Does patent law > other fields?

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threecat2
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby threecat2 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:47 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.



What are the chances of a Nuclear Engineering major? Is it limited also?

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UFMatt
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby UFMatt » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:51 pm

While I was under the impression that engineers were the most in-demand, it also seemed that PhDs in bio/chem were in demand in certain markets (e.g. Boston, DC, and scattered around mid-sized markets like Portland, etc.).

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FromRussiaWithLove
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby FromRussiaWithLove » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:58 pm

What if I have a B.A. in Biology? I know I am eligible to take the Patent Bar, but are my job prospects pretty much nonexistant?

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yeast master
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby yeast master » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:09 pm

digitalcntrl wrote: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.


Can anyone comment specifically on the prospects for a bio PhD coming out of law school with no prosecution experience? Of course, it would be best to have prosecution experience before going for an associate position, but it seems that getting that first prosecution gig is not so easy these days. I've thought that maybe the law school OCI system would give one a better shot at getting one's foot in the door than going it alone trying to find a tech spec/agent job as a fresh PhD.

Also, how much would already having the patent bar under your belt help in the OCI process?

And, you mentioned that the law degree isn't as important as the technical degree. Would this mean that one's chances wouldn't be significantly diminished by going to a lower T1 school as compared to a T14 school?

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wiseowl
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby wiseowl » Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:11 pm

yeast master wrote:And, you mentioned that the law degree isn't as important as the technical degree. Would this mean that one's chances wouldn't be significantly diminished by going to a lower T1 school as compared to a T14 school?


i am hearing anecdotally that this isn't really the case anymore. you get a little break on school rank with big firms if you have an in-demand degree, but it's definitely not like the old days where if you had a pulse and a JD you were in.

thisbigolclub
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby thisbigolclub » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:32 pm

threecat2 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.



What are the chances of a Nuclear Engineering major? Is it limited also?


Do you study nuclear engineering? And I thought I was the only one...

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CE2JD
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby CE2JD » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:34 pm

FromRussiaWithLove wrote:What if I have a B.A. in Biology? I know I am eligible to take the Patent Bar, but are my job prospects pretty much nonexistant?


Your job prospects in patent prosecution are nonexistent.

digitalcntrl
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby digitalcntrl » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:43 pm

yeast master wrote:
digitalcntrl wrote: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.


Can anyone comment specifically on the prospects for a bio PhD coming out of law school with no prosecution experience? Of course, it would be best to have prosecution experience before going for an associate position, but it seems that getting that first prosecution gig is not so easy these days. I've thought that maybe the law school OCI system would give one a better shot at getting one's foot in the door than going it alone trying to find a tech spec/agent job as a fresh PhD.

Also, how much would already having the patent bar under your belt help in the OCI process?

And, you mentioned that the law degree isn't as important as the technical degree. Would this mean that one's chances wouldn't be significantly diminished by going to a lower T1 school as compared to a T14 school?


Law school will not help you much. You many get some boost from some biglaw firms that have patent practices since they like stellar grades (assuming you get them) as a habit. However, it does not make much difference for the vast majority of patent firms. The problem is that many firms know there is very little value add in a J.D. especially in patent prosecution. Virtually all the arguments I make are technical ones with the legal ones usually being form paragraphs. Most of the cases that are studied in a patent law class are related to uncommon situations. And even in the case of seminal cases on obviousness (like KSR, Graham v. Deere, etc.) it is one thing to read a case book excerpt and another thing to actually apply/respond to obviousness arguments.

I know it is difficult for newbies with no experience to find prosecution jobs these days but it is the best way of securing a good position. Training is extremely expensive/time consuming and is little more than a shot in the dark for employers since the newbie may be horrible at this job or leave for better prospects (which is probably also partly why it is difficult for newbies to get hired).

As for the patent bar you should ABSOLUTELY take it. Being barred gives you the versatility of not requiring another person to sign/review all your correspondences to the patent office, a big plus to prospective employers. And considering you only need to take a 4 hr exam to do it, there is little reason not to do so.

Regarding to law school rankings, it depends, here is how I break it out......

Experience>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> in demand technical degree (e.g. EE, this person should apply to patent firms/botiques) >>> technical degree + good law school ( this person should apply to biglaw with patent practices)>>>>> technical degree + mediocre law

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yeast master
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby yeast master » Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:08 pm

digitalcntrl wrote:
yeast master wrote:
digitalcntrl wrote: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.


Can anyone comment specifically on the prospects for a bio PhD coming out of law school with no prosecution experience? Of course, it would be best to have prosecution experience before going for an associate position, but it seems that getting that first prosecution gig is not so easy these days. I've thought that maybe the law school OCI system would give one a better shot at getting one's foot in the door than going it alone trying to find a tech spec/agent job as a fresh PhD.

Also, how much would already having the patent bar under your belt help in the OCI process?

And, you mentioned that the law degree isn't as important as the technical degree. Would this mean that one's chances wouldn't be significantly diminished by going to a lower T1 school as compared to a T14 school?


Law school will not help you much. You many get some boost from some biglaw firms that have patent practices since they like stellar grades (assuming you get them) as a habit. However, it does not make much difference for the vast majority of patent firms. The problem is that many firms know there is very little value add in a J.D. especially in patent prosecution. Virtually all the arguments I make are technical ones with the legal ones usually being form paragraphs. Most of the cases that are studied in a patent law class are related to uncommon situations. And even in the case of seminal cases on obviousness (like KSR, Graham v. Deere, etc.) it is one thing to read a case book excerpt and another thing to actually apply/respond to obviousness arguments.

I know it is difficult for newbies with no experience to find prosecution jobs these days but it is the best way of securing a good position. Training is extremely expensive/time consuming and is little more than a shot in the dark for employers since the newbie may be horrible at this job or leave for better prospects (which is probably also partly why it is difficult for newbies to get hired).

As for the patent bar you should ABSOLUTELY take it. Being barred gives you the versatility of not requiring another person to sign/review all your correspondences to the patent office, a big plus to prospective employers. And considering you only need to take a 4 hr exam to do it, there is little reason not to do so.

Regarding to law school rankings, it depends, here is how I break it out......

Experience>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> in demand technical degree (e.g. EE, this person should apply to patent firms/botiques) >>> technical degree + good law school ( this person should apply to biglaw with patent practices)>>>>> technical degree + mediocre law


Thanks so much for your insight. To be clear, you're saying that a noob bio PhD trying to find a job on his own and a PhD law student going through OCI have pretty much an equal shot at landing a permanent position? Why would more doors not be open to a PhD/JD by virtue of the PhD/JD being able to also go for litigation positions in addition to prosecution positions? Also, if the JD doesn't add much value in prosecution, why are JD prosecutors paid so much more than agents? I'm not doubting your assertions, just wondering about explanations.

How does this plan sound for a fresh grad of a top bio PhD program: apply for law school now (done--I have numbers for some top 10 schools), take the patent bar this spring and be on the agent job market this summer as I'm finishing my thesis. If I can't get any bites, go to law school full time in the fall (my current plan for law school is to minimize debt, but I'm keeping open the option of going to a top 10), then try to get a post-LS job through the OCI process. Would you advise instead to hold out for an agent job and put off law school until after getting some significant prosecution experience?

digitalcntrl
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby digitalcntrl » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:41 pm

yeast master wrote:
Thanks so much for your insight. To be clear, you're saying that a noob bio PhD trying to find a job on his own and a PhD law student going through OCI have pretty much an equal shot at landing a permanent position? Why would more doors not be open to a PhD/JD by virtue of the PhD/JD being able to also go for litigation positions in addition to prosecution positions? Also, if the JD doesn't add much value in prosecution, why are JD prosecutors paid so much more than agents? I'm not doubting your assertions, just wondering about explanations.

How does this plan sound for a fresh grad of a top bio PhD program: apply for law school now (done--I have numbers for some top 10 schools), take the patent bar this spring and be on the agent job market this summer as I'm finishing my thesis. If I can't get any bites, go to law school full time in the fall (my current plan for law school is to minimize debt, but I'm keeping open the option of going to a top 10), then try to get a post-LS job through the OCI process. Would you advise instead to hold out for an agent job and put off law school until after getting some significant prosecution experience?


" To be clear, you're saying that a noob bio PhD trying to find a job on his own and a PhD law student going through OCI have pretty much an equal shot at landing a permanent position? "

In many patent law firms/botiques FOR PROSECUTION yes. In a sense OCI is somewhat like going to the Loyola or AIPLA patent fair, it is not cold calling, but is it worth 3 years/100-200K debt? Biglaw with patent practices, however, do love stellar grades/high law school rank out of habit.

"Why would more doors not be open to a PhD/JD by virtue of the PhD/JD being able to also go for litigation positions in addition to prosecution positions?"

Patent litigation is different animal. You will be working on a single case for a long time. This means that even a technically inept person could understand what is going on given enough time. This also means that people with no technical background could compete with you for positions. I am a bit hesitant to speak on this subject too heavily as I don't work in this area.

"Also, if the JD doesn't add much value in prosecution, why are JD prosecutors paid so much more than agents?"

You are confusing two aspects here, the employers willingness to hire a person vs. how much they will pay them IF they hire them. Patent prosecution attorneys are paid higher because firms have an excuse to charge a higher billable hourly rate. Firms can charge a higher billable hourly rate because of the popular perception that because you have a JD you are somehow better than the rest. From the patent law classes I have taken so far I can't see how this view is justified. At some point you have to deliver on these expectations. What patent firms fear the most is that either through your interactions with the client or through your work product you will embarass the firm. For example if when interacting with the client/inventor you are particuarly dense with understanding their invention (they don't expect you to be an expert on the topic), you will look like a moron and you will make your firm look bad. Also when dealing with the patent office, most examiners have only a technical background. When a patent firm is looking to hire, they will look at mostly whether you can deliver technically sound advice and work product, the JD is icing on the cake so they can extract a few extra bucks from the client.

"How does this plan sound for a fresh grad of a top bio PhD program: apply for law school now (done--I have numbers for some top 10 schools), take the patent bar this spring and be on the agent job market this summer as I'm finishing my thesis."

Sounds fine. If you cannot find prosecution employment even after exhaustive search there is no point in putting your life on hold unless something else comes up. I am a bit confused your final goals. Remember there is usually no such thing as a patent agent in litigation (an agent can only practice in front of the patent office and this is usually irrelevant in patent litigation). If you choose the litigation path, perhaps a T10 school maybe better for you. Again I am not the best adviser in this area as I don't work in it. I know of many patent prosecutors that have transitioned into litigation, though I am unsure of how valuable the prosecution experience was or how much it help in securing that position.

Nevertheless Good Luck...

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:06 am

digitalcntrl wrote:You are confusing two aspects here, the employers willingness to hire a person vs. how much they will pay them IF they hire them. Patent prosecution attorneys are paid higher because firms have an excuse to charge a higher billable hourly rate. Firms can charge a higher billable hourly rate because of the popular perception that because you have a JD you are somehow better than the rest. From the patent law classes I have taken so far I can't see how this view is justified. At some point you have to deliver on these expectations. What patent firms fear the most is that either through your interactions with the client or through your work product you will embarass the firm. For example if when interacting with the client/inventor you are particuarly dense with understanding their invention (they don't expect you to be an expert on the topic), you will look like a moron and you will make your firm look bad. Also when dealing with the patent office, most examiners have only a technical background. When a patent firm is looking to hire, they will look at mostly whether you can deliver technically sound advice and work product, the JD is icing on the cake so they can extract a few extra bucks from the client

Comical statement because patent pros is one of the fields leading the move from the billable hour to a flat rate. Patent lawyers, even when not in a biglaw firm, are paid biglaw money because of the low supply of eligible patent attorneys. Even so, there are many places where patent prosecution attorneys are paid below market.

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yeast master
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby yeast master » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:48 am

digitalcntrl wrote:Sounds fine. If you cannot find prosecution employment even after exhaustive search there is no point in putting your life on hold unless something else comes up. I am a bit confused your final goals. Remember there is usually no such thing as a patent agent in litigation (an agent can only practice in front of the patent office and this is usually irrelevant in patent litigation). If you choose the litigation path, perhaps a T10 school maybe better for you. Again I am not the best adviser in this area as I don't work in it. I know of many patent prosecutors that have transitioned into litigation, though I am unsure of how valuable the prosecution experience was or how much it help in securing that position.

Nevertheless Good Luck...


Thanks.

The ultimate goal is gainful employment working in bio patents. I expect I would be happy doing prosecution either as a JD or as an agent, but I would prefer the salary of a JD. I also expect I would be fine doing litigation or a combination of litigation and prosecution. I lean towards prosecution because I like hardcore science and I'm good at the analytical and communications aspects of science (generating publishable research results, not so much). Basically, at this point my concerns are maximizing my employment prospects and minimizing debt. Of course, those concerns may be at odds.

I'm coming around to the idea that plan A should be trying to get an agent job this year and getting some years of experience under my belt. Then if I find that I just have to have a JD salary [BTW, is that why you're in LS?], I could go to law school and emerge with a powerful resume. Plan B should be full time law school this fall, though I'm still not sure if it should be a highly ranked/big debt school or a lower ranked/lower debt school. My inclination is toward the latter, but I have to find out how much it would diminish my employment prospects in bio patents.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond. Your insight is really valuable.

digitalcntrl
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby digitalcntrl » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:33 am

Lxw wrote:
digitalcntrl wrote:You are confusing two aspects here, the employers willingness to hire a person vs. how much they will pay them IF they hire them. Patent prosecution attorneys are paid higher because firms have an excuse to charge a higher billable hourly rate. Firms can charge a higher billable hourly rate because of the popular perception that because you have a JD you are somehow better than the rest. From the patent law classes I have taken so far I can't see how this view is justified. At some point you have to deliver on these expectations. What patent firms fear the most is that either through your interactions with the client or through your work product you will embarass the firm. For example if when interacting with the client/inventor you are particuarly dense with understanding their invention (they don't expect you to be an expert on the topic), you will look like a moron and you will make your firm look bad. Also when dealing with the patent office, most examiners have only a technical background. When a patent firm is looking to hire, they will look at mostly whether you can deliver technically sound advice and work product, the JD is icing on the cake so they can extract a few extra bucks from the client

Comical statement because patent pros is one of the fields leading the move from the billable hour to a flat rate. Patent lawyers, even when not in a biglaw firm, are paid biglaw money because of the low supply of eligible patent attorneys. Even so, there are many places where patent prosecution attorneys are paid below market.


The fact it is by billable hour or a flat rate was not the issue. The point was to understand why patent attorneys are paid at a higher rate then agents (in the same setting) as you can easily justify a higher flat rate (or billable hour) if you had a JD. Many of the places that do go for a flat rate are typically the patent mills. I can't see quality firms (e.g. Finnegan Henderson) moving to such a model.

digitalcntrl
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Re: Does patent law > other fields?

Postby digitalcntrl » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:44 am

yeast master wrote:Thanks.

The ultimate goal is gainful employment working in bio patents. I expect I would be happy doing prosecution either as a JD or as an agent, but I would prefer the salary of a JD. I also expect I would be fine doing litigation or a combination of litigation and prosecution. I lean towards prosecution because I like hardcore science and I'm good at the analytical and communications aspects of science (generating publishable research results, not so much). Basically, at this point my concerns are maximizing my employment prospects and minimizing debt. Of course, those concerns may be at odds.

I'm coming around to the idea that plan A should be trying to get an agent job this year and getting some years of experience under my belt. Then if I find that I just have to have a JD salary [BTW, is that why you're in LS?], I could go to law school and emerge with a powerful resume. Plan B should be full time law school this fall, though I'm still not sure if it should be a highly ranked/big debt school or a lower ranked/lower debt school. My inclination is toward the latter, but I have to find out how much it would diminish my employment prospects in bio patents.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond. Your insight is really valuable.


"BTW, is that why you're in LS?"

Yes, it is certainly not because I enjoy working and studying at the same time.

"My inclination is toward the latter, but I have to find out how much it would diminish my employment prospects in bio patents."

My insights come from an EE background, mainly working with semiconductors, circuits, RF applications. The closest I have come to bio were organic semiconductors. It would be best to consult a bio agent/attorney, electrical/mechanical is pretty cut and dry legally, bio tends have more legal issues when it comes to patenting genes.




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