Law School Discussion

Intellectual Property Law Question

ericptk2000

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Intellectual Property Law Question
« on: February 03, 2007, 07:23:19 PM »
I am considering focusing on IP in law school; however, I have neither a tech nor a hard science background.  Rather, I have a bachelors and a masters in political science.  Does anyone know how difficult it is to find a job as an IP lawyer without those type of backgrounds?

Re: Intellectual Property Law Question
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2007, 07:26:41 PM »
impossible.  You need a patent bar license, which requires a BS.

A tangential area, copyright and trade secret infringment, is possible, though it is likely that firms will pass you over for Patent Bar licensed (or eligible) candidates.

Re: Intellectual Property Law Question
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2007, 07:55:34 PM »
I am considering focusing on IP in law school; however, I have neither a tech nor a hard science background.  Rather, I have a bachelors and a masters in political science.  Does anyone know how difficult it is to find a job as an IP lawyer without those type of backgrounds?
Depends on the area of IP you want to work on. Patent prosecution, you need to pass the patent bar. Generally that means a background in engineering or the hard sciences. There are other ways to qualify, generally by coursework that you've taken or by passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

The other areas of IP are available without the patent bar. These include patent litigation, copyright, trademarks, licensing, etc.

As the prior poster mentioned, often firms will go for someone who can do "all" IP (including patent prosecution) even if they want someone to do something other than patent prosecution.

While it's not impossible to get a job doing some of the soft IP, it's not easy, either. Of course, as with most things in law school, top of your class can do wonders for your job potential.

jacy85

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Re: Intellectual Property Law Question
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2007, 11:28:50 AM »
IP is not just patent.  I wish more people (especially those who profess an interest in IP) would realize that.

IP, Intellectual Property, includes patent, trademark and copyright.

If you want to do patent, and you don't have a hard science or engineering background, odds are you're out of luck.

If you want to do trademark or copyright, a science and engineering background doesn't matter.  I took copyright law last semester, and we dealt with everything from fine art, to architecture, to carpet patterns.  I don't think its true that you have to be able to do patents or you won't get a job in IP.  The professor who taught copyright worked with an IP firm, and she specialized in copyright and trademark.  As far as I'm aware, I don't think she did any hardcore patent work.  Then again, the more "speciality" areas you can work in the better qualified you'll be.

Ronald Hyatt

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Re: Intellectual Property Law Question
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2007, 12:53:24 PM »
Also, if you are interested in doing litigation (even patent litigation), you don't need to have a technical background. I would agree with slacker that it is much more important to have good grades. Most firms that I interviewed with that did patent litigation seemed to have approximately half of their teams with non-technical backgrounds. Essentially, it is much more important to be a good litigator (i.e. - good speaking, writing, and argument skills) than to have a technical background.

Study whatever interests you the most.

Re: Intellectual Property Law Question
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2007, 03:21:28 PM »
If you want to do trademark or copyright, a science and engineering background doesn't matter.  I took copyright law last semester, and we dealt with everything from fine art, to architecture, to carpet patterns.  I don't think its true that you have to be able to do patents or you won't get a job in IP.  The professor who taught copyright worked with an IP firm, and she specialized in copyright and trademark.  As far as I'm aware, I don't think she did any hardcore patent work.  Then again, the more "speciality" areas you can work in the better qualified you'll be.
Just going by personal experience. A lot of firms I've spoken with want someone who can "do it all," even if they'll never "do it all." While this has been my experience, it's an experience I've found shared with others that I've spoken with who are also interested in non-patent prosecution IP.