Patent Law: Is a Master' s in CS without a Bachelor's enough?

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malucero17

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Patent Law: Is a Master' s in CS without a Bachelor's enough?

Post by malucero17 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:00 pm

I have a Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering and I now want to pursue Patent Law but I've heard that ChemE's are not in high demand and that degrees in EE or CS are favored by a landslide. I'm considering going to school for my Master's in CS but wonder how my degree will be received by firms. Will they deem me unqualified for CS patents without a 4-year degree and instead view me as a ChemE candidate? Also, if anyone actually has any more insight on the demand (or lack thereof) for Chemical Engineering Patent Attorneys, your input would be invaluable to me.

dvlthndr

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Re: Patent Law: Is a Master' s in CS without a Bachelor's enough?

Post by dvlthndr » Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:52 pm

You need to distinguish between patent prosecution (writing new patents and dealing with the USPTO) and other types of patent work (e.g., patent litigation or general tech transactions). Litigation and transaction practice groups don't care that much about your specific major. If you are graduating out of a top law school and have an undergrad STEM degree, you can usually land an IP lit or transaction job in a big firm.

Patent prosecution is divided into "engineering" and "life science" groups, and many prosecutors start off by working as patent agents prior to top-law-schools.com science work usually requires a Ph.D. in a relevant field. Engineering work only needs a B.S. or an M.S. in a relevant field. Engineering groups have a very high demand for EE and CS people, but you can still land a gig with a mechanical, civil, aeronautical, robotics, or biomedical background (basically, anything where you do a bunch of physics or take random EE/CS classes).

It will be nearly impossible to find a prosecution job with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Engineering groups won't take you seriously because of the major, and life science groups may ding you for not having a graduate degree. I think you could land a prosecution gig with a masters in EE/CS (particularly if you could also point to undergraduate classes or work experience related to those areas). It's not a conventional background, but a firm will take you on if you have a high GPA and hustle a bit. For what it's worth, I also know a few people that managed to land prosecution jobs with "only" an M.S. in Chemical engineering, but it's very uncommon.

miskellyjohnson

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Re: Patent Law: Is a Master' s in CS without a Bachelor's enough?

Post by miskellyjohnson » Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:32 pm

dvlthndr wrote: Patent prosecution is divided into "engineering" and "life science" groups, and many prosecutors start off by working as patent agents prior to top-law-schools.com science work usually requires a Ph.D. in a relevant field. Engineering work only needs a B.S. or an M.S. in a relevant field. Engineering groups have a very high demand for EE and CS people, but you can still land a gig with a mechanical, civil, aeronautical, robotics, or biomedical background (basically, anything where you do a bunch of physics or take random EE/CS classes).

It will be nearly impossible to find a prosecution job with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Engineering groups won't take you seriously because of the major, and life science groups may ding you for not having a graduate degree. I think you could land a prosecution gig with a masters in EE/CS (particularly if you could also point to undergraduate classes or work experience related to those areas). It's not a conventional background, but a firm will take you on if you have a high GPA and hustle a bit. For what it's worth, I also know a few people that managed to land prosecution jobs with "only" an M.S. in Chemical engineering, but it's very uncommon.
Except in Texas, where chemical engineering degrees are pretty high up on the demand list due to all the oil and gas and refinery technology. And really, anywhere, I'd probably put Chem E's ahead of civil or aeronautical (outside of maybe niche areas that do specialized aeronautical work), and ahead of biomed (since biomed is not clearly on the life science or engineering side, and so you are competing against PhD life science people or people with more pure engineering backgrounds).

But yes, an MS in CS would help you. Firms mostly just care about your background because they want to pitch you to clients-- they dont really care about your specific skills. Any type of CS degree from a good school would be fine, and I think the Chem E degree will be helpful.

tls_toddy

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Re: Patent Law: Is a Master' s in CS without a Bachelor's enough?

Post by tls_toddy » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:53 am

Just want to add - CS in general is one of those fields (in patents but also other careers) where the specific degree doesn't matter as long as you have one. That may change in the future, but I think a masters would be fine without a bachelors. tbh I'd be interested in getting something like that myself after graduating from law school.

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