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Author Topic: Would IP law be out for me? Very confused.  (Read 2284 times)

eToTheX

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Would IP law be out for me? Very confused.
« on: December 10, 2007, 09:07:42 AM »
I'm hearing varying opinions on this.

Philosophy major/Bioengineering minor.

Given that I minored, rather than majored, in Bioengineering, would I be at a severe disadvantage if i wanted to get into the transactional side of IP law? Or will it not really matter, so long as I ultimately sit for the patent bar?

jacy85

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Re: Would IP law be out for me? Very confused.
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2007, 09:43:06 AM »
This is entirely hearsay, but I think I've heard that the patent bar requires majoring in a science and also doing field work of some kind?  Or maybe that's just what some IP firms require.

I'm really just avoiding studying, so hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along to confirm or deny.

thorc954

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Re: Would IP law be out for me? Very confused.
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2007, 10:38:16 AM »
This is entirely hearsay, but I think I've heard that the patent bar requires majoring in a science and also doing field work of some kind?  Or maybe that's just what some IP firms require.

I'm really just avoiding studying, so hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along to confirm or deny.

it does not require that you major in a hard science.  look at the patent bar website for details.  You can take the bar with a hard science degree, but there are also other alternatives.  I think if you have 20 credits of physics (maybe 25) you can take it.  There are other ways around the major requirement as well.  I do not know what classes you had to take though, so I dont know.

you dont need any fieldwork.  I am sure it makes you more appealing to firms though. 

OP will probably be short on credits and unable to take the bar, but I dont know the specific course load he/she has taken.  If you are short, you may wish to consider taking a night class or two, cause you may be close enough where you can make up the credits.

SJ228

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Re: Would IP law be out for me? Very confused.
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2007, 10:57:40 AM »
I'm hearing varying opinions on this.

Philosophy major/Bioengineering minor.

Given that I minored, rather than majored, in Bioengineering, would I be at a severe disadvantage if i wanted to get into the transactional side of IP law? Or will it not really matter, so long as I ultimately sit for the patent bar?

It would probably be out, but heres my thoughts.

1. Do you qualify to take the patent bar? If you dont have a degree from an ABET school, you can qualify through hours of certain subjects. You just send all your transcripts to the patent bar people, and they determine if you qualify. You could take more additional classes now if you wanted to and those also count.

I have a friend who was bio enginerring, and she was lumped in with the bio people. This doesnt work in your favor because most large firms want to see a masters/phd for patent work (the exception is computer/electrical eng. stuff.) If heard two explanations for this. One being that the firms thought that for bio majors you dont get into the hard stuff and analyzing papers until a phd. The other reason that I heard was that your just in less demand, so they can be more picky.

However, if you are a once in a lifetime interviewee, then maybe you can pull it off. During my interview with a t20's patent department, I asked one of people why he choose this firm. He was 1st in his class from a t25. He said that with his background in philosophy, no-one would let him do patent work except this firm, so he chose them.

I would suggest looking into ip lit or maybe trademarks or something. Sorry. 

1LMan

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Re: Would IP law be out for me? Very confused.
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2007, 12:36:40 PM »
You can still do IP without a hard science degree.  Only patent prosecution requires the patent bar.  You can still do litigation for IP without the patent bar and without a hard science degree.

slacker

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Re: Would IP law be out for me? Very confused.
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2007, 02:56:05 PM »
SJ228 has the best idea of where the market is from any of the responses thus far.

Right now, firms want to hire people who are patent bar eligible regardless of what they'll eventually end up doing in IP (incl. litigation, tms, copyrights, licensing). If you're going for patent prosecution, you need the patent bar. Most often, except for EE, you also need an advanced (M.S., Ph.D.) degree.

Of course, there are always exceptions. You might get a prosecution job if you're patent bar eligible. You might get a non-patent prosecution IP job without the patent bar at all. However, getting one of these spots involves really good grades, connnections, or luck.

T. Durden

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Re: Would IP law be out for me? Very confused.
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2007, 04:45:24 PM »
You can still do IP without a hard science degree.  Only patent prosecution requires the patent bar.  You can still do litigation for IP without the patent bar and without a hard science degree.

yeah this is completely accurate. IP law encompasses copyright, trademark, and patent law. neither (c) nor T require a technical background and you'll more often than not find attorneys with "traditional" backgrounds in these fields. patent law itself is divided into both 1) patent prosecution and 2) patent litigation. you only need to pass the patent bar to prosecute. i have worked with a large # of patent attnys at this stage and can say that you really see two types: the hardcore science geek types (PhD, patent bar, etc. ) who generally only prosecute and then the more traditional ivy league educated philosophy major types who are all star litigators and bring the rain when it comes to billables (i.e. when the *&^% hits the fan the lab geeks hand the matter over to the talented trial ad types - its a strange (though productive) symbiotic relationship of sorts). i think that there is a misconception that only those who are patent bar eligible can get into IP, but really, when you look at what "IP" entails, the vast majority of the attorneys who are involved couldn't tell you the difference between the nucleus and the mitochondria (etc <- for you engineer-types out there ;) ).

plex

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Re: Would IP law be out for me? Very confused.
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2008, 02:08:49 AM »
UG, going to answer this because there seem to be a dearth of actual people with any experience with working in or even applying to IP firms. Haven't been on the site in a while, because finals ate all my free time. Sorry if you don't see this OP.

Anyways, here is the run down. IP law does consist of copyright,trademark and patent law. However, the copyright/trademark portion of it is usually pretty simple work and as such, is not the primary portion of a lawyer's practice, except when dealing with media, such as the record companies and copyrighting. IP law also tends to draw more people than normal because it offers higher pay, as such, the copyright, trademark and patent litigation work is extremely competitive.

Patent law, unlike the other portions of IP law, is what makes up the bulk of IP law. As mentioned, you can go into litigation and be able to have a full practice based on IP law, but it is extremely competitive, the patent bar is not required for it, so it is much more dependent on law school grades and relevant law experience. Smaller firms usually do not do as much litigation work.

Prosecution patent law is a whole different story. It requires someone to pass the patent bar. In addition though, firms give much greater preference to particular degrees, you will almost NEVER see a firm make a job posting for one of the non-preferred degrees. Picking up a few science credits to barely qualify for the patent bar will not cut it for prosecution (it may look good if only doing litigation). The preferred degrees are Chem Eng, Elec Eng, Mech Eng, Civil Eng, Phys (PhD preferred), Comp Sci (has special accreditation requirements), Chemistry (PhD preferred), Biology (PhD STRONGLY preferred, it is almost a requirement because there are so many).

Prosecution law requires you to actually understand the invention, almost as well or even better than the inventor himself, in order to properly categorize it and search for prior art similar to it, firms need people who have a very strong technical background that allows them to immediately do that, as the firm does not have the resources to teach them. Prosecution exists at all types of firms. The vast majority of open IP positions are in patent prosecution law.