1. And... we're back. You'll notice that all of your images are back as well, as are our beloved emoticons, including the infamous :foo: We have also worked with our server folks and developers to fix the issues that were slowing down the site.

    There is still work to be done - the images in existing sigs are not yet linked, for example, and we are working on a way to get the images to load faster - which will improve the performance of the site, especially on the pages with a ton of images, and we will continue to work diligently on that and keep you updated.

    Cheers,

    Fok on behalf of the entire Styleforum team
    Dismiss Notice

Intellectual Property Law

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by ebmk3891, May 9, 2012.

  1. ebmk3891

    ebmk3891 Senior member

    Messages:
    196
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    I saw the other law school thread, but looking for some insight and personal experience from any of you that are in this field (whether it'd be a patent agent or lawyer). I have a BS in computer engineering and have been working as a system administrator for the past 5-6 years. I've been thinking about applying for a job as a sys admin at a law firm to be around that type of environment and then start studying for the patent bar exam and become an agent. I figure a year or two later, I would take my LSATS and go to law school.

    Your insight is much appreciated!
     
  2. NoVaguy

    NoVaguy Senior member

    Messages:
    6,529
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Guv'mintFlunkyLand
    I'm not sure you need to be a sys admin at a law firm to get into this field.

    If you really want to go to into patent law, either just go to the best law school you can get into, or move to DC and go to one of the night programs, ideally while doing something IP related during the day, either at the USPTO or a law firm.

    In the old days, 4 years at the USPTO allowed you to not take patent bar exam (technically, the patent registration exam, no JD required), but now it is basically required (PTO personnel take a version of the exam with questions more geared towards examiners - i.e., more about examination and less about deadlines and fees)
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  3. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Senior member

    Messages:
    13,923
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Location:
    McAnally Flats
    Javyn has stated that he is an intellectual property paralegal, so he might be a good place to start. Of course, half his posts are full of shit, so I could be wrong.
     
  4. javyn

    javyn Senior member

    Messages:
    16,747
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Seems like you have a good plan to me. I don't work in the prosecution wing (know nothing of patent prosecution), but I've noticed we love hiring prosecutors who have previously been patent agents.

    IMO being an agent with your background will be really good for you. I'd imagine whatever firm you ended up at after law school though would try to drag you into litigation with your tech skills. We certainly would with the growing number of wireless infringement cases we are getting. Program much?
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. mexicutioner

    mexicutioner Senior member

    Messages:
    1,154
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    Location:
    CA all day
    keep in mind that a computer engineering degree *might* not qualify you to sit for the patent bar exam w/o additional coursework.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  6. ebmk3891

    ebmk3891 Senior member

    Messages:
    196
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    I should be okay for the qualification. My degree had me do a number of programming, physics and math. My degree also came with a minor in physics and mathematics. I'm not much of a programmer, but I know enough to understand the logic and read code.

    @NoVaguy - by nightly programs in DC, do you mean a law school or is there something else?

    Sounds like I should take the patent bar exam and not really worry too much about working in a firm as a sys admin. Thanks
     
  7. NoVaguy

    NoVaguy Senior member

    Messages:
    6,529
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Guv'mintFlunkyLand
    

    Oh, yeah, forgot about that. Had a number of classmates who had that problem. Kind of idiotic for the computer programming area, but it is what it is.


    Night law. There's something like 6 or 7 night law programs in town. Georgetown, GW, American, Howard, Catholic, Mason, and maybe Maryland? I think Georgetown is the only T-14 night law, GW has the far better patent/IP law, program (but slightly worse everywhere else).

    Mason is (or used to be) a pretty good deal if you are a VA resident; with a decent bit of income during the day you can pretty much live tight and come out with no to minimal debt. And I think they are trying to pump up their IP program, or at least they were trying to do so.

    A lot of firms and some government agencies used to have scholarships/tuition reimbursement plans in the past decade but I don't if that still exists in the post-2008 crash era.
     
  8. NoVaguy

    NoVaguy Senior member

    Messages:
    6,529
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Guv'mintFlunkyLand
  9. javyn

    javyn Senior member

    Messages:
    16,747
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    OP, hit me up, I have a shitpile of study materials you can have. AIPLA training, claim drafting, forms, IP Bar, etc.
     
  10. km83

    km83 Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aus
    Also the WIPO have a bunch of Summer Schools that are cheap and don't seem too hard to get into. A good 2 week program to give you a little kick start perhaps?
     
  11. ShoeShopperJ

    ShoeShopperJ Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    FIRST, I would caution you about attending law school, for many and varied reasons. According to Gallup, one in three workers of the ages 18-29 are underemployed; that is just underemployed (not unemployed). I think it is higher than 32% for law graduates in the same age group.


    [​IMG]


    SECOND, by way of disclosure, this is a practice area that I do not know very well.


    THIRD, I can provide two examples of very good friends of mine who "concentrated" in intellectual property law.
    1. Friend of mine is completely unemployed. He earned a B.A. in engineering and attended a top ten law school. He is federally licensed as a patent and I believe trademark attorney. He currently takes jobs off-and-on as a "contract attorney" (document review) and tutors (an aside: he is paid very well, in my opinion, when he obtains jobs to tutor in engineering).
    2. Other friend of mine worked for a consulting firm during law school as the systems admin person. He has a degree in computer science from a top university. He has been looking for a legal position in intellectual property law since graduating law school. He still works for the same consulting firm and makes, in my opinion, excellent money. He wants to use his law degree, but he cannot find a legal position. Somewhat of an aside: he never worked for a firm or volunteered during law school, which I think could hurt him find a legal position.


    FOURTH, law school has many undisclosed and even unknown risks, among which are
    • Three (3) years of no earnings or diminished earnings during law school;
    • Lack of practical skills training (you graduate unable to practice);
    • Total unemployment upon graduation or underemployment where you may not even use J.D.; and
    • Remarkably high student loan debt (over 100,000).


    Ultimately, my opinion on law school is more by way of warning than than insight (as described above). I try to provide a more realistic picture of law school to individuals even thinking about it. You have been warned (wish that I was before I attended). The cost of law school is so out of proportion with job opportunities, salaries, and skills training that I expect this bubble to burst. It already is with fewer individuals sitting for the LSAT and applying for law school.

    Edit:As always, if it is your lifelong dream to practice law and you can graduate with minimal debt and have a job lined up, it is worth it. If this is something you are "thinking about" or "considering" and will take on a lot of debt and expect to obtain a job upon graduation, you need to be particularly cautious and wise about this "investment" (huge liability?). I want you to fulfill your dream and succeed, but law school is not a good place to consider or pursue career options. You need to have a substantial network BEFORE entering law school to provide legal services to in the event of un/underemployment. If you do not have a substantial network and will graduate with a massive amount of debt, you are at risk of literally ruining your life with respect to economics and finances; it is that significant and serious of a risk, financial liability and burden.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  12. ebmk3891

    ebmk3891 Senior member

    Messages:
    196
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Thanks - I have considered many of those a factor in my decision. I'd only go to law school if I could get into a top university.

    What state do your law friends live in? What I am hoping to do is work part-time at a firm that practices IP while attending classes. From my perspective of many of my friends, interning/part-time work to develop that experience during school is crucial to landing a fulltime job after graduating. I realize the risk coming out of this which is why I'm seeking the opinions of others.
     
  13. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Senior member

    Messages:
    13,923
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Location:
    McAnally Flats
    

    Keep in mind that, at least officially, you are not allowed to work your first year unless you are only attending part-time (and part-time law school is absolutely foolish for most people).
     
  14. ebmk3891

    ebmk3891 Senior member

    Messages:
    196
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    

    Is this universal or just some schools? By part-time, I only meant work and not school.
     
  15. mexicutioner

    mexicutioner Senior member

    Messages:
    1,154
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    Location:
    CA all day
    

    i *think* that's a 1L-year rule for all ABA schools. either way, it's a good policy. compare what you'd earn with a part time job while attending (non-night school) law school versus the amount of money you can make as a biglaw summer associate and as a full-time associate after graduation.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  16. NoVaguy

    NoVaguy Senior member

    Messages:
    6,529
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Guv'mintFlunkyLand
    

    quasi-universal. In my mind, some exceptions would be if you are (1) already working at a firm as a student associate - common for ex-uspto types; (2) working for a government agency that offers excellent outside prospects (for IP, as a patent examiner at the USPTO; for non-IP I know less but think something like law enforcement, ideally at the federal level, might be similar; and possibly military as well).

    All of these have significant legal components to the day job and/or what I suspect are useful ancillary benefits - law enforcement knowledge from law enforcement or higher than normal security clearances for military.
     
  17. dagman1

    dagman1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    Hey man, I'm a lawyer in Canada but practiced patent/trademark prosecution for over a year, including US patent/trademark prosecution, and now practice corporate/commercial law. I can share some insight into the field.

    First I'll just say that patent prosecution is a great field to work in as far as I'm concerned. It's an extremely fascinating area of law in that a lot of the arguments are both legal and technical and to be successful at it you need to master both and be able to weave between both. There is also tons of skill involved in drafting patents and it's a fascinating exercise that tests your ability to think abstractly and creatively about things. The only reason I'm not practicing in this area now is that I wanted to be more rounded of a lawyer but I'm almost sure I will eventually go back if I can.

    I wouldn't focus too much on law school. It's way too high risk for an uncertain reward, especially in the US. The advantage you have is that you can practice in this area without having to go to law school by getting a job as a patent agent trainee. That's easier said than done but there is almost no risk. You only need to leave your current job if and when you get a job as a trainee. If you become a patent agent, then you can decide if you want to go to law school, at which point the risk will be extremely low, since you'll get picked up in a second at an IP firm if you are a patent agent. I'd recommend doing it eventually to get the variety of work, but you'll be able to decide for yourself at that point.

    As for finding a job as a patent agent, you're basically going to have to network, and network hard, so you can find someone who will give you a chance. Leverage all your contacts: anyone who knows anyone who is a patent agent/lawyer. Ask to meet with them, not for a job, but more just to ask a ton of questions and let them know you are interested. You'll get your name out there. It doesn't matter if you work at a big firm or for a small unknown patent lawyer--as long as you learn to draft and prosecute US patents. That's all you need. So don't get caught up on where the opportunity might be. The key here is to break into the field.

    Let me know if you have any questions but if you really want to do this you can make it happen. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  18. dagman1

    dagman1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    The other thing I forgot to mention is I think the USPTO is still opening an office in Detroit. Maybe there might be some hiring going on, although I'm not sure exactly what they would be looking for (i.e., if they are hiring people with no experience). But worth looking more into.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  19. NoVaguy

    NoVaguy Senior member

    Messages:
    6,529
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Guv'mintFlunkyLand
  20. Jpmorris

    Jpmorris Senior member

    Messages:
    406
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    I stumbled upon this thread, but having lived in the greater detroit area, don't move to Detroit unless something really, really, really good is going to come of it. Detroit looks and feels like the setting of a post apocalyptic movie.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by