Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:52 pm

r6_philly wrote:
patent-o wrote:I am graduating with a B.S. in Computer Science and I have been accepted to law school. I've wanted to be a patent attorney since middle school. Yes, that means that I've already gone through 4 years of engineering just to go to law school. I highly recommend CS because it is a bit more rare than EE. Namely, because the CS degree has to come from an engineering college. When I was applying to universities for Computer Science, I was surprised at how many schools give out a CS degree in the form of a B.A. I will admit, I am a bit biased :) CS internships also pay really really well ($25-33/hour). You could have a really nice nest egg saved up to help out with law school costs.
I've spoken with some career services employees at some of the law schools that I am considering. They tell me that firms are reaching out to them requesting students who have a CS or EE background, and there aren't enough students to go around. Either way, you can't make a bad decision. Four years ago I was in your shoes, and I have no regrets.


It may be a little bit more rare, but firms still prefer EE before CS.


I get the feeling they believe EE doods can do CS work. Which may be correct because CS patents, from what I hear, are mostly just flowcharts.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby r6_philly » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:58 pm

Desert Fox wrote:I get the feeling they believe EE doods can do CS work. Which may be correct because CS patents, from what I hear, are mostly just flowcharts.


I was plainly told that if I had EE I'd get offered, but since I only have CS, I had to see how the EE pool turned out.

EE can do CS work. CS may be able to do EE work. But at the end of the day, there are more physical component patents than software patents, so why not hire the actual major instead of someone who can also do it.

We'd all be good for 2L/post grad, but I am not sure how confident I am about this going down the rankings.

Beeg12
Posts: 73
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:38 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby Beeg12 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:34 pm

Preempting my opinion on CS patent validity in current and future markets, I would like to say that I am a 0L and my opinion comes from 5 years experience in software business processes and software contracts and my interactions with large corporations that sub-contract software/application development.

Software patents are HUGE. I have worked in software for 5 years at a SaaS (Software as a Service) company and we have contracts monthly if not weekly. If you look in the news at the amount of software patent issues it will show you the demand for lawyers who know software. Software contracts are unique from every other kind of law and nothing is more frustrating to an IT company than having to explain software to patent/contract attorneys who are out of their element. I would imagine that a little bit of market research would show that software knowledgeable attorneys are in large demand. For example: in September of 2011 there were 10 large scale software mergers/acquisitions/patent purchases/patent suits worth over $500 million EACH. If big law firms don't recognize the importance of a computer science background/patent bar certification I would be shocked (Yes, most of these companies have in-house counsel but the work is so great and high detail that outsourcing legal representation is required for every contract).

That being said, I recently spoke to a HR slasher/burner at IBM and was told that software contracts for large companies exceed 2000 pages. So please do not go into patent law just for money, you also have to enjoy software and be aware that you will be neck deep in menial paperwork for your entire career.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby r6_philly » Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:32 pm

^ what you are describing above is actually transactional, not patent law. I am sure they consult patent attorneys when they do deals but most of patent law in law school deals with the patent prosecution process with the PTO and working on infringement suits. I think transactional/deal making work are traditionally just handled by corporate lawyers. You really don't need to get down to the coding/deeply technical level to handle contracts/deals. What they would do is add in exhibits that tech people read and proof (I have done this in the past), but the contract is written by people who have no idea how the software worked.

Beeg12
Posts: 73
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:38 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby Beeg12 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:24 am

r6_philly wrote:^ what you are describing above is actually transactional, not patent law. I am sure they consult patent attorneys when they do deals but most of patent law in law school deals with the patent prosecution process with the PTO and working on infringement suits. I think transactional/deal making work are traditionally just handled by corporate lawyers. You really don't need to get down to the coding/deeply technical level to handle contracts/deals. What they would do is add in exhibits that tech people read and proof (I have done this in the past), but the contract is written by people who have no idea how the software worked.


That is true, but I beleive you will see in the near future that more and more attorneys with CS backgrounds will emerge and be used in these situations...why pay two people to do something tha can be one job?

As far as patents, software has unfortunately become the only certainty as far as American invention/creation/innovation. Someone with a CS degree would be well prepared. New software is not going away and with new software production comes patent disputes

clintone88
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:10 am

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby clintone88 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:43 pm

Anecdotal, I'm ee, I have a friend at the same school who is cs. I've had 3 biglaw/boutique interviews and he has had none. I don't think cs is bad in any way, but a lot of the jobs I've applied for say ee and not cs. The assumption that ee is more flexible being the reason I assume, but not sure. I've also heard patent attorneys say this too. Either one is fine though. And I did undergrad solely to do patent law, there's nothing wrong with that. Now I have good job prospects in and out of law from a t30 while people at t14 still struggle =/. Better to be prepared ahead of time than than stuck with a worthless ba degree in my opinion.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby r6_philly » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:49 pm

clintone88 wrote:Anecdotal, I'm ee, I have a friend at the same school who is cs. I've had 3 biglaw/boutique interviews and he has had none. I don't think cs is bad in any way, but a lot of the jobs I've applied for say ee and not cs. The assumption that ee is more flexible being the reason I assume, but not sure. I've also heard patent attorneys say this too. Either one is fine though. And I did undergrad solely to do patent law, there's nothing wrong with that. Now I have good job prospects in and out of law from a t30 while people at t14 still struggle =/. Better to be prepared ahead of time than than stuck with a worthless ba degree in my opinion.


Also Anecdotal, but I got an interview with every EE posting I applied to (I'm only CS), biglaw and boutique, for 1L summer. I don't know if you know his grades/ug grades/WE/resume/cover letter, don't assume the EE/CS distinction is that great. I only notice a preference from firms. His CS may not be accredited, as well.

BTW, do you think your job prospect out of your T30 is good if you don't want to do patent? I have friends who's interested in attending GW but not committed to patent. Do you think you have same access to other practice areas?

clintone88
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:10 am

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby clintone88 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:15 pm

r6_philly wrote:
clintone88 wrote:Anecdotal, I'm ee, I have a friend at the same school who is cs. I've had 3 biglaw/boutique interviews and he has had none. I don't think cs is bad in any way, but a lot of the jobs I've applied for say ee and not cs. The assumption that ee is more flexible being the reason I assume, but not sure. I've also heard patent attorneys say this too. Either one is fine though. And I did undergrad solely to do patent law, there's nothing wrong with that. Now I have good job prospects in and out of law from a t30 while people at t14 still struggle =/. Better to be prepared ahead of time than than stuck with a worthless ba degree in my opinion.


Also Anecdotal, but I got an interview with every EE posting I applied to (I'm only CS), biglaw and boutique, for 1L summer. I don't know if you know his grades/ug grades/WE/resume/cover letter, don't assume the EE/CS distinction is that great. I only notice a preference from firms. His CS may not be accredited, as well.

BTW, do you think your job prospect out of your T30 is good if you don't want to do patent? I have friends who's interested in attending GW but not committed to patent. Do you think you have same access to other practice areas?


He's A track eligible, had 5 years of CS experience, but I'm not sure about grades or app material quality, although our school hasn't really released grades yet. Like I said, I think either is fine, and more importantly, both give awesome job prospects if you don't want law too, with CS being slightly better I think. Probably widely depends on the area of the country too, if it's more software heavy or hardware heavy.

I don't think my t30 offers nearly as good of prospects to non-patent, I don't know any non-patents who have had 1L SA interviews/offers, though admittedly I don't really talk much about jobs with people who aren't patent focused. I would not have gone here (or any other law school) if not for patent law because of shitty law school job prospects nationwide. Having an engineering/CS degree, and throwing that away for law school only makes sense if you're positive you want to do patent law in my opinion.

User avatar
Cupidity
Posts: 2214
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby Cupidity » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:17 pm

mrtoren wrote:
PatentMoney wrote:Anyone in IP Law know which degree is more sought after in Big Law and IP boutiques?

I don't think computer science counts as a hard science.


It is as far as IP firms are concerned.

User avatar
Cupidity
Posts: 2214
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby Cupidity » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:18 pm

Think about it this way. . . How many mechanical designs do you think people are patenting, versus how much Software do you think they are patenting?

Computer Science FTW.

clintone88
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:10 am

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby clintone88 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:24 pm

Cupidity wrote:Think about it this way. . . How many mechanical designs do you think people are patenting, versus how much Software do you think they are patenting?

Computer Science FTW.


Not really "mechanical vs. software", but more of pure software vs. systems interfacing/digital design. Mechanical engineers do mechanical things, electrical engineers do electrical things, they aren't really the same.

GTSkillz
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:26 am

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby GTSkillz » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:32 pm

One of the things that makes EEs more attractive is the belief (whether founded or not) that EEs can do mechanical and CS patent work, whereas CS folks are limited to cs patents and MEs are limted to mechanical patents.

User avatar
boozehound
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:08 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby boozehound » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:30 pm

I joined AIPLA and got the very handy "Report of the Economic Survey 2011" (may be available online). According to that source, patent prosecution accounts for 2/3 of the IP business, with Patents distributed about 30% Mechanical, 15% Electrical, 15% Computer (then a whole bunch of smaller fields).

User avatar
J-e-L-L-o
Posts: 418
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:48 am

Will a masters increase your odds of employment? I am seriously considering law school but I want to get a masters first. I know its not needed, but it is something I want to do.

I am a computer engineering undergrad, but want to get a masters in either computer or electrical. I have read numerous IP associate job postings that say advanced degree preferred.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby r6_philly » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:54 am

J-e-L-L-o wrote:Will a masters increase your odds of employment? I am seriously considering law school but I want to get a masters first. I know its not needed, but it is something I want to do.

I am a computer engineering undergrad, but want to get a masters in either computer or electrical. I have read numerous IP associate job postings that say advanced degree preferred.


Advanced degree is almost prerequisite for life sciences. But for CS/EE/CE it's not necessary. My sense is that they want people who can read/understand the patents, and a masters in CS/CE at least won't add anything because they are usually same course just more in depth. I am planning to do one while I am finishing law school, but my summer job search nicely illustrates that my BS in CS is completely sufficient.

User avatar
J-e-L-L-o
Posts: 418
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:53 am

koo. Thanx

User avatar
J-e-L-L-o
Posts: 418
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:26 am

On a side note, looking up C.V.'s of associates show most just have engineering bachelors degrees.

phasoranalysis
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:50 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby phasoranalysis » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:49 pm

I am about to graduate with an undergraduate EE degree, and I think this thread is hilarious.

User avatar
sky7
Posts: 248
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby sky7 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:56 pm

phasoranalysis wrote:I am about to graduate with an undergraduate EE degree, and I think this thread is hilarious.


TITCR.

I don't think it matters between CS and EE in terms of employment. I work at a prominent boutique, and I like to mess with the EE guys by calling them "the Aristocracy", but I do the exact same patents they do, and they do the same ones I do. Then again, for my degree I did take a couple EE classes, but I'd take it as a personal insult if you called me an electrical engineer.

r6_philly
Posts: 10707
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby r6_philly » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:11 pm

sky7 wrote:
phasoranalysis wrote:I am about to graduate with an undergraduate EE degree, and I think this thread is hilarious.


I don't think it matters between CS and EE in terms of employment. I work at a prominent boutique, and I like to mess with the EE guys by calling them "the Aristocracy", but I do the exact same patents they do, and they do the same ones I do. Then again, for my degree I did take a couple EE classes, but I'd take it as a personal insult if you called me an electrical engineer.


Maybe not in practice, but like I said, I was told that it made a different at a firm with a large lit group.

kneedrag
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:30 am

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby kneedrag » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:18 pm

Just to throw something out there for consideration.

I have a BSME. Currently (just under 8 years out) I'm making over $120k base (actually, more than that now that I changed to pursuing consulting as of Jan 1st).

There certainly is something to be said for having some work experience under your belt before heading to law school (be it industry, at the USPTO, etc), and you can make some money while you're doing it. Its not like you're interning. It was something that was reinforced pretty heavily by a lot of the people I talked with. Granted, 8 years of crap work isn't going to help, but you also aren't going to make good money doing crap work (unless you're retardedly lucky).

phasoranalysis
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:50 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby phasoranalysis » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:29 pm

sky7 wrote:
phasoranalysis wrote:I am about to graduate with an undergraduate EE degree, and I think this thread is hilarious.


You should be banned for trolling.

I don't think it matters between CS and EE in terms of employment. I work at a prominent boutique, and I like to mess with the EE guys by calling them "the Aristocracy", but I do the exact same patents they do, and they do the same ones I do. Then again, for my degree I did take a couple EE classes, but I'd take it as a personal insult if you called me an electrical engineer.


I would also take it as a personal insult if someone called you an electrical engineer.

jim-green
Posts: 808
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:55 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby jim-green » Sun May 27, 2012 7:22 pm

r6_philly wrote:Advanced degree is almost prerequisite for life sciences. But for CS/EE/CE it's not necessary. My sense is that they want people who can read/understand the patents, and a masters in CS/CE at least won't add anything because they are usually same course just more in depth. I am planning to do one while I am finishing law school, but my summer job search nicely illustrates that my BS in CS is completely sufficient.
Were your 1L grades awesome? I know your job search went very well for a 1L SA position with a BS in CS.

User avatar
fatduck
Posts: 4186
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby fatduck » Sun May 27, 2012 7:27 pm

Desert Fox wrote:I get the feeling they believe EE doods can do CS work. Which may be correct because CS patents, from what I hear, are mostly just flowcharts.

this is correct. software patents are so abstracted that i can't really see CS being necessary beyond a basic understanding of programming. maaaybe for drafting applications, if you have shitty disclosures and missing inventors (which isn't all that uncommon, tbf)

User avatar
danquayle
Posts: 1108
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:12 am

Re: Computer Science or Eletrical Engineering for IP Law?

Postby danquayle » Sun May 27, 2012 7:32 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
bernard97 wrote:I got an engineering degree with the sole purpose of pursuing patent law, what gives random people the right to say thats a wrong decision? It met my interests, I'm sure it meets OPs interests too. I got a mech e degree, but if I had known better I would have done ee without a doubt.

Also, I will be doing software work even with an ME


Stop being a little bitch.


Whoa whoa take it easy. It's never bad to have a plan. No reason to be cunty.

Besides, it's not like doing pre-law. EE can lead to a go career on its own.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest