Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

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MrEngineer
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Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

Postby MrEngineer » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:42 am

First off, I am currently an undergrad studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. I have always been interested in the Aeronautical industry but I have recently become very intrigued with IP law. Most of my father's friends are well known patent and contract attorneys in Virginia/D.C. and have really been a large influence on my career choice. Also, I am going to intern at one of their private firms this upcoming summer to see if I really am interested in the job.

However, I am concerned about whether or not my major will be entirely versatile in the patent business.
My father's friend is an Electrical Engineer and his partner is a Mechanical Engineer and, to say the least, they are very successful at what they do and at acquiring jobs.

I'm aware that the market will inevitably change in the next 10, 20, even 30+ years so it is hard to determine but, will my major be one that can be applied to many different subjects in order to draft a wide range of patents? I take many ME courses along with my coursework and much of the same preliminary courses plus all of the standard science courses that all engineers take so I have this, of course. But what types of applications could I draft? What if I partner with an EE or something similar or even continue to expand my knowledge past Aerospace-related applications in order to write patents in many different areas/subjects?

Current patent attorneys' advice about what they have seen and experienced would be best but anyone with knowledge in this business please feel free.

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MormonChristian
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Re: Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

Postby MormonChristian » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:02 pm

MrEngineer wrote:
Current patent attorneys' advice about what they have seen and experienced would be best


Yes.

I will say this, most firms/boutiques that I am familiar with want a specific type of Engineer or science discipline. However, some firms sure made it seem like they only care that you can sit for the patent bar.

MrEngineer
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Re: Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

Postby MrEngineer » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:51 am

That makes me feel slightly more reassured. I appreciate you sharing some experience

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guano
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Re: Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

Postby guano » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:57 am

Have you considered aeronautical law? (Not a flame)

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MormonChristian
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Re: Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

Postby MormonChristian » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:01 pm

guano wrote:Have you considered aeronautical law? (Not a flame)



what about Space Law? When the aliens land, you could help them get their spaceships up to International codes.

Image

MrEngineer
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Re: Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

Postby MrEngineer » Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:56 am

^ made me laugh haha.

But possibly. Depends on whether or not there will be a high demand for Aviation Law in the future. Of course, I wouldn't doubt it. My options will always be open.

anonmyuos
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Re: Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

Postby anonmyuos » Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:13 am

You're fine. Aero is strong enough that you will pass the smell test for getting work. The initial point of entry for patent work, particularly patent prosecution, is basically "does this guy have a legit degree?" Some degrees (*cough* Industrial Engineering *cough*) get laughed at. Aero is not laughed at. There might be other, valid, concerns you should have -- but Aero being good enough, or versatile enough, is not one of them.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

Postby ScottRiqui » Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:48 am

On a related note, how critical is having applicable work experience to go along with the degrees when looking for an IP job?

I have a bachelor's in computer science engineering, and a master's in applied physics. The problem is that I earned the first degree right before joining the military, and the second degree while on active duty, so I've never worked directly in either field (I'm currently still on active duty).

mrsmartypants
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Re: Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

Postby mrsmartypants » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:14 pm

anonmyuos wrote:You're fine. Aero is strong enough that you will pass the smell test for getting work. The initial point of entry for patent work, particularly patent prosecution, is basically "does this guy have a legit degree?" Some degrees (*cough* Industrial Engineering *cough*) get laughed at. Aero is not laughed at. There might be other, valid, concerns you should have -- but Aero being good enough, or versatile enough, is not one of them.


Preliminary assumption: My understanding is that aero is widely regarded as a subspecialty of mechanical--at least, both were in the same department at my UG.

For litigation, I think there's little question that any of the more "serious" engineering degrees (basically, anything other than industrial, although civil doesn't get much love either) provides adequate technical credibility.

That aside, the OP looked to be asking more after prosecution than litigation. My own prosecution practice is almost exclusively EE/CS, and I have the impression that while there's still a fair amount of mechanical patent work out there, it's not nearly as hot. Somebody with an aero degree would be well suited to a firm that has a lot of aero/mechanical clients, and I have no doubt those exist, but the number of ads I see looking for prosecution candidates with EE/CS backgrounds vastly outstrips the postings I see for other engineering fields.

As a general matter, prosecution rewards those whose technical skills run wide rather than deep. For someone coming from a different discipline, taking a few basic EE/CS classes on fundamentals of electronics and computer organization would go a long ways towards establishing one's technical versatility (I know quite a few people with mechanical/chemical backgrounds who work on simpler EE/CS inventions in addition to stuff that's in their wheelhouse). If avionics/control systems is already a part of the aero curriculum, that's helpful.

mrsmartypants
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Re: Aerospace Engineering to Patent/IP Law

Postby mrsmartypants » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:19 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:On a related note, how critical is having applicable work experience to go along with the degrees when looking for an IP job?

I have a bachelor's in computer science engineering, and a master's in applied physics. The problem is that I earned the first degree right before joining the military, and the second degree while on active duty, so I've never worked directly in either field (I'm currently still on active duty).


For lit: doesn't really matter.

For pros: helpful, but not critical--though that's assuming one has gone straight through UG to LS. If I were looking at your resume, my primary concern would be assessing how stale your technical skills were, if you've not been using them for a number of years.




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