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Becoming a Patent Agent/Lawyer
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   REVERSE IP
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Isaac
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Posts: 3472
Re: REVERSE IP
« Reply #5 on: Sep 18th, 2004, 11:29am »
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I know one very effective patent litigator who has a political
science degree.  Representing clients in patent disputes in court
does not require registration with the patent office.  Are
you sure that you are most interested in patent prosecution
(advising clients on how to secure a patent and representing
them in front of the USPTO)?
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Isaac
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Re: REVERSE IP
« Reply #6 on: Sep 18th, 2004, 12:31pm »
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Yes, I am sure I want to do this, but I am wondering how employable I would be considering that I would not have a specific technical background.
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JimIvey
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  jamesdivey  
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Re: REVERSE IP
« Reply #7 on: Sep 19th, 2004, 11:05pm »
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I can only speak for myself in this regard.  Yes, it would look very odd to me and I'd ask you about your reasons and motivations.  I might even delve further with follow-up questions because it's such an unusual path.  However, when it comes down to making the decision with respect to a job offer, I don't think it matters much which credential came first.  In fact, I might even count the unusual sequence as a positive -- getting to where you want to be despite the unorthodox nature of your path and perhaps difficulty as well.  However, barely qualifying for the exam doesn't stand out from the crowd at all.  I usually like to see an advanced degree or a few years experience working as an engineer -- both is great!
 
However, whether it's worthwhile for you (to become a registered patent attorney) depends on your ultimate career goal.  Remember, patent prosecutors are a different species than litigators and tech transfer attorneys.  It doesn't take much time in a law firm to figure that out.  For a patent prosecutor position, I care more about technical transcripts than law school transcripts.  For a litigator, the technical degree might be a nice touch, but the legal acumen is far more important.  My understanding is that a top litigator without a technical background beats a mediocre litigator with a strong technical background every time in patent litigation jobs.  Of course, at my old firm, the choices were between top litigators without technical backgrounds and top litigators with technical backgrounds.
 
So, whether qualifying for the exam is worthwhile depends on whether you're more likely to be on the pre-issuance side (prosecution) or post-issuance side (litigation/licensing).  I'd only suggest taking the exam (given your current path) for the former option, not the latter.
 
Just one more opinion to heap on the pile....
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
Law Offices of James D. Ivey
http://www.iveylaw.com
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Re: REVERSE IP
« Reply #8 on: Sep 24th, 2004, 4:18pm »
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That is most helpful. I am sure I want to be a patent prosecutor, not a litigator, although it is important for a patent prosecutor to be cognizant of the possibility of litigation, for that is what he hopes to prevent.  
 
I do not want to be too specific, but I would like a little advice regarding my particular situation. My father has been a  chemical engineer for over 30 years and we talk frequently about the issues he deals with in plant design. I was introduced to a former chemical engineer who quit to become a solo patent prosecutor. He has asked to hire me to edit his work and offered me $10 an hour to work with him on processing patent applications. His main interest is that I edit his work, which seems like it would be a good opportunity to learn how patent applications are properly done.
 
This would not allow me to take as many credits during the day, but at the same time it would allow me to get some very useful experience. Unfortunately, he says I will have to wait until after I have passed the bar exam. Does this seem like a good opportunity or am I better off focusing on gaining the requisite technical experience?
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Isaac
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Posts: 3472
Re: REVERSE IP
« Reply #9 on: Sep 24th, 2004, 8:41pm »
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Why is he insisting that you must pass the bar exam?  It
sounds like he is planning to supervise you in a way that
would not require you to have any formal credentials.  Passing the
bar exam is not relevant to being able to practice patent
matters before the PTO.
 
I'm a little confused about exactly what plan you are asking
about.  Are you talking about doing some patent prosecution
while you take some technical courses so you can qualify to
take the patent bar exam?  Are these technical course going to
result in a technical degree?
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Isaac
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