Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

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diiggidy
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Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby diiggidy » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:24 am

I'm currently studying engineering as an undergrad, and have been considering patent law for some time now. I'm hoping I can get some advice/insight from people who know the field better than me.

I'm majoring in Engineering Physics with an emphasis in nanotechnology (I will graduate with an engineering degree, but I also take quite a few advanced physics classes) at a major top-20 engineering school. I will have completed 3 years of research, culminating in a senior thesis and at least one published research paper in a scientific journal (possibly more). Currently, my GPA is 3.98/4, I am in a few engineering honors societies, and last summer I had an internship working for a semiconductor laser manufacturing company. With my schoolwork and research, I haven't had time to do much else in terms of clubs. I plan on studying for the LSAT this summer, and with my grades and experience I believe I have a good shot at getting into a T14 law school. With my background out of the way, I have a few questions that somebody can hopefully answer for me.

First, I'm trying to decide if it is worth it to attend graduate school to get a masters in engineering (I'd most likely go for ME, possibly EE although I prefer ME). Would a masters degree in engineering give me a significant advantage or even be worth it for patent law (I'd like to do prosecution, but suppose I'm not sure since I have no experience with pros or lit)? With my undergrad experience, I have a good understanding of nanotechnology and advanced physics (up to quantum and solid state), but also ME as well. Engineering Physics at my university is very competitive, and treated almost as if it were a graduate program by itself. So with that, would it make sense for me to spend 2 years getting an engineering graduate degree? What would job prospects possibly be like with my experience as an undergrad, assuming I do well at a T14 or T2 law school?

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patogordo
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby patogordo » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:27 am

if you want to do patent prosecution (i.e., writing patent applications and moving them through the patent process) you will need a USPTO-eligible degree. you should check the USPTO's website and see if your B.S. is eligible, or alternatively if you've taken the required coursework to qualify. if you want to do patent litigation you don't really need to be patent bar-eligible.

but if you have a 3.98 you just need to kill the LSAT, go to HYS and do whatever you want.

diiggidy
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby diiggidy » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:32 am

patogordo wrote:if you want to do patent prosecution (i.e., writing patent applications and moving them through the patent process) you will need a USPTO-eligible degree. you should check the USPTO's website and see if your B.S. is eligible, or alternatively if you've taken the required coursework to qualify. if you want to do patent litigation you don't really need to be patent bar-eligible.

but if you have a 3.98 you just need to kill the LSAT, go to HYS and do whatever you want.


Engineering Physics is listed on the USPTO's website as one of the degrees which allows you to sit for the patent bar. I also have reservations about attending an elite school (HYS) and if I'd be able to keep up. With an engineering degree, my reading/writing skills may not be "up to speed", and I'd still need to do well to be competitive in the job market. I know there's really no answer until I just do it, but any advice in this sense?

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patogordo
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby patogordo » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:36 am

diiggidy wrote:
patogordo wrote:if you want to do patent prosecution (i.e., writing patent applications and moving them through the patent process) you will need a USPTO-eligible degree. you should check the USPTO's website and see if your B.S. is eligible, or alternatively if you've taken the required coursework to qualify. if you want to do patent litigation you don't really need to be patent bar-eligible.

but if you have a 3.98 you just need to kill the LSAT, go to HYS and do whatever you want.


Engineering Physics is listed on the USPTO's website as one of the degrees which allows you to sit for the patent bar. I also have reservations about attending an elite school (HYS) and if I'd be able to keep up. With an engineering degree, my reading/writing skills may not be "up to speed", and I'd still need to do well to be competitive in the job market. I know there's really no answer until I just do it, but any advice in this sense?

you'll do fine, but even if you don't your thinking is all wrong. the point of going to an elite school is that you can still do well in the job market even if you aren't at the top of your class. the lower-ranked your law school, the better your class rank has to be (more or less). so if you're worried about being at the top of your class you should go to yale (which doesn't even really have grades or rankings).

law school exams aren't really about reading/writing skills, anyway. it's a game of identifying lots of issues in a short period of time which i personally found an engineering background helpful for. see i end sentences in prepositions and i did fine.

diiggidy
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby diiggidy » Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:07 am

patogordo wrote:
diiggidy wrote:
patogordo wrote:if you want to do patent prosecution (i.e., writing patent applications and moving them through the patent process) you will need a USPTO-eligible degree. you should check the USPTO's website and see if your B.S. is eligible, or alternatively if you've taken the required coursework to qualify. if you want to do patent litigation you don't really need to be patent bar-eligible.

but if you have a 3.98 you just need to kill the LSAT, go to HYS and do whatever you want.


Engineering Physics is listed on the USPTO's website as one of the degrees which allows you to sit for the patent bar. I also have reservations about attending an elite school (HYS) and if I'd be able to keep up. With an engineering degree, my reading/writing skills may not be "up to speed", and I'd still need to do well to be competitive in the job market. I know there's really no answer until I just do it, but any advice in this sense?

you'll do fine, but even if you don't your thinking is all wrong. the point of going to an elite school is that you can still do well in the job market even if you aren't at the top of your class. the lower-ranked your law school, the better your class rank has to be (more or less). so if you're worried about being at the top of your class you should go to yale (which doesn't even really have grades or rankings).

law school exams aren't really about reading/writing skills, anyway. it's a game of identifying lots of issues in a short period of time which i personally found an engineering background helpful for. see i end sentences in prepositions and i did fine.


Thanks for your advice. I just feel that a higher caliber law school is going to have higher caliber students so it will be even more difficult to succeed there. But I definitely understand where you're coming from, and know that anything worth doing will have competition. It's just a little nerve-wracking possibly spending 250 grand on a degree that I might not do well in. Also, if I do end up going to HYS, what are my chances of getting a job in a different region? For example, I'm from the Midwest and would possibly like to stay here (Minneapolis, Chicago etc.). Thanks for your response, it's nice getting somebody Else's perspective.

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patogordo
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby patogordo » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:34 am

Well the spending 250 grand part is a very legitimate concern. But if you score high enough on the LSAT you will have lots of scholarship offers at great schools. And graduating with no or little debt is probably a great idea. But trust me, the "caliber" of student just isn't that much different from T20 to Harvard. And you never know who is going to do well in LS either. It's kind of a crap shoot.

If I were you I'd visit the LSAT prep forum and start getting ready for June. And take the test however many times I needed to get a 172+.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:47 am

patogordo wrote: But trust me, the "caliber" of student just isn't that much different from T20 to Harvard. And you never know who is going to do well in LS either. It's kind of a crap shoot.

If I were you I'd visit the LSAT prep forum and start getting ready for June. And take the test however many times I needed to get a 172+.


This is the best advice you'll get. Seriously, the variance in "student quality" among schools is dwarfed by the variance in the schools' employment outcomes. If you target schools that are low enough in the rankings to give you a reasonable likelihood of being the "big fish in a small pond", you may find out that it's a pond where the employers don't even fish in the first place, so even the "winners" from the school aren't getting prime jobs.

tl;dr version - you have a better chance of a successful employment outcome being even slightly above median at a T14 than you would being top 25% at many lower-ranked schools.

As for the master's degree, I don't think it would be worth the time or money spent (and this is coming from someone who's also planning on doing patent/IP law with an engineering undergrad and physics master's). While I wouldn't say it would be a "waste", the return on investment would be pretty low considering the boxes you already have checked. Since you're already patent-bar eligible and have a stellar uGPA, just kill the LSAT, go to the highest-ranked school that fits with the rest of your life plans, and you should be in great shape.

diiggidy
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby diiggidy » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:13 pm

patogordo wrote:Well the spending 250 grand part is a very legitimate concern. But if you score high enough on the LSAT you will have lots of scholarship offers at great schools. And graduating with no or little debt is probably a great idea. But trust me, the "caliber" of student just isn't that much different from T20 to Harvard. And you never know who is going to do well in LS either. It's kind of a crap shoot.

If I were you I'd visit the LSAT prep forum and start getting ready for June. And take the test however many times I needed to get a 172+.


I plan on taking this summer to study hard for the LSAT, and take it in October. I'm not too worried about taking it; if I put the time in I'm confident I can get a great score. Is there anywhere I can look for more information on possible scholarships for T14 schools?

Also, I'd really like to read more on prospects of finding jobs in different regions of the US depending on the school. I have read that higher rated schools (HYS) have "national reach", but is this true for most T14 schools. If going to a certain law school means I'll most likely end up working close by, it might affect my decision. Is there anywhere I can get more information on this, or is it really not a problem in the first place?

kyle010723
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby kyle010723 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:56 am

Honestly, from one engineer to another, if you have a 3.98 in engineering, consider a Ph.d instead of law school. Advance physic is where the future will be and you will do really well with a Ph.D (and you are the rare person that is smart enough for it too). Either work at a national lab or academia.

As far as law school goes, if you are an EE or ME, you dont need an advance degree. Only people that need advance degree is bio-related, as they would need a Ph.D to work with a lot of bio companies.

diiggidy
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby diiggidy » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:21 pm

kyle010723 wrote:Honestly, from one engineer to another, if you have a 3.98 in engineering, consider a Ph.d instead of law school. Advance physic is where the future will be and you will do really well with a Ph.D (and you are the rare person that is smart enough for it too). Either work at a national lab or academia.

As far as law school goes, if you are an EE or ME, you dont need an advance degree. Only people that need advance degree is bio-related, as they would need a Ph.D to work with a lot of bio companies.


I've considered this, but don't see myself in a research related field for the rest of my life. Although I've enjoyed doing research as an undergrad, I really can't see myself doing it for a living. I think I'd much rather do patent law, where I'll be exposed to many emerging technologies, rather than focusing all my time on just one idea.

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patogordo
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby patogordo » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:27 pm

You might find that the "exposure" you get to various technologies is not exactly what you were thinking. But yea, research isn't for everyone.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby ScottRiqui » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:05 pm

patogordo wrote:You might find that the "exposure" you get to various technologies is not exactly what you were thinking. But yea, research isn't for everyone.


I remember reading about one patent attorney whose area of expertise (and where he spends essentially all his time) is in medical implants, specifically artificial knees. Maybe that's totally a case of self-selection, and he intended from the start to be the absolute top subject-matter expert in a very specific area, but I'm fully planning on getting pigeonholed to some extent eventually if I'm successful at getting into IP law.

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patogordo
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby patogordo » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:05 am

ScottRiqui wrote:
patogordo wrote:You might find that the "exposure" you get to various technologies is not exactly what you were thinking. But yea, research isn't for everyone.


I remember reading about one patent attorney whose area of expertise (and where he spends essentially all his time) is in medical implants, specifically artificial knees. Maybe that's totally a case of self-selection, and he intended from the start to be the absolute top subject-matter expert in a very specific area, but I'm fully planning on getting pigeonholed to some extent eventually if I'm successful at getting into IP law.

I think it's pretty much inevitable. But honestly hyper-specialization is becoming the norm in basically every technical field.

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androstan
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby androstan » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:08 am

Yeah I couldn't stand graduate school partly b/c of the hyper-specialized research.

OP you're a stellar candidate. At least for this reason I agree with the other advice itt that the marginal value of a masters for you is low.

kcdc1
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby kcdc1 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:23 am

I will chime in that the MS is unnecessary, but if you do get another degree, go EE over ME. EE's are a hotter commodity in the IP market. (Think how often you hear about an electrical high tech company vs a mechanical high tech company)

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J-e-L-L-o
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:56 am

hate to add to an existing thread..but what about a JD/MS. Especially the 3 year combo programs. If you know you want to go IP, might as well skip the extra electives (like trusts etc) no?

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Vincent
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby Vincent » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:19 am

OP, you're at Berkeley and considering the M.Eng, right? If so, PM me.

diiggidy
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby diiggidy » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:40 pm

Sorry, I'm not at Berkeley so I'm unsure what you're talking about?

I've gotten some great advice in this thread, and even without this extra information have pretty much decided against engineering grad school. I've realized that with my heart set on going to law school, it would be very difficult to stay focused on engineering school (which is already quite difficult). On top of that it sounds like grad school really wouldn't make too big of a difference, which really makes the decision for me. So, I plan on studying hard for the LSAT this summer and (hopefully) getting a score that's on the same level as my GPA.

In the meantime, i'm still very interested in learning more about patent law, and more specifically the process of going to law school for patent law. I'm aware there's a wealth of information on the site on the law school process, but I haven't found much on things specific to patent law. Is there any other threads or websites you could send me that somebody in my situation may be interested in? If something like this doesn't exist, I can ask some more specific questions.

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J-e-L-L-o
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:34 pm

http://www.intelproplaw.com

This place should serve your needs. Just don't listen to anything related to law schools.

Dr. Mantis Toboggan
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Re: Patent Law - Masters in Engineering?

Postby Dr. Mantis Toboggan » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:16 pm

Having engineering work experience (not the same as intern experience) will serve you much better than any masters degree. Go be an engineer for a few years first. Much benefits:

- Learn what life is like as an inventor at a huge corporation (makes it insanely easier to relate to inventors when interviewing them when you get into practice)
- Do some work on the side like getting on your company's patent review board and get some IP experience before school - huge plus when job searching (having engineering experience in general is a huge plus when job searching)
- Make connections with your company's in-house counsel - huge plus if you want to leave your firm and go in-house
- When you get into practice after law school, it helps getting work from partners if you can introduce yourself and say "hey I worked in that industry for x years, maybe I can help" - Partners love this




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