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   Physics BS New Grad seeks work @firm-practicality?
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   Author  Topic: Physics BS New Grad seeks work @firm-practicality?  (Read 1181 times)
mcgphysics
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Physics BS New Grad seeks work @firm-practicality?
« on: Oct 31st, 2006, 1:33am »
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I have just completed a BS in (applied) Physics and would like to go into the patent law industry. I have about 2.5 years research experience as an undergrad (mostly electrical/semiconductor/optics) and no law experience and am currently planning to relocate to nyc from the dc area.  
I've been told the easiest route would be for me to work for the USPTO to gain experience but I much rather prefer to just start at a firm (don't want to be in DC).  
Also, I do plan on attaining a USPTO patent agent certification sometime in the next year, but want to start in the industry now.  
 
Is it practical for me to assume that i'll be able to find work at a firm (in nyc, or in general) with my physics bs, my minimal research experience, and no law experience?  
 
Also, anyone ever in a similar position who has their story to share would be great.  
 
-Mike
« Last Edit: Oct 31st, 2006, 1:43am by mcgphysics » IP Logged
Here's Johnny
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Re: Physics BS New Grad seeks work @firm-practical
« Reply #1 on: Oct 31st, 2006, 3:54pm »
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I think you'll have trouble finding that first job.
The USPTO would likely hire you as an Examiner.
You're facing an uphill battle.
You could go to graduate school to get an engineering M.S. or Ph.D., but don't do that to get into patent law. If you want to go into patent law ... I recommend law school (JD). Not that I recommend patent law.
 
If you go to the patent office, it could be a long time before a firm will hire you without a graduate degree (MS, PhD, JD).
I'm not trying to put you down, but you might be trying to get out of school early. Most patent practitioners have stuck it out and gotten multiple degrees. It's just the lay of the land in the US these days for professionals in many fields.
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mcgphysics
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Re: Physics BS New Grad seeks work @firm-practical
« Reply #2 on: Nov 1st, 2006, 4:16pm »
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Yes I admit, I'm a little tired of school after finishing this bs, but i've certainly not ruled out the idea of getting a sci/eng graduate degree or JD after a year or two of working. The problem is which to pursue, I need some time and experience to decide what it is I want to spend the rest of my life doing (leaning more towards law at this point).
 
You say I'm facing an uphill battle with finding this job which I understand, but with enough networking and mailings it's not impossible, right?
 
Also, would going ahead and pursuing my agent certification make it significantly more likely that i'd find work, even with no law experience, and my minimal research experience? Or would we expect it to be just as difficult a task as in my current position?
 
And of the 80 people who have looked at this post, i'm sure somebody must know some individuals working as agents/attorney/tech-advisors in firms with only a physics bs...and if not, then I want to know that too.  
 
Please comment, I need more input before I make some life changing decisions
 
Thanks.
« Last Edit: Nov 1st, 2006, 6:34pm by mcgphysics » IP Logged
Here's Johnny
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Re: Physics BS New Grad seeks work @firm-practical
« Reply #3 on: Nov 3rd, 2006, 9:22am »
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Hi mcgphysics,
 
Yes, networking is important, and nothing is impossible. I can't speak very authoritatively on approaching a patent agent career with a BS in physics. I can say that most of the law-firm patent agents I've met have PhD's.
 
If you're set on working in the patent field, like in any other industry, the sooner you get started counting years of experience, the better off you'll be. That's why I keep getting back to the patent examiner suggestion. People count that as good experience in this field. OK, patent examiners don't write patent applications, but people respect the experience.
 
Studying for the patent agent/atty registration would do a lot for you. If you want to sign papers on behalf of clients, you'll need that license. There is other work to do in this field, like patent docket work. Docket work requires sophistication and is handled by paralegals and other educated people that aren't registered agents/attys. There are often job ads for docket paralegals and managers. But if you want to write and prosecute patent applications, almost every employer will demand you have or acquire the agent/atty registration though other people may be present that have the registration and could supervise you and sign the forms.
 
Another thing studying for the registration exam may do:
It may tell you if you do or don't like patent work.
Find some old exams and look at the questions. They represent what we do. If it looks awful ... don't go into patent work. The exam is actually pretty hard. I had to study a lot for several months. I didn't enjoy the time pressures of studying and working ... but ... when I sat down and studied the old exam questions I got the feeling that I could do this for a living. If you don't get that feeling, you probably won't like working on patent applications. We have to look up nit-picky little details about rules all the time. And the bloody rules change constantly ... so it's study, re-study, re-study ... it never ends. By the time you can get your hard-copy all highlighted ... IT'S OBSOLETE. The changes can be maddening. If you don't want to find yourself needling over slight word variations in rule changes, you might not like patent work.
 
OK, some software I was waiting for is here ... I gotta go.  
 
cheers
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