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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 2858 times)


Posts: 34
Re: From academia to IP
« Reply #15 on: Sep 10th, 2006, 12:45pm »
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on Sep 9th, 2006, 11:43am, vrglprc wrote:

I have another question--several of you have mentioned jobs as a "scientific advisor" or the like.  What's that all about?

At most firms I know that have such a position, the scientific or technical advisor functions in what is effectively the same role as a patent agent, though unregistered.  At my firm most folks start out as tech advisors and take the patent bar after a year or three, though we have hired a few agents laterally.  

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?  

I don't know how common a practice it is, but it does happen, and at some firms it happens with regularity.

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?

Geographical factors aren't much of an issue on the client side - lots of firms have clients all over the country.  However, on the employment side, it may be a different story.  In my experience, the "greener" you are as a prosecutor, the greater the likelihood that your employer will want to keep pretty close tabs on your work, and that often means keeping you in the office close to others of whom you can ask questions and get assistance.  As you prove yourself, your autonomy increases, and so do the possibilities for more arms'-length work arrangements.  
However, I'd say it's unrealistic and probably detrimental to expect to come up to speed in this field without guidance and regular feedback from someone who knows what they're doing.  Though passing the patent bar entitles you to prosecute, it definitely does not enable you to prosecute *well* in the absence of some actual experience.
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