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   Patent law in biochem: MS or PhD?
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   Author  Topic: Patent law in biochem: MS or PhD?  (Read 950 times)
Bryan
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Patent law in biochem: MS or PhD?
« on: May 24th, 2007, 12:38am »
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Hey guys-
 
I've got a year left before finishing a Chemistry/Biology double major at a small liberal arts college in Michigan.  Originally, I intended to get a PhD in pharmacology or biochemistry and work in the pharmaceutical industry.  Unfortunately, I'm in the same boat with a lot of non-engineering science grads that are not particularly satisfied with salaries for PhD researchers, even for industry jobs.  Essentially I want to get a return on my investment of 5+ years beyond college.
 
In reading through the messages here, its clear that a BS isn't going to cut it for getting into patent law.  So my question is, would an MS in a field pertaining to drug structure/design be sufficient?  A PhD + JD would be an 8 year commitment beyond the schooling i already have, and I don't think I'd be able to rationalize it.
 
So what do you guys think?  Is the MS/JD path viable for biochemistry-related patent law?
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mehmeh
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Re: Patent law in biochem: MS or PhD?
« Reply #1 on: May 24th, 2007, 8:44am »
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Do you want to practice litigation or prosecution?
 
If litigation is your answer, a BS will suffice.
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Bryan
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Re: Patent law in biochem: MS or PhD?
« Reply #2 on: May 24th, 2007, 9:56am »
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thanks, good to know.
what about if I were to do prosecution?
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dcoughli
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Re: Patent law in biochem: MS or PhD?
« Reply #3 on: May 24th, 2007, 7:32pm »
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I'm curious what small liberal arts college you're graduating from as you sound like me 5 years ago.  I graduated from Hillsdale College in 2002 with a degree in Biology and am about to defend my doctoral thesis in biochemistry (though I came in under pharmacology) from University of Michigan.  I'm heading off to University of Toledo right afterwards to get my JD.  
 
It is understandable (and rightly) overwhelming to look at 8 more years of school and I definitely wouldn't recommend starting a PhD program unless you're ready for the commitment as it is a long five years, and it's not even guaranteed to only take five years.  
 
Since I haven't started law school yet, I am probably not going to be a lot of help to you.  But know that having a PhD does not help that much in getting accepted to law school.  Law schools primarily look at undergraduate GPA and LSAT score.  Graduate school GPA is almost completely ignored.
 
I have talked with numerous patent lawyers and all have said that a PhD is helpful when it comes to getting a job.  First of all, it separates you from the graduating masses.  Second, it looks good to the clients (and when it comes to biotech innovations, everyone working on the project probably has a PhD, so you are on the same level).  It is all second hand information, but I am hoping it is true.  
 
I just want to warn you a second time, do not start a PhD program unless you really want a PhD.  If you are doing it just for a career path you will burn out by your third year.   I have seen that happen first hand to a lot of people.  Good luck though!
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dcoughli
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Re: Patent law in biochem: MS or PhD?
« Reply #4 on: May 24th, 2007, 7:39pm »
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I'm curious what small liberal arts college you're graduating from as you sound like me 5 years ago.  I graduated from Hillsdale College in 2002 with a degree in Biology and am about to defend my doctoral thesis in biochemistry (though I came in under pharmacology) from University of Michigan.  I'm heading off to University of Toledo right afterwards to get my JD.  
 
It is understandable (and rightly) overwhelming to look at 8 more years of school and I definitely wouldn't recommend starting a PhD program unless you're ready for the commitment as it is a long five years, and it's not even guaranteed to only take five years.  
 
Since I haven't started law school yet, I am probably not going to be a lot of help to you.  But know that having a PhD does not help that much in getting accepted to law school.  Law schools primarily look at undergraduate GPA and LSAT score.  Graduate school GPA is almost completely ignored.
 
I have talked with numerous patent lawyers and all have said that a PhD is helpful when it comes to getting a job.  First of all, it separates you from the graduating masses.  Second, it looks good to the clients (and when it comes to biotech innovations, everyone working on the project probably has a PhD, so you are on the same level).  It is all second hand information, but I am hoping it is true.  
 
I just want to warn you a second time, do not start a PhD program unless you really want a PhD.  If you are doing it just for a career path you will burn out by your third year.   I have seen that happen first hand to a lot of people.  Good luck though!
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