Does patent law > other fields?

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MC Southstar
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Does patent law > other fields?

Postby MC Southstar » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:39 pm

In terms of employment and salary opportunities ITE and the economy to come? Some people have indicated that patent law, being a growing field with a small number of qualified applicants, is somewhat more secure than the other areas of law. Anyone care to support or disprove this?

digitalcntrl
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby digitalcntrl » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:44 am

shadowfrost000 wrote:In terms of employment and salary opportunities ITE and the economy to come? Some people have indicated that patent law, being a growing field with a small number of qualified applicants, is somewhat more secure than the other areas of law. Anyone care to support or disprove this?


I work in the patent field and go to school at night. The answer is yes, generally patent law is more recession resistant that other areas of the law (there is no such thing as recession proof IMO). And yes, the pay is good. It is basically a Big Law salary or slightly better while not being Big Law.

This is because of the exclusivity, as you mentioned, since firms and their clients require a technical degree. However, such a broad statement is not wholly accurate:

1. Not all degrees are equal: EE degrees are greatly in demand. Other engineering degrees such as ChemEs and Mech Engr. are somewhat less demanded. At the bottom of the pile are biology and chemistry majors (you basically need a PhD for such fields). Also remember that not all technical degrees can even take the Patent Bar (which is required to work before the patent office). For example a Math major is no eligible to sit for the Patent Bar.

2. Unlike general practice, your JD is not worth as much as your technical degree in the eyes of clients and prospective employers especially in patent prosecution. Thus it would be good to do well in your UG and/or possibly have technical work experience though good grades in law school certainly don't hurt.

3. It is not easy to break into this field since the talents required to do well are so unique to this field. The best way to be a patent attorney is to either be a patent agent or examiner first and then go to school. People with actual patent experience have a significant advantage over those with none. So ITE if you don't have the right type of degree, competition can be pretty tight.

4. Much of your work is not law related. Most of my arguments that I make deal with the technology as opposed to the law. This is not a job where you will be spending hours on WestLaw looking for cases.


Like everyone else business was slow for awhile for some firms from this year but that is nothing compared to general practice. You hear of the occassional layoff but other patent firms are doing well and are still hiring, so it is not as dire.
Last edited by digitalcntrl on Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:57 am, edited 3 times in total.

lsb
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby lsb » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:46 am

For those of us that don't have a technical background, is it possible to work exclusively in intellectual property?

digitalcntrl
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby digitalcntrl » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:59 am

lsb wrote:For those of us that don't have a technical background, is it possible to work exclusively in intellectual property?


Yes. You can work in trademarks or copyrights, neither of which require a technical background. However, the bulk of IP work is in patents, where virtually all posistions require a technical background.

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underdawg
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby underdawg » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:35 am

OCEANS RISE
CITIES FALL
IP REMAINS

lsb
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby lsb » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:28 pm

digitalcntrl wrote:
lsb wrote:For those of us that don't have a technical background, is it possible to work exclusively in intellectual property?


Yes. You can work in trademarks or copyrights, neither of which require a technical background. However, the bulk of IP work is in patents, where virtually all posistions require a technical background.


Interesting. I would think that copyrights and trademarks are huge, maybe even as much as patents.


Also, what does the abbreviation "IP" stand for? Intellectual property?

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CE2JD
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby CE2JD » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:55 pm

underdawg wrote:OCEANS RISE
CITIES FALL
IP REMAINS


TITCR

IP SECURE

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wiseowl
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby wiseowl » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:33 pm

CE2JD wrote:
underdawg wrote:OCEANS RISE
CITIES FALL
IP REMAINS


TITCR

IP SECURE


The ship be sinking

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MC Southstar
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby MC Southstar » Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:20 am

How about computer science?

What are some prominent patent firms, so I can get an idea of the field?

Also, what kind of work do patent attorneys do other than drafting patent proposals and license contracts? It sounded like the first responder was in litigation or prosecution or something.

Thanks. :)

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dood
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby dood » Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:48 am

...
Last edited by dood on Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ninjagirl
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby ninjagirl » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:21 am

shadowfrost000 wrote:How about computer science?

What are some prominent patent firms, so I can get an idea of the field?

Also, what kind of work do patent attorneys do other than drafting patent proposals and license contracts? It sounded like the first responder was in litigation or prosecution or something.

Thanks. :)


Patent prosecutors (attorneys and agents) also conduct patent validity/invalidity analyses and freedom-to-operate analyses, write opinions on such analyses, and perform due diligence on patent families/portfolios. For patent prosecution, aside from drafting patent applications, patent practitioners also draft and file replies to "office actions" (papers sent by patent examiners, often laying out reasons for rejecting patent claims) and sometimes appeal briefs. (Patent agents who are not yet attorneys can't formally write opinions but they may be involved in assisting attorneys with analyses/drafting.)

On top of the fun substantive work mentioned above, you'll deal with a lot of daily annoying boring paperwork.

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Gunz353
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby Gunz353 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:39 am

When I was at the NYC law forum last year, there was an IP lawyer who talked about his firm. He said that in times of recession, his IP business actually increased because many companies try to keep a firm hold on the copyrights and trademarks they already have...something to the effect of shoring up what they already have.

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pu_golf88
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby pu_golf88 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:40 am

I'm graduating next December in Aerospace Engineering, which is already pretty limited. Do you think it would do me a world of good to pass the patent bar and try to work as a patent agent before law school or am I pretty limited already?

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CE2JD
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby CE2JD » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:03 am

pu_golf88 wrote:I'm graduating next December in Aerospace Engineering, which is already pretty limited. Do you think it would do me a world of good to pass the patent bar and try to work as a patent agent before law school or am I pretty limited already?


Your chances are extremely remote.

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pu_golf88
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby pu_golf88 » Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:14 pm

CE2JD wrote:
pu_golf88 wrote:I'm graduating next December in Aerospace Engineering, which is already pretty limited. Do you think it would do me a world of good to pass the patent bar and try to work as a patent agent before law school or am I pretty limited already?


Your chances are extremely remote.


Well I have 2 semesters left, maybe I'll just switch to ME lol.

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CE2JD
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby CE2JD » Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:23 pm

pu_golf88 wrote:
CE2JD wrote:
pu_golf88 wrote:I'm graduating next December in Aerospace Engineering, which is already pretty limited. Do you think it would do me a world of good to pass the patent bar and try to work as a patent agent before law school or am I pretty limited already?


Your chances are extremely remote.


Well I have 2 semesters left, maybe I'll just switch to ME lol.


If you want to be marketable to do patent prosecution, you'd be wise to switch to ME.

LawSchoolWannaBe
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby LawSchoolWannaBe » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:04 pm

Or EE.

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CE2JD
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby CE2JD » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:58 pm

LawSchoolWannaBe wrote:Or EE.


Are you kidding? Going from AE to EE would require 2 more years of school. ME would probably only require an extra semester or two.

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pu_golf88
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby pu_golf88 » Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:01 pm

Thankfully I'm in a position where I only need 18 credits left in AE to graduate but I'm taking two semesters to do it. ME wouldn't add anytime to my current schedule, although the patent attorney's I've spoken with have said I should get hired as well as an ME. I'm not counting on it, but I just may consider an MS in ME instead.

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CE2JD
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby CE2JD » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:09 pm

pu_golf88 wrote:Thankfully I'm in a position where I only need 18 credits left in AE to graduate but I'm taking two semesters to do it. ME wouldn't add anytime to my current schedule, although the patent attorney's I've spoken with have said I should get hired as well as an ME. I'm not counting on it, but I just may consider an MS in ME instead.


A BSME would give you a small shot at IP, but an MSME would actually give you a decent shot.

vvoc
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby vvoc » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:49 pm

so im graduating from UCLA undergrad this spring as a Sociology major, but I was a biology major until my 3rd year and seem to satisfy the requirements for Category B of the patent bar (taken a lot of bio/chem classes)...so I'm thinking of attending law school then taking the patent bar in hopes of becoming a patent attorney, but you say that only EE or ME majors are in demand...would it be pointless, would it still give me an edge in the job market, etc? whats the average salary look like for a non-PhD/masters/Engineer patent attorney? thanks!

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CE2JD
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby CE2JD » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:31 pm

vvoc wrote:so im graduating from UCLA undergrad this spring as a Sociology major, but I was a biology major until my 3rd year and seem to satisfy the requirements for Category B of the patent bar (taken a lot of bio/chem classes)...so I'm thinking of attending law school then taking the patent bar in hopes of becoming a patent attorney, but you say that only EE or ME majors are in demand...would it be pointless, would it still give me an edge in the job market, etc? whats the average salary look like for a non-PhD/masters/Engineer patent attorney? thanks!


You will not find employment as a patent prosecutor.

vvoc
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby vvoc » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:53 pm

are you currently in the field? is it because of my major? care to explain? thanks!

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wiseowl
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby wiseowl » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:17 pm

vvoc wrote:are you currently in the field? is it because of my major? care to explain? thanks!


the general order of "hot" degrees for patent prosecution would be:

BSEE>>BSME>>>PhD in Bio, Chem, etc; other Engineering>>>>>>>>BS in Bio, Chem, etc>>>>>>>>>>>other bachelors where you somehow qualify for the exam but don't have a science degree.

You might have a tiny edge in patent litigation since you have some science, but you will then just be competing against every other litigator.

Unfortunately, just qualifying for the exam and passing isn't usually enough.

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PSLaplace
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby PSLaplace » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:42 am

wiseowl wrote:
vvoc wrote:are you currently in the field? is it because of my major? care to explain? thanks!


the general order of "hot" degrees for patent prosecution would be:

BSEE>>BSME>>>PhD in Bio, Chem, etc; other Engineering>>>>>>>>BS in Bio, Chem, etc>>>>>>>>>>>other bachelors where you somehow qualify for the exam but don't have a science degree.

You might have a tiny edge in patent litigation since you have some science, but you will then just be competing against every other litigator.

Unfortunately, just qualifying for the exam and passing isn't usually enough.


I've heard PhDs in Bio/Chem are in high demand; moreso than ME's anyway.

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