Differences with patent law

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untar614
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Differences with patent law

Postby untar614 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:54 pm

Hey I was wondering about some potential key differences that going into patent law may have from other fields.

- I have a degree in bio and plan to study to hopefully pass the patent bar before school. However, I've heard some chatter about they way things are going now, if its not engineering/compsci, you need an advanced degree inthe science. Is there any validity to this? I mean, I could see and advanced degree being advantageous, but will the lack of one be a serious concern?

- Does having the patent bar/going into that make the whole connections to an area less of an issue?

- Is it somewhat easier to get well-paying positions if you have the patent thing going on coming from a school thats just outside the T14 or lower T14 than it would be otherwise?

- I saw someone once mention something about patent/IP partner/associate as being something distinct from a regular partner/associate at some firms. What are the differences here?

Thanks for any answers you may be able to provide.

swoozie
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Re: Differences with patent law

Postby swoozie » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:25 pm

- I have a degree in bio and plan to study to hopefully pass the patent bar before school. However, I've heard some chatter about they way things are going now, if its not engineering/compsci, you need an advanced degree inthe science. Is there any validity to this? I mean, I could see and advanced degree being advantageous, but will the lack of one be a serious concern?
I heard the same chatter that for majors like bio and chem you need to have an advanced degree. I'd also heard you can mitigate that if you get relevant WE, but I'm personally not sure how accurate that is atm. Now actually looking at positions, EE or CS is king (sometimes MechE), and a lot of the summer positions (not all, but seemingly most) I looked at for IP/patent specifically only wanted from those two bgs. I'm only a 1L though.
I did have the opportunity to talk to a partner in patents and he outright told me that I should expect a negative hit without an advanced degree if applying for prosecution (I was an eng, but the wrong kind -- Chem). Litigation seems much more flexible.


- Does having the patent bar/going into that make the whole connections to an area less of an issue?
It's a plus, but I'm inclined to think not really. (I assume you are asking about geographic area). But see below about the smaller competition pool.

- Is it somewhat easier to get well-paying positions if you have the patent thing going on coming from a school thats just outside the T14 or lower T14 than it would be otherwise?
Easier, as in you're competing with less people potentially. I was told by my school's career office (so take this with a grain of salt) that they had requests from firms last year who wanted people with a tech bg and couldn't find enough people to fill the requests, there just weren't enough people with the background and interested. Note that people who are not patent bar eligible can't just opt into the area because they like it, but I know of a few patent bar eligible people who have completely opted out of patent or IP altogether.

- I saw someone once mention something about patent/IP partner/associate as being something distinct from a regular partner/associate at some firms. What are the differences here?
I have not heard this, so I can't say anything about it.

BarrySanders
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Re: Differences with patent law

Postby BarrySanders » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:41 pm

I'm patent bar eligible at a T30 (ME) with a pretty good IP program, but after actually taking patent law I opted out of the IP area altogether. That said, at my school there are a lot more opportunities for students with patent eligibility than otherwise. During OCI, there were additional opportunities for patent prosecution people. This included extra visits by several regional firms who visited campus during OCI for looking for SAs generally and then solicited IP people another time later in the fall. There are also a lot of opportunities for IP related externships during the year as compared to non-IP positions.

I have heard that bio / chem people have a harder time than EE or CS, but can't speak to that directly. I think that relevant work experience will matter more. The few IP interviews I have been on wanted to talk more about what I did at work than anything about law school. Luckily I had a few years of experience as an engineer so that was not a huge issue for me.

Finally, as a 3L, I would emphasize that IP is not a golden ticket, at least not from my school. I know of 3Ls who have passed the patent bar that still are looking for jobs. Grades still matter a lot. Firms are not so desperate for IP people that they are going to take the bottom of a T30 just to get someone. I think that this would apply to the bottom of the T14 as well.

iconoclasttt
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Re: Differences with patent law

Postby iconoclasttt » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:45 pm

Re the degree issue, expectations are very different for prosecution vs. litigation. For prosecution in pharma/bio/chem, an advanced degree seems to be practically essential. I don't work in those areas, but of the first dozen or so prosecutors I can list off the top of my head who do, every single one of them has a doctorate (though only maybe half are attorneys; the rest are agents).

For litigation, as has been mentioned, the bar is considerably lower. Some firms will consider folks who aren't patent bar eligible at all for litigation. That said, I would expect that being able to quickly grasp technical issues outside your primary area of expertise, at least at a high level, would be an asset even in lit.

Agent
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Re: Differences with patent law

Postby Agent » Mon May 13, 2013 8:44 pm

Glad to chat about this. Probably won't look at this thread again, so please feel free to send me a PM.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Differences with patent law

Postby Kafkaesquire » Tue May 14, 2013 1:08 pm

I tried to get into an externship program at the patent office this summer, and the HR even told me that they were basically only looking for electrical engineering and computer science backgrounds.

Personally, I was a little shocked that even a non-paid volunteer position at the USPTO was being so picky with who it chose. I can only extrapolate from that that prosecution firms would be just as picky, or more so.

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untar614
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Re: Differences with patent law

Postby untar614 » Tue May 14, 2013 2:28 pm

Kafkaesquire wrote:I tried to get into an externship program at the patent office this summer, and the HR even told me that they were basically only looking for electrical engineering and computer science backgrounds.

Personally, I was a little shocked that even a non-paid volunteer position at the USPTO was being so picky with who it chose. I can only extrapolate from that that prosecution firms would be just as picky, or more so.

Yes, I've been researching around, and have spoken to a few people who are more involved than most of the 0Ls and 1Ls in the prelaw forum - some people in law school actively doing IP job hunting and what not, some recent grads doing IP. Basically what I've gathered is that just EE and CompE/CS are getting any boost at all (maybe MechE at some places, possibly ChemE in Houston). Seems like for anything non-engineering, you need a PhD, and even then ur not guaranteed anything. All in all, seems like people on the prelaw section throw around "IP secure" way too freely.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Differences with patent law

Postby Kafkaesquire » Tue May 14, 2013 2:55 pm

untar614 wrote:
Kafkaesquire wrote:I tried to get into an externship program at the patent office this summer, and the HR even told me that they were basically only looking for electrical engineering and computer science backgrounds.

Personally, I was a little shocked that even a non-paid volunteer position at the USPTO was being so picky with who it chose. I can only extrapolate from that that prosecution firms would be just as picky, or more so.

Yes, I've been researching around, and have spoken to a few people who are more involved than most of the 0Ls and 1Ls in the prelaw forum - some people in law school actively doing IP job hunting and what not, some recent grads doing IP. Basically what I've gathered is that just EE and CompE/CS are getting any boost at all (maybe MechE at some places, possibly ChemE in Houston). Seems like for anything non-engineering, you need a PhD, and even then ur not guaranteed anything. All in all, seems like people on the prelaw section throw around "IP secure" way too freely.


Hence why I'm pursuing litigation. Prosecution is just too risky and has less financial rewards.




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