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Becoming a Patent Agent/Lawyer
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   From academia to IP
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   Author  Topic: From academia to IP  (Read 2862 times)
chemichael
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Posts: 28
Re: From academia to IP
« Reply #10 on: Sep 7th, 2006, 9:16am »
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Just to be clear....I am still in law school (I graduate next year) and have been working as a scientific advisor since 2003.  I passed the patent bar in 2005.  I have never been mistreated in the firms I have worked at.  I nor work for a small boutique firm and the two partners who founded the firm treat us as equals.  I love my work and have never had a doubt about my decision.  This disgruntled one's experience is unfortunate, but in my experience, it is the exception rather than the rule
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tonyp
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Posts: 34
Re: From academia to IP
« Reply #11 on: Sep 7th, 2006, 3:06pm »
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The quality of an agent's experience depends entirely on the enviroment of the firm.  As a mere "tech advisor" I had near-complete autonomy to interview inventors, draft applications and make prosecution decisions.  Did stuff get run by an attorney?  Of course.  But for confirmation, not direction (unless I was completely stumped).
 
There are plenty of advisors and agents at my firm who are perfectly content with their autonomy and compensation, including a number who manage their own clients. While it's true that non-attorneys are frequently prohibited from becoming equity partners/shareholders in law firms, these folks are still doing a hell of a lot better than they were as engineers.
 
For my part, I am a law student (as of two weeks ago) purely because I have broad interests, not because I felt like a second-class citizen.  While Bitter Agent's experience may be illustrative of agent life at many or even most firms, it is certainly not the universal experience s/he claims it to be.
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vrglprc
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Posts: 4
Re: From academia to IP
« Reply #12 on: Sep 7th, 2006, 3:33pm »
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Thanks all for your advice, pro and con.  Good to hear all sides, though on the balance you mostly seem to be, at a minimum, satisfied with your field.  I might choose to go for the JD some day, if not necessarily to become a partner, etc., maybe just to open additional possibilities, who knows.  But at this point I'm still just gauging whether or not the risk of a transition into this brand new field is worth it.  It's also worth keeping in mind that I'm already kind of dissatisfied with what I'm doing now, so everything's relative.
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bjr
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Re: From academia to IP
« Reply #13 on: Sep 8th, 2006, 8:13am »
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I have been practicing as a Patent Agent for 3 years and have had a completely difference experience than 'Patent Agent'.  I work at a boutique firm of 50 attorneys, 4 agents and 3 scientific advisors.  We are all treated like equals.  I love my job.
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vrglprc
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Posts: 4
Re: From academia to IP
« Reply #14 on: Sep 9th, 2006, 11:43am »
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A few days ago I didn't even know what a patent agent was, but am now convinced at giving it a shot.  Thanks for this site, what a resource!
 
I have another question--several of you have mentioned jobs as a "scientific advisor" or the like.  What's that all about?
 
Also, and perhaps related:  is it common practice for a law and/or patent firm to hire (eg. full time, part time consultant, etc.) a qualified scientist trying to break into the field, while getting them trained for the patent bar?  It is clear from this thread and elsewhere that it is possible to prepare for the bar on one's own and pass it even without previous experience, which I'm likely to be pursuing right now anyway--nothing to lose.  Just also curious as to additional options that may be open to me right now.
 
Also, I've heard that geographical location is not necessarily a limiting factor in finding employment in this field--that work for a firm can often be done predominantly "off site."  Does this fit with others' impressions/experience?
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