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chuckles
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starting my own firm
« on: Oct 19th, 2006, 4:57am »
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How long would you recommend that I work for a firm before starting out on my own?  
 
In other words, how long does it normally take for a new lawyer to get up to speed in patent law to the point that they can work unsupervised? I've been told that the learning curve is steep, but then again that was a partner telling me so who probably liked to think that the underlings couldn't exist without him.  
 
A second question: how versatile can I expect to be with a biosciences background? Is it feasible that I could handle non-bio patents or is it better to stick with bio patents only?
 
Thanks.
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Bill Richards
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Re: starting my own firm
« Reply #1 on: Oct 19th, 2006, 5:59am »
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First check this Forum as this subject has been discussed before.
As there are no hard-and-fast answers and you'll probably (hopefully) get several opinions, let me throw in my two-cents worth.
I've seen the learning curve described as number of applications drafted from scratch.  The number is usually between 30 and 50.  I think it's something you'll know when you see it.  When you start to feel comfortable interviewing the inventor(s), writing the Spec, drafting the claims (most write the claims before drafting the Spec), and handling the office actions, all with full consideration of the current state of the law, then you might be ready.  But, it's an individual thing and many start solo before that time.  Going on one's own is also an economic decision driven by one's ability to survive until a client base is built up.  Going on one's own is also an emotional decision based upon working alone and the ability to self-motivate.
As for the bio aspect, I'm not sure what sort of curriculum that includes, but it boils down to being competent to handle the case.  If it's high-tech electronics or computer science, you might want to pass.  On the other hand, with your bio background, you will probably have enough work in your field.
Hope this helps.
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William B. Richards, P.E.
The Richards Law Firm
Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
614/939-1488
chuckles
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Re: starting my own firm
« Reply #2 on: Oct 19th, 2006, 6:35am »
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Very helpful. Thank you very much.
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chemichael
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Re: starting my own firm
« Reply #3 on: Oct 19th, 2006, 4:44pm »
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as some who practices in the biotech/pharm/chemical arts, i'd say a minimum of 5-7 years....just my opinion
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LF
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Re: starting my own firm
« Reply #4 on: Oct 20th, 2006, 7:52am »
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Don't forget the other "intangibles" (beyond and above your ability to prosecute a patent). Are you comfortable performing the "rain making" functions (finding and bringing clients, billing, etc.)
 
I agree with Bill, you'll know when you are ready.
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