To Patent Lawyers: Patent Law with CS Degree?

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Anonymous User
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To Patent Lawyers: Patent Law with CS Degree?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:37 pm

Hi,

I am curious if there are any patent lawyers on the forum who only have a CS Degree. I will be eligible for the patent bar so long as I take two physics courses through Category B Option IV. My question to you is how employers view law students who have a CS degree and not any EE background. For example, I know a fair amount about software and operating systems through my degree, but I'd be somewhat lost if an interviewer started asking me about Electrical Engineering or most of Computer Engineering (I understand computer architecture, but couldn't talk much about vectors or much about circuits etc.)

What work is out there for Patent Lawyers who have a pure Computer Science background? If there is a fair amount of work out there, what kinds of work is this? Software patents? CS is fairly abstract, so I wonder what the heck patent lawyers with CS degrees do..

Thanks in advance for the responses..

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englawyer
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Re: To Patent Lawyers: Patent Law with CS Degree?

Postby englawyer » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi,

I am curious if there are any patent lawyers on the forum who only have a CS Degree. I will be eligible for the patent bar so long as I take two physics courses through Category B Option IV. My question to you is how employers view law students who have a CS degree and not any EE background. For example, I know a fair amount about software and operating systems through my degree, but I'd be somewhat lost if an interviewer started asking me about Electrical Engineering or most of Computer Engineering (I understand computer architecture, but couldn't talk much about vectors or much about circuits etc.)

What work is out there for Patent Lawyers who have a pure Computer Science background? If there is a fair amount of work out there, what kinds of work is this? Software patents? CS is fairly abstract, so I wonder what the heck patent lawyers with CS degrees do..

Thanks in advance for the responses..


for patent litigation you should be fine. there is a significant amount of software-related patent lit going on now and a tech background is not required, let alone a specific EE background.

for prosecution i have no idea. but in any case, i don't think there are many (if any) interviewers that will start quizzing you on tech topics, even IP boutiques do not do that.

Anonymous User
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Re: To Patent Lawyers: Patent Law with CS Degree?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:27 pm

I'm a lawyer with a CS degree, so I hope I can answer your question adequately.

The short answer to your question is that lawyers with a CS degree do what every other lawyer does. They write motions, deal with discovery, draft interrogatories, etc. That's if you do litigation. If you do patent prosecution, then you also do what every other patent prosecutor does - you write patents, draft responses to office actions from the PTO, etc.

If you end up going into patent litigation, then you'll likely (though not necessarily) be staffed on litigation involving software code. And if you end up going into patent prosecution, you'll likely (though not necessarily) prosecute a lot of patents involving software code. So you might use your CS degree to examine software code and be able to better do what every lawyer already does ... but ultimately, you're a lawyer. I know people with CS degrees that ended up going into corporate work and never use their degree at all. And I know people with CS degrees who ended up going into regular litigation (ie non-patent) and rarely use their degree at all. And, there's lawyers like me, who do patent litigation and end up using their degree to help them gain a leg up on understanding what's going on in a case.

But, ultimately, you're a lawyer. You do lawyerly things.

Anonymous User
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Re: To Patent Lawyers: Patent Law with CS Degree?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a lawyer with a CS degree, so I hope I can answer your question adequately.

The short answer to your question is that lawyers with a CS degree do what every other lawyer does. They write motions, deal with discovery, draft interrogatories, etc. That's if you do litigation. If you do patent prosecution, then you also do what every other patent prosecutor does - you write patents, draft responses to office actions from the PTO, etc.

If you end up going into patent litigation, then you'll likely (though not necessarily) be staffed on litigation involving software code. And if you end up going into patent prosecution, you'll likely (though not necessarily) prosecute a lot of patents involving software code. So you might use your CS degree to examine software code and be able to better do what every lawyer already does ... but ultimately, you're a lawyer. I know people with CS degrees that ended up going into corporate work and never use their degree at all. And I know people with CS degrees who ended up going into regular litigation (ie non-patent) and rarely use their degree at all. And, there's lawyers like me, who do patent litigation and end up using their degree to help them gain a leg up on understanding what's going on in a case.

But, ultimately, you're a lawyer. You do lawyerly things.


Ok, thanks for the response. So if I understand your response correctly, when it comes down to it, if you are a patent prosecution lawyer with a CS degree, you are prosecuting software patents. So there's very little necessity to understand Electrical Engineering/Computer Engineering? I just am curious how narrow the options are for patent prosecution if you have (only) a pure CS degree. Software patents are not only very limited in scope (EE/CE can do lots of different types of stuff), but who knows if there will even be such a thing as a software patent in 15 years..

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Re: To Patent Lawyers: Patent Law with CS Degree?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:07 am

(Previous poster)

I don't know prosecution as well, so I don't want to venture too many guesses. But, in general, if you gather some experience prosecuting software patents, you'll be useful for prosecuting EE stuff. As long as you can understand the technology after some studying of it, you're fine. If you choose to pursue a law career, at no point will you ever be expected to know something technical offhand. You'll only be expected to be able to understand it.

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Re: To Patent Lawyers: Patent Law with CS Degree?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:55 am

I'm an EE & software patent prosecutor with academic and industry qualifications in both EE and software industries.

There's a lot of work in the software patent field, but a lot of it is easy for people to understand. There's a lot of competition in that area. On the EE side, a lot of the stuff is difficult for a non-EE to do. Some people don't have the confidence to pick up the material. Some clients also require EEs to do their work.

An EE's docket will never be light because they can do work within all levels of abstraction (physics up to software). A pure CS docket is often more limited. However, there are lots of people who have pure software dockets.

Now, a degree is a degree. You're an engineer based on what you do. You don't need an EE degree to learn EE material.

skri65
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Re: To Patent Lawyers: Patent Law with CS Degree?

Postby skri65 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:06 pm

OP here, anon comin out. Could the last person who posted PM me? I have a couple specific questions that I'd like to ask.

iconoclasttt
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Re: To Patent Lawyers: Patent Law with CS Degree?

Postby iconoclasttt » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Now, a degree is a degree. You're an engineer based on what you do. You don't need an EE degree to learn EE material.


This. The key to long-term success in prosecution in the computer/EE arts is being able to get superficially comfortable very quickly with a wide variety of technical concepts. EE happens to give a fairly broad foundation for this, but isn't the only such path. I know an excellent computer/EE prosecutor whose undergrad is in chemistry; he's an omnivorous learner.

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contrapositive1
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Re: To Patent Lawyers: Patent Law with CS Degree?

Postby contrapositive1 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:47 pm

get a b.a in econ




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