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crystallographer
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technical specialist job
« on: May 22nd, 2007, 3:22pm »
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I am currently a post-doctoral fellow working at a federal lab and am interested in getting into the patent law field.  I am looking into becoming a patent examiner (though they are not hiring this year) but am also thinking about trying to become a technical specialist at a law firm.  I have no patent experience.  I have a PhD in Biophysics, a MA in Biochemistry and a BA in Biology.  I have 2.5 years of post-doc experience.
 
I am looking in the the Washington, D.C. or Boston area.  What is the best way to look?  Internet searching has not been too successful? I am also wondering what is an average salary for a tech spec in these areas?  I am sure it is more than I make as a post-doc.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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pentazole
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Re: technical specialist job
« Reply #1 on: Jun 7th, 2007, 3:25pm »
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What you do is compile a list of all the firms in the areas you are looking at that have a patent practice, then you send them each a professional resume/cover letter with your objectives and qualifications.  Showing interest in taking the patent bar and then possibility of attending lawschool are a plus.  You can take the patent bar before joining and then you can apply as a patent agent.  The salary of a technical consultant at most respectable firms is 70,000+.  Just to clarify, "technical consultant" refers to a person who is employed in the capacity of a patent agent trainee, and who isn't yet registered at the USPTO.
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phil.gs
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Re: technical specialist job
« Reply #2 on: Jun 14th, 2007, 11:04am »
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I second pentazole's comments, with the addition that you send your resume to the managing partners or chair of the patent group. You're probably going to have better luck if that person has a bio background (instead of engineering), but you shouldn't let that get in your way.
 
Alas, I didn't have much luck with this approach in the DC area. What did work for me is simple networking. (I dislike beating the "networking" drum, but I have to be honest.) About a year ago, I got in touch with an attorney at a firm who had a PhD in biology, and asked her about her career and general advice. When I started looking for a position, she said that her firm was looking to hire. In the end, they offered me a job.
 
If I had it to do over again, the only thing I would do differently is to contact more attorneys for advice. It doesn't matter if you ask them all the same questions and they all give the same answers. The important things is that you've made contacts, and each of those contacts could potentially be a job offer. So the more contacts you make, the better.
 
The salary range I've been quoted (on this board) is 70k-85k. Certainly my salary falls in that range.
 
Best wishes!
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pentazole
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Re: technical specialist job
« Reply #3 on: Jun 14th, 2007, 1:10pm »
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I agree with the networking thing.  You would be surprised how many people go to interviews with no idea what patent law or patent prosecution is about.  When I went for my first interview I was so nervous, but when I asked the guy in front of me (the only other person) what he was there for and saw he had no clue what position he is interviewing for, I kind of knew I was getting that job haha.
 
One of my former TA's joined an IP firm, and he spent a good hour with me on the phone explaining his work before I started sending out my resumes.  If it wasn't for his help and guidance I would have been just as lost as that clueless guy.
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Yasure Whatever
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Re: technical specialist job
« Reply #4 on: Jul 11th, 2007, 7:00pm »
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I agree that who you know really helps in IP law. However, I do not know where you got your info on the USPTO hiring situation.  The fact is that they are trying to hire around 1000 new examiners every year for the next five years.
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