IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

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RSterling
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IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby RSterling » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:25 pm

I know this question has been asked before, and I know it's possible to do IP lit without a science background. I'm just wondering if it's common for these individuals to break into IP.

I'm increasingly interested in working with tech/software companies on the litigation side, but if this something I'd have a miniscule shot at with my liberal arts degree, I'd rather know now. Thanks!

Somewhat related question: is it common to be able to work with start-ups as an associate in a big IP firm or are you mostly dealing with the big guys? I assume it's mostly the latter, but I think that working with a start-up on a discounted or pro bono basis would be somewhat exciting.

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buddyt
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby buddyt » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:59 pm

Anecdote: only person I know locally who does IP lit without a science background fell into it by accident. Started out doing general business lit. Then the firm hired a partner who brought a ton of IP work with them, and the firm didn't want to hire a new associate just for that, so they looked internally and this person offered to help. Now this person does IP lit almost exclusively.

Most firms won't even give you a look for their IP practice without a CS or engineering degree. You may run into circumstances where you start out doing general lit and then gradually move over to doing the IP stuff, but don't count on it.

Source: 0L, who has done a ton of research on this subject, with a Computer Information Systems degree and WE at a big IT consulting firm (Deloitte/Accenture/Cognizant), who wishes he would've done Computer Science and is now bitter that he can't do patent pros :(

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RSterling
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby RSterling » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:38 pm

buddyt wrote:Anecdote: only person I know locally who does IP lit without a science background fell into it by accident. Started out doing general business lit. Then the firm hired a partner who brought a ton of IP work with them, and the firm didn't want to hire a new associate just for that, so they looked internally and this person offered to help. Now this person does IP lit almost exclusively.

Most firms won't even give you a look for their IP practice without a CS or engineering degree. You may run into circumstances where you start out doing general lit and then gradually move over to doing the IP stuff, but don't count on it.

Source: 0L, who has done a ton of research on this subject, with a Computer Information Systems degree and WE at a big IT consulting firm (Deloitte/Accenture/Cognizant), who wishes he would've done Computer Science and is now bitter that he can't do patent pros :(


Yeah, I definitely wish I'd picked up a CS major now haha. What you're saying doesn't surprise me. It only makes sense that firms would pick up all the hard science folks they could before looking at any liberal arts candidates. Hopefully I'll have a chance to fall into it. Thanks!

anonmyuos
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby anonmyuos » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:52 am

Sorry, but you have a minuscule shot. About 6-7 years ago, you had a fair shot to get IP litigation at a big IP firm. Now though, there's just too many people with both a JD and a BS that will crowd you out. I don't know anyone that's been hired recently that has a non-IP background. Most recent person I can think of offhand is a 4th year. If you are hired with a non-BS background, there are probably other reasons.

If you want to go to a smaller firm, that's an option. If you want to go to a Gen Lit BigLaw firm that has a reasonably decent IP lit practice and try to migrate over, that's an option too. But I think you will have a tough time breaking in, sorry. It's possible, because you don't need a BS to do IP Lit, but it's just unlikely at this point.

And to answer your other question, it depends on what you define as big firms probably. Most genuinely big firms, you'll deal mostly with big companies, though not always. Sometimes startups are big on monetizing their IP and are willing to pay for it. But there are few genuinely big firms around these days. More often than not, it's a mix, though what you think of as a "startup" might not be what I think of (I'm using it to mean a company that's well-financed but still a semi-unknown player in a market that's growing. You might mean "has no money but a great idea" which no, BigLaw generally won't touch because of the "no money" part of that sentence.)

johndhi
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby johndhi » Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:23 pm

For your last question, it depends on the firm you're working for. Some firms work a lot with small firms or start-ups, some others work only with gigantic clients. IP litigation is going to tend to be something that only wealthy clients can afford, so there isn't a TON of litigation with start-ups (unless their business purpose is litigation hehe... aka a troll :))

I wouldn't listen so much to the others in this thread. I'm going to a firm that does lots of IP lit, and though I have a B.S., many of my summer associate colleagues did not, and got the chance to work on IP cases. If you can land a job in San Francisco or Silicon Valley, you'll probably be able to shake some IP lit work assuming the firm is busy with it, as long as the firm isn't one of the firms solely dedicated to IP, like Finnegan or the others.

Good luck.

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Nammertat
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby Nammertat » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:32 pm

PM me for more details, but I do not have a science degree and am doing patent lit. It's not easy, but absolutely doable with the right school / grades / softs.

stv
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby stv » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:17 pm

I know by name a lawyer who has liberal arts degree and now gives lectures on IP at law schools. I don't know if he is a litigator but he is an internationally recognized expert on IP law. According to his profile, he founded and chaired the IP department at a law firm.

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dood
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby dood » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:43 pm

stv wrote:I know by name a lawyer who has liberal arts degree and now gives lectures on IP at law schools. I don't know if he is a litigator but he is an internationally recognized expert on IP law. According to his profile, he founded and chaired the IP department at a law firm.


It was a lot different 20 years ago.

PMan99
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby PMan99 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:08 am

There are many big firms with large IP departments. Some won't take anyone without an science degree, some will - including some big ones (Quinn and Irell two name two). You're not shut out but the pool is certainly smaller. I wouldn't say it's as uncommon as some people ITT are making it out to be.

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PDaddy
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby PDaddy » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:27 am

Most people hear "IP" and immediately think "science". While it is true that most IP work relates to sciences not all IP work does. IP is a huge part of the entertainment business; indeed there is strong synergy between the fundamentals that drive entertainment law and IP.

Writers, singers, producers, graphic artists, set and costume designers, cartoonists...they need their work protected, too. They need deals negotiated. IP lawyers work at WB, Time Warner, Disney, etc.

A liberal arts major should be able to transition into entertainment law with a focus on IP - within the industry. I suggest that any non-science major with a desire to do IP Law goes that route.

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jingosaur
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby jingosaur » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:40 am

Sorry to hijack, but does this advice apply to people who have a math/science background but did UG business school? For example, a Finance major who minored in math and has good work experience at a large technology firm.

PMan99
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby PMan99 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:48 am

goldbh7 wrote:Sorry to hijack, but does this advice apply to people who have a math/science background but did UG business school? For example, a Finance major who minored in math and has good work experience at a large technology firm.


You're the same as any normal grad with good work experience. The science background boost only counts for those who can pass the patent bar (and even then, CS/EE is considerably more valuable than, say, Chem or Bio). Finance doesn't count, however math involved it might be.

anonmyuos
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby anonmyuos » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:14 am

PMan99 wrote:There are many big firms with large IP departments. Some won't take anyone without an science degree, some will - including some big ones (Quinn and Irell two name two). You're not shut out but the pool is certainly smaller. I wouldn't say it's as uncommon as some people ITT are making it out to be.


PDaddy wrote:Most people hear "IP" and immediately think "science". While it is true that most IP work relates to sciences not all IP work does. IP is a huge part of the entertainment business; indeed there is strong synergy between the fundamentals that drive entertainment law and IP.

Writers, singers, producers, graphic artists, set and costume designers, cartoonists...they need their work protected, too. They need deals negotiated. IP lawyers work at WB, Time Warner, Disney, etc.

A liberal arts major should be able to transition into entertainment law with a focus on IP - within the industry. I suggest that any non-science major with a desire to do IP Law goes that route.


OP wants to do tech/software litigation. And he said he knows it is possible, but he is asking if it's common. It may be possible to do, and it may be that someone 20 years ago or even 6 years ago managed to break into IP w/o a science background, and it may even be that Irell and Quinn hire people w/o science background ... but considering OP's background, don't be ridiculous. The fact remains that it's a small possibility for someone in OPs position. It's definitely not common. He needs to find an in or catch a break to make it happen, but it's going to be tough. It's not all rainbows and sunshine out there people, and it's not helpful to pretend like it is.

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Nammertat
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby Nammertat » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:00 pm

anonmyuos wrote:
PMan99 wrote:There are many big firms with large IP departments. Some won't take anyone without an science degree, some will - including some big ones (Quinn and Irell two name two). You're not shut out but the pool is certainly smaller. I wouldn't say it's as uncommon as some people ITT are making it out to be.


PDaddy wrote:Most people hear "IP" and immediately think "science". While it is true that most IP work relates to sciences not all IP work does. IP is a huge part of the entertainment business; indeed there is strong synergy between the fundamentals that drive entertainment law and IP.

Writers, singers, producers, graphic artists, set and costume designers, cartoonists...they need their work protected, too. They need deals negotiated. IP lawyers work at WB, Time Warner, Disney, etc.

A liberal arts major should be able to transition into entertainment law with a focus on IP - within the industry. I suggest that any non-science major with a desire to do IP Law goes that route.


OP wants to do tech/software litigation. And he said he knows it is possible, but he is asking if it's common. It may be possible to do, and it may be that someone 20 years ago or even 6 years ago managed to break into IP w/o a science background, and it may even be that Irell and Quinn hire people w/o science background ... but considering OP's background, don't be ridiculous. The fact remains that it's a small possibility for someone in OPs position. It's definitely not common. He needs to find an in or catch a break to make it happen, but it's going to be tough. It's not all rainbows and sunshine out there people, and it's not helpful to pretend like it is.


I don't think people are casting this as "rainbows" at all.... Yes it's doable, but you better have a plan B/C/D in case the stars don't align. I think it is easy to troll a thread like this due to conventional TLS wisdom of being doomed without PB eligibility, but that's not a hardset rule.

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RSterling
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby RSterling » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:07 pm

Just saw this thread pop back up and wanted to mention that I'm still reading it, and I appreciate all of your help.

I know it's a long shot. I have very little formal tech experience, and I'm not from a hard science background. My plan is to work with my CSO and tech-related organizations to try and find an in somewhere, but I'm definitely not an IP or bust person. I think the best I'll hope for now is the go for general commercial litigation and hope to break into a firm with a strong IP Lit department.

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bk1
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Re: IP/Tech litigation without a science background?

Postby bk1 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:09 pm

RSterling wrote:I know this question has been asked before, and I know it's possible to do IP lit without a science background. I'm just wondering if it's common for these individuals to break into IP.

I'm increasingly interested in working with tech/software companies on the litigation side, but if this something I'd have a miniscule shot at with my liberal arts degree, I'd rather know now. Thanks!

Somewhat related question: is it common to be able to work with start-ups as an associate in a big IP firm or are you mostly dealing with the big guys? I assume it's mostly the latter, but I think that working with a start-up on a discounted or pro bono basis would be somewhat exciting.

It is not common. It depends, as PDaddy said, on getting into a firm that is generally hires non science degrees to do IP work. Considering how tough getting any biglaw jerb is these days, your chances are low. If you end up with good grades from a good school, then it will be fairly realistic. But those are two major ifs.

There is not a lot of startup litigation. Startups just cannot afford to be embroiled in legal disputes like that. It exists but it's rare. Most startup work is on the transactional side.




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