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Author Topic: Best schools for IP?  (Read 5416 times)

One Year masters in CS?

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Re: Best schools for IP?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2003, 06:46:37 PM »
Dogtown....which school are you going to that has the one year program? What other schools have one year technical masters programs to qualify people for the patent bar exam?

Thx,
Rod

josh

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Re: Best schools for IP?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2003, 05:03:25 AM »
Ok, first off, as far as which school: go to the best school possible. If it's a near tie, then you can look at the specialty rankings. But those aren't all that important for the most part, so make it a low priority factor in your decision.

Re: Big firm job
These days, and likely for the future, merely having a scientific degree that qualifies you for the Patent Bar is not going to be the pearl you might think it is. IP departments now want *specific* degrees. These include: EE, CompE, CS, ChemE, Biotech (biochem, molec bio, etc) w/PhD...somewhat lower now is Mech Engr.

And they WILL take a look at those scientific transcripts. Did you take requisite calculus? Was your CS degree mathematical, or was it a 4 year software program? How good was your engineering school? All of these things count, and frankly, I don't see how a 1 year CS program where a BS is not needed could be any help at all. Unless they pack in that much calculus, physics, data structures, algorithms, graph theory, computer architecture, etc into one year (which would make roughly for 2 35 hour semesters)...I don't see how that program will make you all that marketable. You probably will be marginally better off than the Food Science candidate.

What can you do to help yourself? Well, taking the Patent Bar while in law school might help, but I wouldn't recommend it until your 2nd year. Grades will be much more important. Other than that, short of getting a bachelor's in another subject, there's not much you can do. Patent law consists of analyzing circuit schematics, block diagrams, and calculus equations. Not only will you need to understand this stuff thoroughly, but your clients won't feel comfortable with you if they don't believe you have the background for that kind of thing.

josh

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Re: Best schools for IP?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2003, 06:29:03 AM »
"While it is possible to take the patent bar exam after completing 32  hard science credits, it would seem that a hiring advantage would go to the candidate that would be satisfying some very specific niche requirements, however just like any other job interview, in any other field, preference is going to go to the candidate that most closely represents the individual most likely to be able to do the work."

This would be the EE, CompE, biotech w/PhD, etc. that I mentioned. Want evidence of this? Check out Fish and Richardson's (top IP firm) current openings. They mention "electrical" 8 of 9 times they name anything.

"This would not exclusively recommend a candidate with no work experience, fresh from a University"

Work experience in engineering/science is a bonus, but certainly not a prerequisite.

"Others who may have graduated with something other than a hard science degree, but have, for one reason or another, found themselves employed in a more technical capacity (the computer support/IT helpdesk field is a good example of this) represent candidates who have found themselves employable in an unexpected, but nevertheless needed and technically sophisticated position."

If this is regarding IP - no, IT work will not help you here. If it's regarding Computer Forensic Law, I have no idea.

"but I would also submit that not all patent attorneys spend every day doing complex mathmatics, and reading cirquitry diagrams. While this may be a very necessary skill,"

No one said they do it all day. But, they must be able to talk about these things in their patent claims. So yes, it is a very necessary skill.

"and as it might be a much better use of their time to focus on the legal aspects of a particular case, and more or less "outsource" some of the more technical aspects to a qualified professional"

There are patent agents who do a lot of this, but without exception, the best IP firms would prefer to hire attorneys with scientific backgrounds, all things equal.

If you want evidence of this, search through the patent departments of these firms. See how many people have no technical background.

josh

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Re: Best schools for IP?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2003, 11:18:06 AM »
"just that combined work experience and an accelerated masters program may serve as a sufficiently viable alternative to going back to school, as it is nearly impossible anymore to return to college for a 2nd undergraduate degree, "

These guys likely won't have equal footing either, and it would also be surprising if the one year would be enough to hit all of the minimum credit hour requirements.

"to essentialize the practice of patent law as a field for electrical engineers is, I believe, misleading. "

It's not just for EEs. I was just stating where the most demand is.

"While you may be right as to whether working as a Network administrator translates immediately into a job as an IP attorney upon passage of the patent bar, someone who could have worked as a technical writer, and who had only an english degree upong graduation, and who is actively assembling information for a specific technical industry might be considered an asset to a firm dealing in patent litigation, or at least the case can be made that people that follow a different career path can achieve success as patent attorneys. "

I could see this person as an asset, but none of this stuff qualifies them to practice before the USPTO. Firms would rather have people who can do that sort of thing. When given the choice between someone who took the bare minimum of classes, or someone with a 4 year program (possibly an adv. degree as well), they'll take the latter, all things being equal.

Can you get into patent law without the scientific background? Yeah, probably. But it's probably not easy. Carl Oppendahl has a good site on this stuff (I think it's www.patents.com).

rtjm373

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Re: Best schools for IP?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2003, 03:41:10 PM »
Thanks for the link Josh. Good stuff there.

I still subscribe to the old "Where there's a will, there's a way"
approach, but your insights are helpful nevertheless.

Cheers.

meg_79

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Re: Best schools for IP?
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2003, 10:22:09 AM »
You all seem to know a lot more about this stuff than I do, and I really enjoyed reading your comments. So now I have a question maybe you can give me an opinion on. (I just took the LSAT and am deciding where to apply for fall '04)

I was planning to start law school aiming for IP, but admitting that I might change my mind. Now after reading your posts, and information on the us patent office website I am wondering if this is possible, and further, if I have as good of a future in this as I first imagined.

I have an undergrad degree from one of the top schools in the country for Computer Science. I also will have three years of work experience as a software engineer by the time I start law school.

According to the patent office website, Computer Science majors are only allowed to sit for the exam if they are from an accredited school. My school, apparently, even though it was ranked 1st in the country for CS, is not accredited. I think I meet all the other requirements, 8 credits chem etc. that I could qualify under Category B. However, I wonder how difficult it is to qualify under Category B, like will they give me a hard time becuase I am not from an accredited school.

And additionally, will employers be impressed by my schools standing in CS, or unimpressed with my CS (i.e. NOT engineering degree)?

Thanks for any opinions that you have,

Megan

josh

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Re: Best schools for IP?
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2003, 07:33:26 AM »
Hey Meg, I don't think you'll have a problem. The biggest issue with you is whether or not you took the same math and physics as the engineers did at your school. I would assume this is the case. Another issue is how theoretical your program was. Did you spend most of your time learning code, or most of the time learning algorithms?

Firms will want to see that you've taken the same math and physics as the engineers, and that you've also had a theory-based program. I can probably assume the latter, given the strength of your UG program. That said, coupled with your work experience, you will be very marketable after graduation.

EE/CS is the best field to go into. You have 2 ingredients that firms look for already - work exp, and a top notch education. Add to that a top tier law school, and good grades, and you'll have plenty of options.

Re: the patent bar, I think if you make sure to contact the uspto early (you may want to give them a call now, to see if you qualify, or if you can send transcripts in to see if you qualify), you'll be fine. Firms might want to know whether or not you'll qualify, so do this beforehand. Also, firms will likely want to see your UG transcript as well, to see what kind of classes you took in CS. All in all though, you'll do fine (btw, which school? I ask, b/c I also went to one of those schools. CMU? MIT? Stanford? Berkeley? Dare I say, UIUC? :))

meg_79

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Re: Best schools for IP?
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2003, 09:31:08 AM »
Thanks, that is what I was hoping to hear :) About that good school, with the good grades, I still have to hear about my LSAT; I am anxiously awaiting that. And I am hoping that some schools will take into account the quality of my UG school when they look at my 3.0 :(

It was CMU, and yes it was very theoretical. I believe I took most of the math and science classes that engineers took, I am not sure exactly what their requirements were, but I suspect if they differed, that it was only by one or two math classes.

I just started getting worried when I read that my school wasnt accredited. A friend of mine who is a prof and just went through accreditation, said that she was told that some of the best schools dont bother with the accreditation becuase their reputation carries them, so they dont want the hassle and expense.

By the way, I am sure I am just not thinking straight on this Monday morning, but which school does UIUC stand for?

Meg

josh

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Re: Best schools for IP?
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2003, 10:28:01 AM »
You will have no trouble. CMU is a pretty highly regarded program. You're right, most top programs don't bother with accreditation, because it really only helps you in patent law...which of course most CS majors don't do.

"And I am hoping that some schools will take into account the quality of my UG school when they look at my 3.0"

They won't. :( I majored in electrical engineering, got a 3.4, and got no boost out of it at all (LSAT = 164, only Top 25 school I'm in at is WashU. By comparison, what if they looked at it as a 3.7-3.8? Those numbers seem to be landing people within the Top 20...certainly at all the schools above that). It sucks, but these schools are primarily interested in what a silly magazine thinks about them (yes, the irony is noted here). This really attracts the wrong kinds of people to the top law schools IMO...but hey, I'm not in charge.

The good news is your pedigree/grades won't have to be *as* good as everyone else's in order to secure a good job. Your UG wasn't all for *&^% after all (though, it feels like it was to someone who just went through the app process).

UIUC = my alma mater = University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I wouldn't say we have the top CS program, but we're in the Top 5 or so. Usually, I hear the top programs are at CMU, MIT, Stanford, and Berkeley. We probably follow those guys though.

Eh, it's CS. EE is waaaaay better ;).

meg_79

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Re: Best schools for IP?
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2003, 02:49:10 PM »
Yeah I figured about the grades, it all hinges on my LSAT - which unfortunately I dont feel great about.  (I did really well on SAT, GRE but this one just didnt feel good.)

FIL (who hates me by the way) went to UPenn, and of course feels that if I am serious, and smart that that is where I should go. Obviously, with a 3.0, I dont have much of a shot. Maybe if I get a 170+ and leverage his connections somehow who knows, but right now I am not thinking that score is going to happen. I am thinking about not even applying there though, because it would be better to tell him I am not interested than to get turned down.

Anyway, I really want to go somewhere in DC - Georgetown of course being my top choice, but again, not much of a shot there. But maybe at George Mason, or American, or GW, although all but George Mason are pretty much long shots for me, I think. I am not considering any schools outside the PA/DC/NY corridor. Long story but basically, we live in AZ now and all our fam is back east, so we want to move back.

So are you going to WashU?

Meg