Advice on Patent Law

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mtran019
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:48 pm

Advice on Patent Law

Postby mtran019 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:09 pm

Hi, I'm new to this so please be nice. I recently graduated with a Neuroscience BS and want to integrate it with a law degree. I was wondering what are the different legal fields I can explore? The number one go to field that everyone advices for anyone who has a science background is to enter the world of patents. I have done some research and pharmaceutical patent litigation has caught my eye. So my second question would be, what are the steps/requirements needed to become a pharmaceutical patent litigation? Would I have to get my masters in neurobiology or continue for a PhD. I would much rather not shoot for the PhD because it requires more time (years) and more money, when I would want to immediately start working after getting my JD and possibly MS. If I am going to spend big bucks on extra schooling, I also want to know what is the starting and average salary for a normal patent lawyer and for a pharmaceutical patent litigator (if there is a difference). I know I rambled on alot but I'll break down my questions to make it easier:

1) what fields can I integrate a Neuroscience B.S. and JD?
2) What schooling/requirements does one have to complete to become a pharmaceutical patent litigator?
3) Is a Masters degree be suffice? If I were to get a Masters degree would Neurobiology be okay would does it have to be in chemistry?
4)Hows the job market for both patent attorneys and more specifically for pharmaceutical patent litigators (PPL)?
5) what are PPL starting and average salary in California?
6) Is there anything I can do now, just with my B.S. to gain experience or exposure?


I appreciate the help.

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fatduck
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Re: Advice on Patent Law

Postby fatduck » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:16 pm

my thoughts:

in bio/life sciences a phd is really preferred, especially for patent prosecution. i wouldn't pay for a masters though, either do a phd for free or just give it a go with your bachelors.

for patent litigation a phd is less necessary. the most important factors will be good grades from a good law school. whats your gpa? have you taken the LSAT?

mtran019
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:48 pm

Re: Advice on Patent Law

Postby mtran019 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:26 pm

Thank you FatDuck For you speedy reply :)


my Major gpa is 3.0, however my overall gpa is a bit lower than that :shock: :oops:
I am currently studying and aiming to take the LSAT this October. I got cold feet the first time and decided not to take it in June because I know I would need a 165 or higher to get into any decent school due to my poor gpa. Since I will be applying for this fall, after submitting my application I am going to start studying for my GREs.

Am I doing the process completely backwards? Would it be smarter to do phD and then law school? I think my passion lies more towards law but I also love my major and learning about science that I want to continue utilizing it some how.

How can go about getting a phD for free? :D

mtran019
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:48 pm

Re: Advice on Patent Law

Postby mtran019 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:30 pm

I'm sorry Fat Duck, I completely disregarded your comment about not needing a phD for litigation. If its less necessary, what are a few things to get me experience, exposure? What are some things I can start doing now that can give me an edge against other applicants applying to patent externships/internships, and later on make me stand out when applying for jobs after law school?

I greatly appreciate the help. I had previously emailed some patent attorneys to shed some advice on how they got to where they are now, and of course, none responded. I feel its alot harder to contact or speak to someone who is a patent litigator :(

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fatduck
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Re: Advice on Patent Law

Postby fatduck » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:31 pm

mtran019 wrote:Thank you FatDuck For you speedy reply :)


my Major gpa is 3.0, however my overall gpa is a bit lower than that :shock: :oops:
I am currently studying and aiming to take the LSAT this October. I got cold feet the first time and decided not to take it in June because I know I would need a 165 or higher to get into any decent school due to my poor gpa. Since I will be applying for this fall, after submitting my application I am going to start studying for my GREs.

Am I doing the process completely backwards? Would it be smarter to do phD and then law school? I think my passion lies more towards law but I also love my major and learning about science that I want to continue utilizing it some how.

How can go about getting a phD for free? :D

i personally wouldn't do a phd without a fellowship/stipend. it might be tough w/ your gpa but not impossible.

i would focus on your LSAT prep and see what happens. you can't really decide whether law school is worth the investment until you have an LSAT score and know your options. you're going to have a rough time with a sub-3.0 gpa, though. do you have work experience after college, or did you just finish your undergrad? if you have work experience you might have a shot a northwestern with a 170+ LSAT.

mtran019
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:48 pm

Re: Advice on Patent Law

Postby mtran019 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:44 pm

I do have post experience interning/volunteering only.
I have been interning for a little over a year with the U.S. Courthouse here in Los Angeles, I intern with Alzheimer's Association for 6 months now, mostly public policy and administrative work. And I have an interview this Thursday to volunteer for a Doctor who works for the UCLA Alzheimer's Research Center. They said that depending on the hours I put in and how efficiently I work I could get co-authorship in helping him with one of his publications pertaining to either Alzherimer's Disease or other Frontal Temporal Disorders.

I am barely going to start a part time job for a non-profit for teens at risk of addiction, but has no connection to law/science :(

With this economy it has been really hard to find a job related to my interests.

anonmyuos
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Re: Advice on Patent Law

Postby anonmyuos » Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:10 am

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but what are your interests? You say you want to find a job "related to your interests" but in the first post you seem unsure of what you want you're interested in. Can you explain why you want to get a JD? That might shed some light on how to help achieve whatever want to achieve. Right now I'm confused because I have no idea what you actually want.

For us to help you, can you answer a few questions?

1) Why do you want to get a JD?
2) Why do you not want to do something in the neuroscience field?
3) Why did you initially major in neuroscience?
4) How much do you really want to do patent litigation (or prosecution), and how much do you just want a JD?

I'm not trying to be a jerk and cross examine you or anything, but I'm having trouble understanding exactly what it is you are looking for. This will help anyone reading this thread to help you.

mtran019
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:48 pm

Re: Advice on Patent Law

Postby mtran019 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:26 am

anonmyuos wrote:Perhaps this is a stupid question, but what are your interests? You say you want to find a job "related to your interests" but in the first post you seem unsure of what you want you're interested in. Can you explain why you want to get a JD? That might shed some light on how to help achieve whatever want to achieve. Right now I'm confused because I have no idea what you actually want.

For us to help you, can you answer a few questions?

1) Why do you want to get a JD?
2) Why do you not want to do something in the neuroscience field?
3) Why did you initially major in neuroscience?
4) How much do you really want to do patent litigation (or prosecution), and how much do you just want a JD?

I'm not trying to be a jerk and cross examine you or anything, but I'm having trouble understanding exactly what it is you are looking for. This will help anyone reading this thread to help you.


Haha its okay, I dont think your coming off as a jerk. Ill answer these questions as truthfully as i can, not in same order:

3) I chose neuroscience because I love psychology and biology, and neuroscience gave me the opportunities to understand the biological interactions that result in certain behaviors and cognitive activities. I always been intrigued with drugs & behaviors, for the same reasons of how we are able to alter our behavior and functionality with certain drugs.

2) I guess I was not clear in my prior statements, but I want to continue utilizing my neuroscience degree with a JD degree. I'm trying to find an appropriate intersection where I can make both of use degrees. I only am inquiring about patent law because thats the "go to answer" almost everyone recommends to any one with a science background to pursue. I don't know much about patent law, which is why I posted this discussion to learn more and find out more opportunities where I can expose myself to it so that I can see if this is something that interest me. If I were to do patent law I would love for it to be specifically related to pharmaceutical drugs, specifically those that affect the brain. With today's new technology researchers are finding more ways to treat and to prevent neurological disorders. And ont he flip side there are those scam doctors who take advantage of the desperation of people to find a cure that they put patents on their costly treatments that either work or don't. That side of patents is what interest me the most, and would like to find out more.

1) I first got interested in pursuing my J.D. because of the complexity of determining whether a person with a biological disfunction is morally responsible for their actions. For example, a personal with a tumor in their amygdala can cause hypersexual activity, so is he morally responsible for his acts? The more I looked into law I found out about patents and since then have wanted to learn more about patents & drugs, because once again, I am completely intrigued with drugs &behavior.

4) I have weighed in the options of litigation vs. prosecution, and I have always wanted to represent a pharmaceutical company. Maybe because I have sat in more trials than been exposed to legal paper work, I am more biased towards litigation. I am not completely opposed to prosecution but if I had to choose, the more appealing one for me, would be litigation. I highly motivated to obtain a J.D. even with all the negative news around law school at this current time. However, as a very conscious person, I like to plan ahead and now all my options instead of just plunging into law school aimlessly.

I hope this helps in order for me get some help and didn't confuse you any further. I appreciate all the help I can get.

anonmyuos
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:33 am

Re: Advice on Patent Law

Postby anonmyuos » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:18 pm

mtran019 wrote:Haha its okay, I dont think your coming off as a jerk. Ill answer these questions as truthfully as i can, not in same order:

3) I chose neuroscience because I love psychology and biology, and neuroscience gave me the opportunities to understand the biological interactions that result in certain behaviors and cognitive activities. I always been intrigued with drugs & behaviors, for the same reasons of how we are able to alter our behavior and functionality with certain drugs.

2) I guess I was not clear in my prior statements, but I want to continue utilizing my neuroscience degree with a JD degree. I'm trying to find an appropriate intersection where I can make both of use degrees. I only am inquiring about patent law because thats the "go to answer" almost everyone recommends to any one with a science background to pursue. I don't know much about patent law, which is why I posted this discussion to learn more and find out more opportunities where I can expose myself to it so that I can see if this is something that interest me. If I were to do patent law I would love for it to be specifically related to pharmaceutical drugs, specifically those that affect the brain. With today's new technology researchers are finding more ways to treat and to prevent neurological disorders. And ont he flip side there are those scam doctors who take advantage of the desperation of people to find a cure that they put patents on their costly treatments that either work or don't. That side of patents is what interest me the most, and would like to find out more.

1) I first got interested in pursuing my J.D. because of the complexity of determining whether a person with a biological disfunction is morally responsible for their actions. For example, a personal with a tumor in their amygdala can cause hypersexual activity, so is he morally responsible for his acts? The more I looked into law I found out about patents and since then have wanted to learn more about patents & drugs, because once again, I am completely intrigued with drugs &behavior.

4) I have weighed in the options of litigation vs. prosecution, and I have always wanted to represent a pharmaceutical company. Maybe because I have sat in more trials than been exposed to legal paper work, I am more biased towards litigation. I am not completely opposed to prosecution but if I had to choose, the more appealing one for me, would be litigation. I highly motivated to obtain a J.D. even with all the negative news around law school at this current time. However, as a very conscious person, I like to plan ahead and now all my options instead of just plunging into law school aimlessly.

I hope this helps in order for me get some help and didn't confuse you any further. I appreciate all the help I can get.


Your answer to the first question is really bad. It's nice and theoretical and interesting ... but ultimately, when you're practicing law, none of that will ever come up. Ever (with the small exception of if you go into criminal defense and you get a one in a million case). If that's the reason you want a JD, save yourself a lot of time/money and buy a few philosophy books. They're quite cheaper in comparison.

After reading your answers, I still don't know why you want to get a JD and why you don't want use your neuroscience degree just, you know, do neuroscience. I don't get why you think law school is right for you, especially since you're at least moderately aware of all the negative news surrounding the legal field. You seem like you have a passing interest in law and you kind of are intrigued by law, but you don't really seem like you would actually like practicing law. As a lawyer you'll mostly be writing and reading documents all day about random things - some of which will be interesting, a lot of which won't be. A very rarely will you ever even touch on the things that interest you - the mythical "intersection" of neuroscience/law. In reality, that intersection is rare to non-existant, and practicing in that field at a high level will probably be reserved for people with a PhD in neuroscience. Not to say you won't luck out, but it's more likely than not you'll end up unhappy with a JD. I highly recommend you do not go to law school without seriously examining the realistic and likely outcomes. This might change if you get into a very highly ranked school, so I guess if you want to take the LSAT and then go from there, but I'm discouraging you for a reason -- it just sounds like what you think law is, and what law actually is, are two very different things.

That being said, if you're interested in the intersection of neuroscience/law, look at becoming a researcher and testifying as an expert in pending litigation matters. That's actually interesting, it gets you into doing something you might like, still allows you to be involved with the law somewhat, and saves you the hassle of paying $150,000 and wasting three years of your life.

Also, if you continue to be interested in the law, despite all I've said, then you should consider prosecution over litigation. Prosecution actually requires you to constantly learn new technologies in your chosen field and really gets you involved with emerging inventions. Patent litigation is closer to normal litigation than you'd think, and most of the time you'll do normally litigation-y things like fill out interogatories, do depositions, write briefs, etc. There's still some engagement with technology, but less so than prosecution.

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sjwest
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Re: Advice on Patent Law

Postby sjwest » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:31 pm

I've got a genetics degree, did a year of graduate school, and now work as a patent agent to start law school this fall while working full time.

I'm going to have to agree with anon. You're really.... not going to get a lot of that exposure as a lawyer. Based on your responses, I really feel like you should be going to graduate school.

Most PhD programs for hard science majors are free with a living stipend. I personally went to the UT Health graduate school for my one year. You take courses while working in a lab. The work you perform in the lab is why you get paid the stipend and free tuition. You are basically working as a lab tech while earning your degree. Your first year you rotate through several labs so that you can pick one to do your thesis in.

I really think you should apply to graduate school and attend. Research did not end up being for me, but it sounds great for you. At least try it. If you enjoy it, great. Stick with it, get your PhD. With a PhD, you'll have a much easier time finding work in the patent field. The only reason I got my current job was because I spent that year in graduate school. Even now, I do very little work related to my field of study, as I am at a small firm. To get a job with a pharmaceutical company, you almost certainly will need a PhD. Look around at various Pharma companies in your area, and look at the profiles of the lawyers they use. They generally give bio/backgrounds. You'll see most of them have a lot of research experience.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.




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