PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

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Abme
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PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

Postby Abme » Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:12 am

Hey everyone! I am a recent grad from Harvey Mudd college with a BS in General Engineering and have a strong background in BME. I want to pursue a career in patent law and I'm trying to decide if I should pursue a MS in BME from Yale that is one year long and $60k OR try and find an engineering job hopefully in the medical device industry.

THANK YOU for any help/advice!!! I have to decide by July 20 :/

In case my background is helpful:
I am a URM (Gay, Latino, first-gen, low-income) and have a 3.33 GPA and graduated with Distinction and Honors and have 4 years of research experience where I have published internationally and have 2 years co-op experience with BD from a clinic project at my school where I am on a patent for a device I helped design/manufacture. I have never taken the LSAT but I scored well on the GRE: Q:167, V:158, W:5. I was also an RA and have over a dozen leadership/management/mentoring work experiences I did while at Mudd.

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elendinel
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Re: PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

Postby elendinel » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:09 pm

Abme wrote:Hey everyone! I am a recent grad from Harvey Mudd college with a BS in General Engineering and have a strong background in BME. I want to pursue a career in patent law and I'm trying to decide if I should pursue a MS in BME from Yale that is one year long and $60k OR try and find an engineering job hopefully in the medical device industry.

THANK YOU for any help/advice!!! I have to decide by July 20 :/

In case my background is helpful:
I am a URM (Gay, Latino, first-gen, low-income) and have a 3.33 GPA and graduated with Distinction and Honors and have 4 years of research experience where I have published internationally and have 2 years co-op experience with BD from a clinic project at my school where I am on a patent for a device I helped design/manufacture. I have never taken the LSAT but I scored well on the GRE: Q:167, V:158, W:5. I was also an RA and have over a dozen leadership/management/mentoring work experiences I did while at Mudd.


Patent what? Pros/lit/trans? And are you thinking of WE/MS purely to get the patent law job, or do you want to do one of those things and then think about patent law?

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trmckenz
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Re: PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

Postby trmckenz » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:28 pm

For a career in patent law, you should: (a) get a job as a patent agent; or (b) go to law school. I recommend working as a patent agent for a few years before deciding if attending law school is the right move. Lots of firms have medical device and other healthcare-related patent work.

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elendinel
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Re: PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

Postby elendinel » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:51 pm

trmckenz wrote:For a career in patent law, you should: (a) get a job as a patent agent; or (b) go to law school. I recommend working as a patent agent for a few years before deciding if attending law school is the right move. Lots of firms have medical device and other healthcare-related patent work.


Problem with this IMO is that most firms who will pay for law school won't hire someone as a patent agent with only a BS/no work experience. Also working as a patent agent won't tell you if lit/transactions are worth going to school to do, and not all firms let you get experience in all three (some pigeon-hole you into pros). Also lit/trans in particular care more about LS performance than WE, so working as a patent agent will show interest in patents, but it's not going to give a huge leg up on other applicants.

So what OP wants to do changes what route OP needs to take.

Abme
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Re: PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

Postby Abme » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:14 pm

Thank you everyone for your input. At this point, I am pretty sure I am going to Yale. I would still love advice on my future trajectory though. I think in the short-term I would focus on prosecution; however, I would be interested in exploring litigation routes. Could someone explain to me how a prosecution route looks different from a litigation route?

What law school and/or law firms would y'all recommend for good biotech patent cases, high pay, and room to grow/be mentored?

What do people think of me taking the patent bar before I apply as an agent vs applying as a patent engineer/analyst/advisor/etc. and taking the bar after?

Do people think a JD/MBA is helpful if I want to move up the ranks as a partner to potentially manage a firm?

Thank you again for all your help and advice! I really appreciate your time.

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elendinel
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Re: PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

Postby elendinel » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:45 pm

Abme wrote:Thank you everyone for your input. At this point, I am pretty sure I am going to Yale. I would still love advice on my future trajectory though. I think in the short-term I would focus on prosecution; however, I would be interested in exploring litigation routes. Could someone explain to me how a prosecution route looks different from a litigation route?

What law school and/or law firms would y'all recommend for good biotech patent cases, high pay, and room to grow/be mentored?

What do people think of me taking the patent bar before I apply as an agent vs applying as a patent engineer/analyst/advisor/etc. and taking the bar after?

Do people think a JD/MBA is helpful if I want to move up the ranks as a partner to potentially manage a firm?

Thank you again for all your help and advice! I really appreciate your time.


Don't get an MBA.

Pros is basically everything that happens before a patent is granted (with some post-grant exceptions): talking to inventors, drafting their patent applications, doing the back and forth with the patent office, and getting the application issued as a patent. Lit is pretty similar to any other form of lit (just focused on patents/patent issues, specifically). Because of this, science knowledge/practice is much more important in pros than in lit; you can get away with a BS in lit, but a lot of places will only hire MS/PhDs, and/or someone with significant work experience, for pros.

If you want to do pros, I'd take the patent bar; it's not something you have to go to law school to do and it'll open up more options. Plus for pros you are likely to have to pass within a certain amount of time that you start as a tech advisor/analyst/whatever the firm calls it, anyway (my firm required passage within a year, I think). Patent bar's not really important for lit (it may show a dedication to patent law, but only a portion of what you study for the patent bar is going to be useful for lit), so if you plan to skip pros and do lit, the patent bar will be less of a priority.

For law school, get in the best school you can get into; lit cares more about LS prestige and performance than it cares about your science degree/WE and you can't really redo law school if you do decide you want to transition to lit after all. I'd look at patent boutiques for post-LS (it's hard to give more specific advice when you're pre-0L); they won't pay as much as biglaw but those jobs are more likely to be stable for pros by the time you graduate.

Feel free to PM if you want more advice.

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trmckenz
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Re: PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

Postby trmckenz » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:01 pm

elendinel wrote:
trmckenz wrote:For a career in patent law, you should: (a) get a job as a patent agent; or (b) go to law school. I recommend working as a patent agent for a few years before deciding if attending law school is the right move. Lots of firms have medical device and other healthcare-related patent work.


Problem with this IMO is that most firms who will pay for law school won't hire someone as a patent agent with only a BS/no work experience. Also working as a patent agent won't tell you if lit/transactions are worth going to school to do, and not all firms let you get experience in all three (some pigeon-hole you into pros). Also lit/trans in particular care more about LS performance than WE, so working as a patent agent will show interest in patents, but it's not going to give a huge leg up on other applicants.

So what OP wants to do changes what route OP needs to take.


First, nobody (including OP) said anything about firms that pay for law school. This is introducing an extra and unneeded variable into the equation.

Second, being a patent agent IS a career in patent law. Many people choose to go this path without going to law school and do very well. OP should at least be aware that this option exists.

Third, OP proposed two options - grad school vs. engineering job. Both are roundabout ways of obtaining the stated goal of "pursuing a career in patent law." A Yale degree would likely help land interviews though, so if OP is set on going to Yale and is willing to pay the $$, then by all means OP should do that.

Lastly, after Yale, why not shoot for patent agent jobs? In 2-3 years, OP could learn patent law basics, pass the patent bar, and study for the LSAT while making good money. Then OP could go to law school with increased awareness of pros/lit/trans practices.

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trmckenz
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Re: PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

Postby trmckenz » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:39 pm

Abme wrote:Thank you everyone for your input. At this point, I am pretty sure I am going to Yale. I would still love advice on my future trajectory though. I think in the short-term I would focus on prosecution; however, I would be interested in exploring litigation routes. Could someone explain to me how a prosecution route looks different from a litigation route?

What law school and/or law firms would y'all recommend for good biotech patent cases, high pay, and room to grow/be mentored?

What do people think of me taking the patent bar before I apply as an agent vs applying as a patent engineer/analyst/advisor/etc. and taking the bar after?

Do people think a JD/MBA is helpful if I want to move up the ranks as a partner to potentially manage a firm?

Thank you again for all your help and advice! I really appreciate your time.


OP, isn't your BME background pretty much Mechanical Engineering? If so, I don't think you need to take the patent bar before landing a patent job. You can find a firm who is willing to pay you to do it. I'd start as a patent engineer/analyst/advisor/etc (that's what I did). Most firms don't require grad school for mechanical engineers.

"Biotech" kind of blurs the lines a bit, as some could consider that under the umbrella of the life sciences - chemistry, biology, etc. Typically a PhD is required for that kind of patent law. Medical devices would be probably considered mechanical or electrical. Try to gain experience in those two fields during your MS program (unless you have aspirations of obtaining your PhD in something else).

Happy to help as well. It's good to have multiple perspectives.

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elendinel
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Re: PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

Postby elendinel » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:47 pm

trmckenz wrote:First, nobody (including OP) said anything about firms that pay for law school. This is introducing an extra and unneeded variable into the equation.

Second, being a patent agent IS a career in patent law. Many people choose to go this path without going to law school and do very well. OP should at least be aware that this option exists.


Sure but this is why knowing what OP wanted to do in "patent law" is relevant. Having not known what OP wanted to do, the only real reason to automatically shoot for patent agent jobs would be to get law school paid for by one's firm. But it's arguably not the best use of someone's time to go be a patent agent for three years if they only want to do transactions. That was my only point. Your advice was fine for someone who primarily wants to do pros, but without knowing what OP wanted to do in patents it was overly limiting.

Third, OP proposed two options - grad school vs. engineering job. Both are roundabout ways of obtaining the stated goal of "pursuing a career in patent law."


If the goal is lit/transactions, sure. If it's pros, one of these would be pretty essential for OP for BME. Again, why context was important.

Anyway it's all moot now that OP has explained what in particular (s)he wants to do.

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trmckenz
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Re: PATENT LAW: Yale MS BME vs Work Experience

Postby trmckenz » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:35 pm

elendinel wrote:
trmckenz wrote:First, nobody (including OP) said anything about firms that pay for law school. This is introducing an extra and unneeded variable into the equation.

Second, being a patent agent IS a career in patent law. Many people choose to go this path without going to law school and do very well. OP should at least be aware that this option exists.


Sure but this is why knowing what OP wanted to do in "patent law" is relevant. Having not known what OP wanted to do, the only real reason to automatically shoot for patent agent jobs would be to get law school paid for by one's firm. But it's arguably not the best use of someone's time to go be a patent agent for three years if they only want to do transactions. That was my only point. Your advice was fine for someone who primarily wants to do pros, but without knowing what OP wanted to do in patents it was overly limiting.

Third, OP proposed two options - grad school vs. engineering job. Both are roundabout ways of obtaining the stated goal of "pursuing a career in patent law."


If the goal is lit/transactions, sure. If it's pros, one of these would be pretty essential for OP for BME. Again, why context was important.

Anyway it's all moot now that OP has explained what in particular (s)he wants to do.


Yeah, agreed. I sincerely appreciate you starting with the perspective that there is more to patent law than prosecution. Pros is a great starting point, but so much lies beyond - lots of overlap with other practice areas too. Hopefully OP can find a firm that provides a mix of work.


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