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EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:01 am
by lawschool99
My background is in computer science and have taken a couple of EE courses while completing my CS ugrad degree.

I was curious if it's possible to practice patent law in both EE & CS or if I would likely be limited to CS patent law (where my degree is).

Thank you in advance.

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:15 am
by inthetrenches21
For patent law you typically need a Masters or PhD degree, doing Patent law in CS with just a bachelors is unlikely, doing it in EE is impossible. Get a Masters in EE if you want to do patent law in the field

MOD: The title of this forum is "Ask a Law Student / Graduate. 0Ls should probably avoid giving completely incorrect advice in this forum.

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:17 am
by totesTheGoat
inthetrenches21 wrote:For patent law you typically need a Masters or PhD degree, doing Patent law in CS with just a bachelors is unlikely, doing it in EE is impossible. Get a Masters in EE if you want to do patent law in the field



This is flat wrong. You don't need an advanced degree for this. You also are usually fine with a CS degree (assuming that it's accepted for the patent bar) doing EE work. There are some jobs that require an EE degree, but they're few and far between.

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:23 am
by eepatentatty
I second totes. As long as you are capable of understanding the EE technology, a firm will be more than happy to have you working on both CS and EE cases.

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:15 pm
by QContinuum
totesTheGoat wrote:
inthetrenches21 wrote:For patent law you typically need a Masters or PhD degree, doing Patent law in CS with just a bachelors is unlikely, doing it in EE is impossible. Get a Masters in EE if you want to do patent law in the field



This is flat wrong. You don't need an advanced degree for this. You also are usually fine with a CS degree (assuming that it's accepted for the patent bar) doing EE work. There are some jobs that require an EE degree, but they're few and far between.


To further clarify, there is no requirement for a Master's or Ph.D. for prosecution gigs in either CS or EE. (Or ME, for that matter.) There is a (strong) preference for candidates with work experience in the field - ideally a couple years.

Prosecutors are generally split into engineering vs. life sciences on being hired. Prosecutors may develop further specialization organically, but someone with a CS background isn't going to be walled off from working on EE matters.

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:48 pm
by lawschool99
eepatentatty wrote:I second totes. As long as you are capable of understanding the EE technology, a firm will be more than happy to have you working on both CS and EE cases.


In regards to understanding the EE technology, would you have any recommendations on how I can expand my knowledge in the EE field? Would it mostly be learning on the job thing while working as a patent attorney (would understand EE technology relatively quicker with my background in CS) or should I try to sign up for online/offline classes to increase my EE knowledge in the classroom?

Thank you to everyone for the responses. Very helpful!

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:34 pm
by totesTheGoat
Depends. You're not expected to understand the ins and outs of cutting edge technology across a thousand different specialties. However, I've run into cases relating to operating systems (kernel operations), semiconductor tech, IC design, embedded software and hardware, touchscreen layer deposition, RF, standards-based inventions, etc. If you're coming in with very little understanding of low-level EE/CmpE concepts, you'll have a huge learning curve. It's not untenable, though.

I wouldn't bother with any formal training, but begin the process of familiarizing yourself with areas of EE that you're completely unaware of. If you nothing about how semiconductors are made, read about the process. If WiFi, 4G, and other RF communication standards are a black box to you, get up to speed on the basics. However, I'll tell you that nobody has a complete understanding across all possible EE technical fields. For every technology you study, there will be a hundred that you'll have to read about on Wikipedia when some inventor mentions it.

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:59 pm
by lawschool99
totesTheGoat wrote:Depends. You're not expected to understand the ins and outs of cutting edge technology across a thousand different specialties. However, I've run into cases relating to operating systems (kernel operations), semiconductor tech, IC design, embedded software and hardware, touchscreen layer deposition, RF, standards-based inventions, etc. If you're coming in with very little understanding of low-level EE/CmpE concepts, you'll have a huge learning curve. It's not untenable, though.

I wouldn't bother with any formal training, but begin the process of familiarizing yourself with areas of EE that you're completely unaware of. If you nothing about how semiconductors are made, read about the process. If WiFi, 4G, and other RF communication standards are a black box to you, get up to speed on the basics. However, I'll tell you that nobody has a complete understanding across all possible EE technical fields. For every technology you study, there will be a hundred that you'll have to read about on Wikipedia when some inventor mentions it.


Thanks for the response. Based on your answer, is it correct to think that the route to get into EE cases would be 1) learn basic EE concepts & increase familiarity and then 2) learn certain topics more in depth depending on the case while working as a patent attorney?

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:35 pm
by totesTheGoat
Yup that's about right. You're going to encounter cases outside of your realm of knowledge. It's part of the job. I've written applications about vitamin supplement manufacture and security fences, which are both far afield of any schooling I've ever had. A healthy dose of Wikipedia and emails with the inventors will clear up any understanding issues you may have.

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:26 pm
by lawschool99
totesTheGoat wrote:Yup that's about right. You're going to encounter cases outside of your realm of knowledge. It's part of the job. I've written applications about vitamin supplement manufacture and security fences, which are both far afield of any schooling I've ever had. A healthy dose of Wikipedia and emails with the inventors will clear up any understanding issues you may have.


Sounds good. I'll probably buy one or two books on electronics and study them thoroughly. I did take a few EE courses in undergrad so hopefully that helps me a bit with understanding material. Do you mind if I PM you if I have any more questions? I know I've been asking around on TLS time to time about patent law and you have answered a lot my questions.

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:37 am
by totesTheGoat
Feel free! I'm glad to talk.

You can also email me at dgoh3ip0elby@opayq.com if it's easier that way. If you haven't heard from me in a few days by email, ping me on here. I've had a few emails from TLS users get caught up in the spam filter.

Re: EE Patent Law Without Major

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:44 am
by inthetrenches21
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