Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

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Cloud9
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Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Cloud9 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:27 pm

In recent conversations with several friends that are lawyers, a couple suggested that if I wanted to pursue a private practice in patent law, I should skip law school altogether and the big firms, and take this alternate non-traditional route instead.

Here is the path. Tell me what you guys think about the pros and cons of such an approach.

I live in California. Here, as in a few other states, you can take the Bar without going to law school.

I explained to them that my interest was patent law and that passing the patent bar without law school would just make me a patent agent, not a patent lawyer.

They clarified by telling me that if I took the patent Bar before passing the CA Bar then that would be true, but if I took the CA Bar (and passed) and then took the Patent Bar (and passed), I would be a Patent Attorney.

So their recommendation was to complete the 21credits for an MS in Computer Engineering, study for the Bar under an attorney's or judge's tutoring for a few hours a month (the rest self study), take the "baby bar" 1 year later, and after passing study another 6-12 months (opinions varied) and take the CA Bar exam.

While awaiting results, study for the Patent Bar, once confirmed you passed the CA Bar, then take the Patent Bar.

I pointed out less than 20% pass the CA Bar with this method, and their retort was that even those with AA degrees are admitted to the Bar, and many don't know how to study properly for the Bar, but those with decent higher level education have a much better chance.

Besides, they pointed out, you can take it again if you don't pass the first time. They also stated that you're a "full-fledged" lawyer like any other.

I had never heard of this before, but it sounds just like something I would do as I've always figured out ways not to pay (directly) for any of my degrees.

Has anyone here heard of this before? What do you think?

"If you’ve decided to pursue a career involving patents or are even just considering it, you’ve probably heard of what is commonly referred to as the Patent Bar. Passing this exam, which is officially called the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Registration Examination for Patent Attorneys and Patent Agents, is required to represent inventors, associated individuals, and corporations in their endeavor to obtain patent protection in the United States. If someone is also a member of at least one state bar, upon passing, they are considered to be a patent attorney. However, if someone takes this exam and is not also an attorney, they are referred to as a patent agent."

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:29 pm

This is a momentously stupid idea.

awesomepossum
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby awesomepossum » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:31 pm

If you want to be a patent agent, that's fine. You won't get paid very much and your work will be limited to helping with patent prosecution which (in my opinion) is incredibly boring.

If you pass the bar and are a CA lawyer without a law degree, it's going to be hard to find a reputable shop that will hire you as a lawyer. I'm sure there are some rinky dink places that might hire, but your options will be far more limited. It goes without saying that you won't be able to work as a lawyer outside of CA .

FuturehoyaLawya
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby FuturehoyaLawya » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:35 pm

Cloud9 wrote:In recent conversations with several friends that are lawyers, a couple suggested that if I wanted to pursue a private practice in patent law, I should skip law school altogether and the big firms, and take this alternate non-traditional route instead.

Here is the path. Tell me what you guys think about the pros and cons of such an approach.

I live in California. Here, as in a few other states, you can take the Bar without going to law school.

I explained to them that my interest was patent law and that passing the patent bar without law school would just make me a patent agent, not a patent lawyer.

They clarified by telling me that if I took the patent Bar before passing the CA Bar then that would be true, but if I took the CA Bar (and passed) and then took the Patent Bar (and passed), I would be a Patent Attorney.

So their recommendation was to complete the 21credits for an MS in Computer Engineering, study for the Bar under an attorney's or judge's tutoring for a few hours a month (the rest self study), take the "baby bar" 1 year later, and after passing study another 6-12 months (opinions varied) and take the CA Bar exam.

While awaiting results, study for the Patent Bar, once confirmed you passed the CA Bar, then take the Patent Bar.

I pointed out less than 20% pass the CA Bar with this method, and their retort was that even those with AA degrees are admitted to the Bar, and many don't know how to study properly for the Bar, but those with decent higher level education have a much better chance.

Besides, they pointed out, you can take it again if you don't pass the first time. They also stated that you're a "full-fledged" lawyer like any other.

I had never heard of this before, but it sounds just like something I would do as I've always figured out ways not to pay (directly) for any of my degrees.

Has anyone here heard of this before? What do you think?

"If you’ve decided to pursue a career involving patents or are even just considering it, you’ve probably heard of what is commonly referred to as the Patent Bar. Passing this exam, which is officially called the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Registration Examination for Patent Attorneys and Patent Agents, is required to represent inventors, associated individuals, and corporations in their endeavor to obtain patent protection in the United States. If someone is also a member of at least one state bar, upon passing, they are considered to be a patent attorney. However, if someone takes this exam and is not also an attorney, they are referred to as a patent agent."

so what would you say when a client or collegue asks, "so what lawschool did you go to?" awkward.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby dextermorgan » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:37 pm

Lxw wrote:This is a momentously stupid idea.

+1

California also has one of the most difficult bar exams in the country. Many who actually do graduate form law school don't pass it on the first try. Not to mention that even if you do pass what credentials do you have to sell to potential clients?

Cloud9
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Cloud9 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:46 pm

Lxw wrote:This is a momentously stupid idea.


Can you elaborate on why you think so? (I love it when I hear that by the way, because I've heard it before for my other degrees) :)

awesomepossum wrote: It goes without saying that you won't be able to work as a lawyer outside of CA .


As they explained it, that would be true for any lawyer. Any lawyer would have to retake the Bar in the state they practice. Even if I decided to move to another state, I wouldn't have to practice law necessarily, I can leverage one of my other degrees.

Our family is largely in CA, NY, TX and AZ. Other than those states and perhaps CO, FL, I can't imagine myself living in any other state.

"Law school drop outs can be lawyers in New York, California, Maine, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming, and Washington... Neither Abraham Lincoln nor Clarence Darrow, for example, graduated from law school. But lawyers who took this route are a relative rarity nowadays, and there are usually fewer than 400 students nationwide pursuing law office study at any given time."

Cloud9
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Cloud9 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:55 pm

dextermorgan wrote:
Lxw wrote:This is a momentously stupid idea.

+1

California also has one of the most difficult bar exams in the country. Many who actually do graduate form law school don't pass it on the first try. Not to mention that even if you do pass what credentials do you have to sell to potential clients?


MBA from top 15, MSEE, BSCS, and 10+ yrs xp for a Global Technology firm that holds the most patents of any tech company.

If patent agents get work and they're not attorneys, why wouldn't a patent attorney get work?

For those indicating I wouldn't get "hired" anywhere, when I mentioned private practice in patent work, I meant my own business.

What credentials do you have to sell potential clients if you're a tier 2/3 J.D.?

The alternative would be to go T14 and shell out $200k+? Hmm, I wonder if you'd be more attractive as a candidate applying to T14 having passed the CA Bar and/or the Patent Bar.....

Anonymous Loser
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Anonymous Loser » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:56 pm

Look over §§ 4.26-29 of the California Rules of the State Bar: you'll need to spend at minimum 4 years studying under an attorney or judge to sit for the bar exam.

awesomepossum
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby awesomepossum » Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:56 pm

Cloud9 wrote:
Lxw wrote:This is a momentously stupid idea.


Can you elaborate on why you think so? (I love it when I hear that by the way, because I've heard it before for my other degrees) :)

awesomepossum wrote: It goes without saying that you won't be able to work as a lawyer outside of CA .


As they explained it, that would be true for any lawyer. Any lawyer would have to retake the Bar in the state they practice. Even if I decided to move to another state, I wouldn't have to practice law necessarily, I can leverage one of my other degrees.

Our family is largely in CA, NY, TX and AZ. Other than those states and perhaps CO, FL, I can't imagine myself living in any other state.

"Law school drop outs can be lawyers in New York, California, Maine, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming, and Washington... Neither Abraham Lincoln nor Clarence Darrow, for example, graduated from law school. But lawyers who took this route are a relative rarity nowadays, and there are usually fewer than 400 students nationwide pursuing law office study at any given time."



In another state, you as a law degree-less lawyer couldn't even take the bar. People with law degrees could.

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Space_Cowboy
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Space_Cowboy » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:00 pm

Cloud9 wrote:
dextermorgan wrote:
Lxw wrote:This is a momentously stupid idea.

+1

California also has one of the most difficult bar exams in the country. Many who actually do graduate form law school don't pass it on the first try. Not to mention that even if you do pass what credentials do you have to sell to potential clients?


MBA from top 15, MSEE, BSCS, and 10+ yrs xp for a Global Technology firm that holds the most patents of any tech company.

If patent agents get work and they're not attorneys, why wouldn't a patent attorney get work?

For those indicating I wouldn't get "hired" anywhere, when I mentioned private practice in patent work, I meant my own business.

What credentials do you have to sell potential clients if you're a tier 2/3 J.D.?

The alternative would be to go T14 and shell out $200k+? Hmm, I wonder if you'd be more attractive as a candidate applying to T14 having passed the CA Bar and/or the Patent Bar.....


awesomepossum didn't say you won't get work, just that you won't be paid like an attorney since firms probably aren't crazy about billing you out to their clients as an attorney.

EDIT:

Cloud9 wrote:What credentials do you have to sell potential clients if you're a tier 2/3 J.D.?


The answer is in the question. Clients can be stupid sometimes. When they pay for a lawyer, rightly or wrongly, they expect that their lawyer went to law school.
Last edited by Space_Cowboy on Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cloud9
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Cloud9 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:03 pm

FuturehoyaLawya wrote:so what would you say when a client or collegue asks, "so what lawschool did you go to?" awkward.


I'm sure I'll come up with something in the process.

"Self study and passed the hardest Bar in the country"

"Take your pick"

"It was a small institution that has a very high return on investment"

"Value education courtesy of the State of CA"

"Too smart for law school" (tongue in cheek) :-)

"Decided to dispense with the formalities and just become a lawyer"

Perhaps I'll create a cool sounding educational institution or discuss the idea with a local college and be "sponsored" or some other idea.... :-)

Cloud9
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Cloud9 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:05 pm

Space_Cowboy wrote:
Cloud9 wrote:
dextermorgan wrote:
Lxw wrote:This is a momentously stupid idea.

+1

California also has one of the most difficult bar exams in the country. Many who actually do graduate form law school don't pass it on the first try. Not to mention that even if you do pass what credentials do you have to sell to potential clients?


MBA from top 15, MSEE, BSCS, and 10+ yrs xp for a Global Technology firm that holds the most patents of any tech company.

If patent agents get work and they're not attorneys, why wouldn't a patent attorney get work?

For those indicating I wouldn't get "hired" anywhere, when I mentioned private practice in patent work, I meant my own business.

What credentials do you have to sell potential clients if you're a tier 2/3 J.D.?

The alternative would be to go T14 and shell out $200k+? Hmm, I wonder if you'd be more attractive as a candidate applying to T14 having passed the CA Bar and/or the Patent Bar.....


awesomepossum didn't say you won't get work, just that you won't be paid like an attorney since firms probably aren't crazy about billing you out to their clients as an attorney.


Note bolded areas. It would be my firm.

And if I decided to do law school later, it would certainly show commitment to the law... ;-)

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:07 pm

im confused, it sounds like you're already dead set on this idea...why did you ask other ppl what they think?

lol and an above poster talking about studying under a judge or attorney for 4 yrs would be a concern of mine if that is a true stipulation

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Space_Cowboy
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Space_Cowboy » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:07 pm

patent solo, eh?

Cloud9
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Cloud9 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:09 pm

awesomepossum wrote:In another state, you as a law degree-less lawyer couldn't even take the bar. People with law degrees could.


That's not an accurate statement. It depends on the state.

Different states have different requirements.

If I decided to move back to NY, I can go to a T3 law school for a year and take the Bar.

Assuming I'd want to leave sunny CA.

awesomepossum
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby awesomepossum » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:10 pm

hahaha...this idea sounds awesome.

do it and let us know how it turns out.

Renzo
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Renzo » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:14 pm

Even if this were a good idea, the baby bar is exclusionary, and exceedingly difficult.

Cloud9
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Cloud9 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:24 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:im confused, it sounds like you're already dead set on this idea...why did you ask other ppl what they think?

lol and an above poster talking about studying under a judge or attorney for 4 yrs would be a concern of mine if that is a true stipulation


I'm just addressing some of the objections. I'm not dead set on the idea, just discussing it. It's a discussion forum isn't it?

I'm aware of the "4yr stipulation" - The approach is studying under a judge/attorney for 1yr, pass the "baby bar" and as I understand it from a couple of CA lawyers, you can take the Bar while studying under an attorney / judge.

The way they explained it, I would still have to study or "read the law" (as an apprentice of sorts) for 4yrs even after having passed the Bar. It's 4yrs total - whether you pass the Bar in year 2 or wait until year 4 to take it. After passing the Bar and 4yrs, you can go on your own.

That's why they said, study for a year, take the "baby Bar", then 6-12 months (opinions differed on how long to study to successfully pass the Bar via this route), then await the results (which I understand take a while?) then study for the Patent Bar. The whole process would take 2-3 years for both and when the tutelage ends on year 4, you can go on your own.

Apparently, I couldn't "open shop" before year 4.

There are a lot of students here that talk about attending a local or regional T3 college because they don't plan on practicing in any other state or working for a big law firm.

Maybe some of you plan to work or live all over the U.S., but in our case, most states are out of the question with only the states I mentioned being viable, and most likely it's just CA.

As I mentioned previously with the baby Bar. I pointed out to them that it has an 18% pass rate via this route, and their answer was that they were surprised it was that high given how little education many of the people that take it have. According to them, very few have a masters in any subject, some have bachelors and many just have AAs and CLEP classes. Even those with bachelors and masters many come from questionable universities T2/3 and easy subjects.

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loser148
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby loser148 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:32 pm

patently stupid...get a scholarship and degree...

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Mr. Matlock
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Mr. Matlock » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Cloud9 wrote:As I mentioned previously with the baby Bar. I pointed out to them that it has an 18% pass rate via this route, and their answer was that they were surprised it was that high given how little education many of the people that take it have. According to them, very few have a masters in any subject, some have bachelors and many just have AAs and CLEP classes. Even those with bachelors and masters many come from questionable universities T2/3 and easy subjects.

Well, good luck to you. This sounds awesome. With that big brain of yours, this should be no problem!

Anonymous Loser
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Anonymous Loser » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:35 pm

Cloud9 wrote:
The way they explained it, I would still have to study or "read the law" (as an apprentice of sorts) for 4yrs even after having passed the Bar. It's 4yrs total - whether you pass the Bar in year 2 or wait until year 4 to take it. After passing the Bar and 4yrs, you can go on your own.

That's why they said, study for a year, take the "baby Bar", then 6-12 months (opinions differed on how long to study to successfully pass the Bar via this route), then await the results (which I understand take a while?) then study for the Patent Bar. The whole process would take 2-3 years for both and when the tutelage ends on year 4, you can go on your own.


No.

Rule 4.26 Legal education

General applicants for the California Bar Examination must

(A) be graduates of law schools approved by the American Bar Association or
accredited by the Committee; or

(B) demonstrate that in accordance with these rules they have

(1) studied law diligently and in good faith for at least four years in a
law school registered with the Committee; in a law office; in a
judge’s chambers; or by some combination of these methods
; or

(2) met the requirements of these rules for legal education in a foreign
state or country; and

(C) have passed or established exemption from the First-Year Law Students'
Examination.



Cloud9
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Cloud9 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:39 pm

awesomepossum wrote:hahaha...this idea sounds awesome.

do it and let us know how it turns out.


That's the spirit! hahaha :D

It does sound awesome!

Imagine this... someone does it and aces the Bar and makes the news - that'd be hilarious!

Specially if they went into a rant as to how only 2 law schools in the country have 100% pass rate for the Bar even though you're shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for an education.

Or this....

Dear HY admissions, I'm a self educated patent attorney applying to law school..... LOL

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Mr. Matlock
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Mr. Matlock » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:42 pm

Cloud9 wrote:
awesomepossum wrote:hahaha...this idea sounds awesome.

do it and let us know how it turns out.


That's the spirit! hahaha :D

It does sound awesome!

Imagine this... someone does it and aces the Bar and makes the news - that'd be hilarious!

Specially if they went into a rant as to how only 2 law schools in the country have 100% pass rate for the Bar even though you're shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for an education.

Or this....

Dear HY admissions, I'm a self educated patent attorney applying to law school..... LOL

Rock on dude!

Cloud9
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Cloud9 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:44 pm

There's always the correspondence school approach.... :D

http://www.asis.com/users/edenson/lawstudy.html

"At 4:20pm on August 25, 1999 I was sworn in to the California Bar. That was the culmination of almost 5 years of effort. On Jan 27, 1999 I graduated after four years of correspondence study of law through William Howard Taft University . The good news, then, is that it is possible to study law effectively by correspondence. Still it's more fun if you can talk to some other people in the same situation. I took the State Bar Feb. 23-25, and learned that I passed on Saturday May 29."

Cloud9
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Re: Becoming a Patent Attorney / Lawyer without Law School

Postby Cloud9 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:49 pm

13 FAMOUS AMERICAN LAWYERS
ALL BUT ONE NEVER WENT TO LAW SCHOOL

1. Patrick Henry (1736-1799), member of the Continental Congress, governor of Virginia

2. John Jay (1745-1829), first chief justice of the Supreme Court

3. John Marshall (1755-1835), chief justice of the Supreme Court

4. William Wirt (1772-1834), attorney general

5. Roger B. Taney (1777-1864), secretary of the treasury, chief justice of the Supreme Court

6. Daniel Webster (1782-1852), secretary of state

7. Salmon P. Chase (1808-1873), senator, chief justice of the Supreme Court

8. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), president

9. Stephen Douglas (1813-1861), representative, senator from Illinois

10. Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), defense attorney in Scopes trial of 1925. [While Clarence Darrow attended a law school for one year, he did not distinguish himself and preferred to study law on his own. He received the greater part of his education in a law office in Youngstown, Ohio.]

11. Robert Storey (b. 1893), president of the American Bar Association (1952-1953)

12. J. Strom Thurmond (b. 1902), senator, governor of South Carolina

13. James O. Eastland (b. 1904), senator from Mississippi

Wallechinsky, David, "The Book of Lists," 1977

Clarence Darrow, did go to law school for one year before he quit. He became the most famous. Hmmmm....maybe it does pay to go to law school.


How to Become an Attorney Without Law School - Become a Lawyer with no College Degree

Former U.S. Marine and now attorney provides free instructional blog on how to become a lawyer without law school on the California State Bar Law Office Study Program (LOSP), and other alternative methods of becoming an attorney other than traditional law school or college. How to become an attorney with no law school - degree or no college degree. Read below and learn to be a lawyer with no law school now.


:D

Some are criminal trial lawyers, others marijuana advocates / defense.... pretty interesting! Truly fascinating that one can do that. Don't see that option for Medical School hahaha




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