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Author Topic: Intellectual Property and having a science background?  (Read 1438 times)

SheLaw

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Intellectual Property and having a science background?
« on: August 17, 2004, 11:34:18 AM »
I've done lots of searches on intellectual property law to figure out what it is and know that its basically copyrights, patents, and intangible property.  The thing I don't get is why is having a science background so favorable when pursuing this field?  I've seen that its usually engineers that go into IP law but what about other majors like bio, chem, forensic science, physics, etc. 

And what is involved in IP law?  Do you just read stuff all day and proofread patents or do you actually go into the courtroom and argue cases?  Would IP law be considered part of corporate law and do IP lawyers sometimes open up their own practices or always work for BigLaw firms?  Sorry for all the questions but searching on the net hasn't been much help because all they say is that it deals with copyrights, patents, and things of that nature.  Nobody gives an in-depth review of it. 
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BAFF213

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Re: Intellectual Property and having a science background?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2004, 11:42:14 AM »
I've done lots of searches on intellectual property law to figure out what it is and know that its basically copyrights, patents, and intangible property.  The thing I don't get is why is having a science background so favorable when pursuing this field?  I've seen that its usually engineers that go into IP law but what about other majors like bio, chem, forensic science, physics, etc. 

And what is involved in IP law?  Do you just read stuff all day and proofread patents or do you actually go into the courtroom and argue cases?  Would IP law be considered part of corporate law and do IP lawyers sometimes open up their own practices or always work for BigLaw firms?  Sorry for all the questions but searching on the net hasn't been much help because all they say is that it deals with copyrights, patents, and things of that nature.  Nobody gives an in-depth review of it. 

It's not necessary at all to have a science background if you want to go into IP.  I think the main reason why people think that is because you do need at least some sort of science background (e.g. bio, chem, engineering) to go into patent law, which is currently the hottest practice within IP right now.  IP on it's own is still hot, however (e.g. trademarks, copyrights).

Ginatio

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Re: Intellectual Property and having a science background?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2004, 11:47:45 AM »
have you ever read a patent? some of them are extremely technical. also, one of the purposes of a patent is to serve as public notice of what the invention is, so that "those skilled in the art" can ensure they don't infringe on the patent. accordingly, since patent lawyers obtain an invention disclosure, talk to an inventor, and eventually write the patent, they themselves MUST be skilled in the art.

imagine giving technical documents disclosing an organic-LED display apparatus to a liberal arts major and asking them to write the patent. not gonna happen.

there's a lot of bio and chem people that get into pharma and chem industry IP, and a lot of physicists work on electrical IP.

so, essentially, working in IP, you can be the one writing patents, litigating cases, or managing a corporation's IP portfolio.

as far as arguing the cases in court... there are few technically oriented people that have the oratory skills needed to defend a case in court. and it is my impression that most litigators in IP don't necessarily have a technical background.

you also don't need a technical background for copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets--although a technical background for trade secrets would probably help.

nonobvious

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nonobvious

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Re: Intellectual Property and having a science background?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2004, 11:54:18 AM »
Litigators don't generally need more than a BA/BS degree, and also don't have to take the patent bar.
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jacy85

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Re: Intellectual Property and having a science background?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2004, 12:24:23 PM »
I disagree that litigators don't need to have a science background. You need to be able to understand what you're talking about if you want to present a good case.

GentleTim

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Re: Intellectual Property and having a science background?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2004, 12:52:10 PM »
imagine giving technical documents disclosing an organic-LED display apparatus to a liberal arts major and asking them to write the patent. not gonna happen.

There are a couple of us that might figure it out... ;)

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Intellectual Property and having a science background?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2004, 02:28:41 PM »
Ginatio, no doubt bruh, no doubt.

I've been talking with a bunch of Patent lawyers and some of the 2L's and 3L's at my school who are going into Patent law and I've got a new one that will bake your noodle...

Once I told the 2L's I was planning on going into Patent law their eyes got big and they pulled me to the side and was like "start applying to Patent firms NOW!"

I was like "but I don't even have grades yet"

They were like "We're gonna let you in on a little secret...it doesn't matter.  Patent Law firms don't care about your grades."

 :o

I almost stuttered "d-d-don't care about grades??? Getthefuckoutaheeeeere, you guys are messing with me"

They were like "no we're serious, we had to pull you to the side because the faculty doesn't like us talking about it in public b/c it makes all the other students go crazy and gives off the wrong impression about grades being important."

So apparently, we can apply for jobs w/o even having a GPA or having taken the patent bar (just put a date when you plan to sit for the patent bar).  They told me that your grades matter as far as you doing well in school, scholarships, etc. etc. but as far as finding employment in patent firms, they don't really care.  If you have an engineering degree, have passed the FE, have a JD, have passed the bar, and can pass the patent bar then you have done enough. @#!* grades.

Some don't even care about the patent bar, depending if its general practice with patent law or private practice with patent litigation.  One patent lawyer I talked to yesterday said he has been doing it for 4 years and has never set foot in a courtroom. BTW he just made $175,000 last year and left the firm he was at to go into private practice for himself b/c $175k wasn't enough for him...


I thought that was kinda wild myself.

So to echo BAFF213, it is not necessary to be an engineer for IP law in general, but under the umbrella of IP law there are several branches, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, and patents.  If you go into patents then yes you have to be an engineer or have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (which basically you can only do if you're an engineer anyway) because of what Ginatio said about writing a patent written in not only legal-ese but also in techno-bable.
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dgatl

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Re: Intellectual Property and having a science background?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2004, 02:48:48 PM »
Ginatio, no doubt bruh, no doubt.

I've been talking with a bunch of Patent lawyers and some of the 2L's and 3L's at my school who are going into Patent law and I've got a new one that will bake your noodle...

Once I told the 2L's I was planning on going into Patent law their eyes got big and they pulled me to the side and was like "start applying to Patent firms NOW!"

I was like "but I don't even have grades yet"

They were like "We're gonna let you in on a little secret...it doesn't matter.  Patent Law firms don't care about your grades."

 :o

I almost stuttered "d-d-don't care about grades??? Getthefuckoutaheeeeere, you guys are messing with me"

They were like "no we're serious, we had to pull you to the side because the faculty doesn't like us talking about it in public b/c it makes all the other students go crazy and gives off the wrong impression about grades being important."

So apparently, we can apply for jobs w/o even having a GPA or having taken the patent bar (just put a date when you plan to sit for the patent bar).  They told me that your grades matter as far as you doing well in school, scholarships, etc. etc. but as far as finding employment in patent firms, they don't really care.  If you have an engineering degree, have passed the FE, have a JD, have passed the bar, and can pass the patent bar then you have done enough. @#!* grades.

Some don't even care about the patent bar, depending if its general practice with patent law or private practice with patent litigation.  One patent lawyer I talked to yesterday said he has been doing it for 4 years and has never set foot in a courtroom. BTW he just made $175,000 last year and left the firm he was at to go into private practice for himself b/c $175k wasn't enough for him...


I thought that was kinda wild myself.

So to echo BAFF213, it is not necessary to be an engineer for IP law in general, but under the umbrella of IP law there are several branches, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, and patents.  If you go into patents then yes you have to be an engineer or have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (which basically you can only do if you're an engineer anyway) because of what Ginatio said about writing a patent written in not only legal-ese but also in techno-bable.

this is wild and I hope its across the board and not just at the T14

Andrew

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Re: Intellectual Property and having a science background?
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2004, 03:06:35 PM »
This topic has come up before.  Here's the realistic approach:

1) What do you need?

You don't need any special qualifications to litigate patents, or do any copyright or trademark work.  You do need a science or engineering degree to prosecute (that is: file) patents.  It's not so much that you need the degree, but you need to admitted to the patent bar, and, with some minor exceptions, you need a science or engineering degree to sit for that.

2) What do you really need?

Just because you're licensed to do something doesn't mean people will be knocking on your door.  It's extremely difficult to get hired at an IP firm or in the IP dept. of a big firm without the science or engineering degree.  Those firms want people that can do patents.  Patents are the majority of their business.

3) How hard is it to get an IP job?

If you have an undergraduate (or better yet, graduate) degree in a hot subject (and that pretty much means engineering, though biotech sometimes heats up), it's easier to get a job at a big firm than it is for everyone else.  You can have a lower GPA and still get interviews.

4) "But I have a good understanding of..."

Really - you need the degree.  Law firms want understanding, but they want the degree even more.

5) What type of work environments are there?

Most of the big firms have IP departments.  These are parallel to corporate and litigation departments, but often smaller.  There are also firms that specialize in IP, including many "boutique" firms that have around 20 lawyers.  There are also lots of in-house IP jobs, managing a patent portfolio at a biotech company or a university, but you usually need at least a couple years of experience at a firm before you'll be considered for those positions.

6) Can't I just get a job doing trademark and copyright?

Technically yes.  Such positions do exist, but they're not common and they're hard to get.  I'd imagine cities with big advertising and entertainment industries would have more jobs for trademark and copyright respectivly (ie New York, LA?).