms often want your technical vocabulary much more than technical expertise. The general rule of thumb is that if you’re smart enough to earn an EE degree (I.e., any EE degree), then you’re probably smart enough to learn about your clients’ technologies on the job, even if they are outside of what you studied in school.

Patent attorneys in law firms work on a wide range of technologies, often completely unrelated to undergrad specialty. This is because as an attorney, you do whatever work that the client needs done. Working as a patent attorney in-house for a specific company could be more focused on one type of technology, but it’s not necessarily narrower in scope. For example, if you did the telecom specialization and worked for Intel, you may still work with chip designs, WiFi protocols, software interfaces, etc. all in the same day.

FWIW, EE specialization probably matters most on the prosecution side. Patent attorneys are, in theory, staffed on client matters that align with their specialities. For example, if you specialized in telecom, then you may be assigned more AT&T work as opposed to others who did circuit design as a specialty. Again though, often times the work is divvied out based on availability and client need as opposed to the patent attorney’s desires or expertise. The EE degree is a Swiss Army knife and will allow you to work on al kinds of stuff, even stuff that isn’t electrical at all.

The most uncommon type of EE specialty is probably your semiconductors and circuit design option. Hardware is complex and many people don’t have the patience for it, so you could do that and set yourself apart a little bit. Out of the three options, this is the most niche one (for better or for worse).

There is plenty of telecom work to go around, both prosecution and litigation, and in NY, CA, TX... Honestly my networking classes have been some of the most helpful and useful courses in my practice. I would take at least one if you can.

Software work is probably the most common, and thus maybe the most in demand. Obviously there is a lot of overlap with software and networking/computing in general. As far as buzz words go, cloud computing, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence are really hot right now.

Patents don’t typically involve much programming jargon, as it is more focused on what the code does / how a device executes the code. Frankly the word “embedded” as in your second option of specializations is pretty technical. Remember, a patent attorney’a job is to communicate technical information in the simplest way possible. Keep in mind that in the real world, very few people, including judges, have science or engineering backgrounds.

My tl;dr advice: don’t sweat this decision, as any of these three options will suffice. Pick the specialization you like best. If you don’t like any of them, pick the one that maximizes your GPA. Maybe take a networking class.

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:19 am

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby totesTheGoat » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:59 pm

MurderafterMidnight wrote:Plan on applying to law school soon.

If I were seeking a job as a patent attorney, which of these areas of specialization is most sought after by those hiring patent attorneys with a EE degree?

1. Semiconductor + circuit
2. Software + embedded
3. Telecommunication + network



Go work for 2 or 3 years in the industry before going to law school. You'll thank me later. Specialty doesn't really matter for patent law. I specialized in software + embedded (as much as we could specialize... it wasn't a formal thing), worked in telecom as an engineer, and I've done patent work on everything from privacy fences (yes, a patent on a fence) to artificial intelligence, including semiconductors, software, embedded, telecom, networking... heck, I'm procrastinating on a digital circuit app right now. I work at a silicon valley tech company alongside physics majors, biomed engineers, mechanical engineers, EEs, CmpEs, and more. EE/CmpE is a boost, but nobody looks at your undergrad transcript for a specialization when hiring for a legal position. Being an expert in a certain area may get you pulled into certain projects (one of the first apps I prosecuted at my first law firm job was for a feature of the product that I worked on at my engineering job).

Seriously though, 2 years in industry before starting law school. According to the biglaw hiring partner that hired me to my first legal job, that is the "ideal experience level" for an entry level patent prosecution attorney. Also, take the patent bar before you go to law school and work 10-20 hours/week as a patent agent through law school. If you graduate from law school with 2 years engineering experience, a USPTO reg number, 3 years of part-time patent prosecution experience, and a decent GPA, you'll be able to work wherever you want. Call me up in 5 years with that resume, and you can come sit next to me.

If you want to do patent litigation, none of this applies. I'd maybe take the patent bar and do some prosecution during law school. Knowing how to do prosecution is a good skill to have as a patent litigator. However, you don't even need an engineering degree to do patent litigation. Some of the best patent litigators I know have humanities degrees.

MurderafterMidnight

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby MurderafterMidnight » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I agree with the first responder. Here is my take:

It sounds like you’re in undergrad, trying to pick a specialty for your final few semesters. If so, good for you for thinking so far ahead.

The reality is that it does not matter what “specialty” you study in school at the undergrad level. It really only starts to matter at the graduate level. Regardless, study what you like most. If you don’t really care which path you take (I didn’t), specialize in what is the easiest to get good grades in. That is likely a professor-specific decision. Breadth is good.

Patent attorneys are, generally speaking, hired based on the fact that you actually have an EE degree. Do you have one? Check. Law firms often want your technical vocabulary much more than technical expertise. The general rule of thumb is that if you’re smart enough to earn an EE degree (I.e., any EE degree), then you’re probably smart enough to learn about your clients’ technologies on the job, even if they are outside of what you studied in school.

Patent attorneys in law firms work on a wide range of technologies, often completely unrelated to undergrad specialty. This is because as an attorney, you do whatever work that the client needs done. Working as a patent attorney in-house for a specific company could be more focused on one type of technology, but it’s not necessarily narrower in scope. For example, if you did the telecom specialization and worked for Intel, you may still work with chip designs, WiFi protocols, software interfaces, etc. all in the same day.

FWIW, EE specialization probably matters most on the prosecution side. Patent attorneys are, in theory, staffed on client matters that align with their specialities. For example, if you specialized in telecom, then you may be assigned more AT&T work as opposed to others who did circuit design as a specialty. Again though, often times the work is divvied out based on availability and client need as opposed to the patent attorney’s desires or expertise. The EE degree is a Swiss Army knife and will allow you to work on al kinds of stuff, even stuff that isn’t electrical at all.

The most uncommon type of EE specialty is probably your semiconductors and circuit design option. Hardware is complex and many people don’t have the patience for it, so you could do that and set yourself apart a little bit. Out of the three options, this is the most niche one (for better or for worse).

There is plenty of telecom work to go around, both prosecution and litigation, and in NY, CA, TX... Honestly my networking classes have been some of the most helpful and useful courses in my practice. I would take at least one if you can.

Software work is probably the most common, and thus maybe the most in demand. Obviously there is a lot of overlap with software and networking/computing in general. As far as buzz words go, cloud computing, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence are really hot right now.

Patents don’t typically involve much programming jargon, as it is more focused on what the code does / how a device executes the code. Frankly the word “embedded” as in your second option of specializations is pretty technical. Remember, a patent attorney’a job is to communicate technical information in the simplest way possible. Keep in mind that in the real world, very few people, including judges, have science or engineering backgrounds.

My tl;dr advice: don’t sweat this decision, as any of these three options will suffice. Pick the specialization you like best. If you don’t like any of them, pick the one that maximizes your GPA. Maybe take a networking class.


Thanks man I appreciate that.....

MurderafterMidnight

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby MurderafterMidnight » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:59 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
MurderafterMidnight wrote:Plan on applying to law school soon.

If I were seeking a job as a patent attorney, which of these areas of specialization is most sought after by those hiring patent attorneys with a EE degree?

1. Semiconductor + circuit
2. Software + embedded
3. Telecommunication + network



Go work for 2 or 3 years in the industry before going to law school. You'll thank me later. Specialty doesn't really matter for patent law. I specialized in software + embedded (as much as we could specialize... it wasn't a formal thing), worked in telecom as an engineer, and I've done patent work on everything from privacy fences (yes, a patent on a fence) to artificial intelligence, including semiconductors, software, embedded, telecom, networking... heck, I'm procrastinating on a digital circuit app right now. I work at a silicon valley tech company alongside physics majors, biomed engineers, mechanical engineers, EEs, CmpEs, and more. EE/CmpE is a boost, but nobody looks at your undergrad transcript for a specialization when hiring for a legal position. Being an expert in a certain area may get you pulled into certain projects (one of the first apps I prosecuted at my first law firm job was for a feature of the product that I worked on at my engineering job).

Seriously though, 2 years in industry before starting law school. According to the biglaw hiring partner that hired me to my first legal job, that is the "ideal experience level" for an entry level patent prosecution attorney. Also, take the patent bar before you go to law school and work 10-20 hours/week as a patent agent through law school. If you graduate from law school with 2 years engineering experience, a USPTO reg number, 3 years of part-time patent prosecution experience, and a decent GPA, you'll be able to work wherever you want. Call me up in 5 years with that resume, and you can come sit next to me.

If you want to do patent litigation, none of this applies. I'd maybe take the patent bar and do some prosecution during law school. Knowing how to do prosecution is a good skill to have as a patent litigator. However, you don't even need an engineering degree to do patent litigation. Some of the best patent litigators I know have humanities degrees.


Thanks I really appreciate that and I will look into part time patent work once i start law school................
I got a question. Is the bullseye patent bar products still useful??????? Any other study advice???

MurderafterMidnight

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby MurderafterMidnight » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:01 pm

Guys thanks for the advice. I will look into part time patent work, while i'm in law school.

Is the bullseye patent bar products still useful??????? Any other study advice???

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby totesTheGoat » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:27 pm

MurderafterMidnight wrote:Is the bullseye patent bar products still useful??????? Any other study advice???


I've never heard of bullseye, so I don't know. I used PLI and found it quite adequate. Passed on my first attempt without studying very hard. You want something with a good electronic practice exam system. The hardest part about the exam is figuring out how to efficiently search the electronic MPEP provided on the exam. The rest is memorizing enough of the MPEP so that you don't have to look up all the questions and when you do need to look, you know which chapter to look in. Many of the PLI practice exam questions were verbatim from the patent bar.

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trmckenz

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby trmckenz » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:37 pm

PLI is the best. Also, look at mypatentbar.com. About half of my test was repeat questions taken verbatim from that website. You'll have to sift through the comments to find the correct answers, but it's a useful learning tool as well.

MurderafterMidnight

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby MurderafterMidnight » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:17 pm

trmckenz wrote:PLI is the best. Also, look at mypatentbar.com. About half of my test was repeat questions taken verbatim from that website. You'll have to sift through the comments to find the correct answers, but it's a useful learning tool as well.

Wow really? How long ago did you take it?

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trmckenz

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby trmckenz » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:49 pm

MurderafterMidnight wrote:
trmckenz wrote:PLI is the best. Also, look at mypatentbar.com. About half of my test was repeat questions taken verbatim from that website. You'll have to sift through the comments to find the correct answers, but it's a useful learning tool as well.

Wow really? How long ago did you take it?


I took it in Oct. 2013 and Jan. 2014. I went to the USPTO to review my first test after not passing. I understand the test updates as time passes, especially in light of AIA, but the test still has a ton of legacy questions. Those are the easy points, pure memorization.

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:44 am

I'm an EE patent attorney with significant semiconductor/circuit experience with my MS and working as an engineer in Silicon Valley. I'd say that the semiconductor/circuit knowledge is useful because it's difficult to learn. A lot of patent attorneys, even other EEs, are extremely uncomfortable working in that technical area. However, I'd say that wireless technology is more valuable and that software is where there is more growth.

MurderafterMidnight

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby MurderafterMidnight » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:21 am

trmckenz wrote:
MurderafterMidnight wrote:
trmckenz wrote:PLI is the best. Also, look at mypatentbar.com. About half of my test was repeat questions taken verbatim from that website. You'll have to sift through the comments to find the correct answers, but it's a useful learning tool as well.

Wow really? How long ago did you take it?


I took it in Oct. 2013 and Jan. 2014. I went to the USPTO to review my first test after not passing. I understand the test updates as time passes, especially in light of AIA, but the test still has a ton of legacy questions. Those are the easy points, pure memorization.

Cool thanks man

townizm

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby townizm » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:49 am


townizm

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby townizm » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:15 pm

This post is exactly same with my previous post.

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=272092

You plagiarized my post right?

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:19 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
MurderafterMidnight wrote:Plan on applying to law school soon.

If I were seeking a job as a patent attorney, which of these areas of specialization is most sought after by those hiring patent attorneys with a EE degree?

1. Semiconductor + circuit
2. Software + embedded
3. Telecommunication + network



Go work for 2 or 3 years in the industry before going to law school. You'll thank me later. Specialty doesn't really matter for patent law. I specialized in software + embedded (as much as we could specialize... it wasn't a formal thing), worked in telecom as an engineer, and I've done patent work on everything from privacy fences (yes, a patent on a fence) to artificial intelligence, including semiconductors, software, embedded, telecom, networking... heck, I'm procrastinating on a digital circuit app right now. I work at a silicon valley tech company alongside physics majors, biomed engineers, mechanical engineers, EEs, CmpEs, and more. EE/CmpE is a boost, but nobody looks at your undergrad transcript for a specialization when hiring for a legal position. Being an expert in a certain area may get you pulled into certain projects (one of the first apps I prosecuted at my first law firm job was for a feature of the product that I worked on at my engineering job).

Seriously though, 2 years in industry before starting law school. According to the biglaw hiring partner that hired me to my first legal job, that is the "ideal experience level" for an entry level patent prosecution attorney. Also, take the patent bar before you go to law school and work 10-20 hours/week as a patent agent through law school. If you graduate from law school with 2 years engineering experience, a USPTO reg number, 3 years of part-time patent prosecution experience, and a decent GPA, you'll be able to work wherever you want. Call me up in 5 years with that resume, and you can come sit next to me.

If you want to do patent litigation, none of this applies. I'd maybe take the patent bar and do some prosecution during law school. Knowing how to do prosecution is a good skill to have as a patent litigator. However, you don't even need an engineering degree to do patent litigation. Some of the best patent litigators I know have humanities degrees.


could you elaborate on how one can find patent agent job prior to law school in silicon valley tech. does one have to take patent bar to be considered for these positions? what if one only has a master's degree in EE and related work ex in silicon valley?

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby totesTheGoat » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:could you elaborate on how one can find patent agent job prior to law school in silicon valley tech. does one have to take patent bar to be considered for these positions? what if one only has a master's degree in EE and related work ex in silicon valley?


I know it's a late reply, but I'll answer for posterity's sake.

Yes, you have to take the patent bar... it's really not that bad, just pay the money for a prep course and study for a couple months. It's a much easier exam to study for than the LSAT or the state bar.

There are a few options for law students who don't have a reg number yet, but those are few and far between. Outside of purely lucking into a job, you need a reg number to do patent work.

A MSEE and work experience is a great boost once you have a foot in the door, but you need a reg number to get your foot in the door in the first place.

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Re: Future Patent Attorney questions......

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:57 pm

What is the upside of paying for law school, taking another bar, and working in big law (or law at all) if you can just take the patent bar and make a nice chunk of change? I would think avoiding the expense and the hassle alone would be enough but then there's also the fact that big law sucks and most people are dying to leave 2-3 years after starting. Or is it that most people going this route opt not to do big law but instead work somewhere making enough money that it's worth the trade off?



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