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   PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
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   Author  Topic: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent  (Read 10980 times)
BioGeek
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PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
« on: Jun 5th, 2007, 11:22pm »
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Hi all,
 
I am very interested in becoming a patent agent or patent attorney. I hope to get advice to help me make some decisions.  
 
I have a B.S. in Biology and will receive PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Sept./Oct. 2007.
I will have 3-4 publications when I graduate: 1 or 2 first-author, 1 co-first author, and 1 fourth-author paper.  All are research articles in decent Bio Journal (Impact factor ~7).  I don’t have any industry experience (no postdoc experience obviously).  
 
How is the market for patent agent with a PhD in Biochemistry now? Do I need postdoc experience? If yes, is industry postdoc better than academic postdoc? After I graduate, should I start as a tech advisor in a law firm or should I take the patent bar exam now and look for patent agent position? or take LSAT exam and apply for Law school now.
 
  
I am fluent in written and spoken English, but English is not my native language. I wonder if language would be a major hurdle for me to get into the patent agent career. Does anyone from a non-English-speaking country success in US as a patent agent/lawyer?  
 
I am currently an Alien student with temporary visa (F1), but I will have one-year training period (OPT) after graduate.  I will need a company to sponsor a H1 visa to work in the US after OPT.  Any one has the same experience?  
 
Any advice will be greatly appreciated.  Wink
« Last Edit: Jun 6th, 2007, 6:34pm by BioGeek » IP Logged
phil.gs
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Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
« Reply #1 on: Jun 8th, 2007, 6:48pm »
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There's a great market for patent agents with PhDs *who have experience as patent agents*. The problem, of course, is that it's very difficult to get anyone to train you. Passing the patent bar is useful is that it shows your commitment to the profession, but it doesn't get you any useful training.
 
But never fear! I'm in a very similar position (ABD on a PhD in Molecular Biology), and I just accepted a technical advisor position. I have taken the LSAT and scored pretty well. The real trick is just to keep at it and not give up. Send a resume and cover letter to as many firms as you can find (customizing for each firm, of course). I would send it to the managing partner for the IP/patent group. Especially look for partners who have PhDs themselves.  
 
The other thing to do is to find some mentors. My experience is that lawyers (at least in the IP/patent sector) are remarkably friendly and helpful. Find someone with credentials like yours who's working the job you'd like to have in five years. Send that person an e-mail with all the questions you posted here.
 
Good luck!
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BioGeek
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Posts: 4
Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
« Reply #2 on: Jun 8th, 2007, 9:52pm »
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Hi phil.gs, thank you very much for yours advice. I do appreicate it.  It is very encouraging and helpful.
 
I found this forum extremely helpful.
 
Just to answer one of my own questions:
By browsing through some lawfirms, I did find some patent lawyers from non-English-speaking country: Russia, Japan, China etc.
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apiradee
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Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
« Reply #3 on: Sep 3rd, 2007, 10:28am »
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I'm in the exact same position as you biogeek.
 
Phil.gs - Your response makes my day, Thanks
 
I have a few questions though.
 
Should I take LSAT before apply for a job?  
 
How do you like working as techical advisor?
 
Thanks a lot
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biopico
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Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
« Reply #4 on: Sep 3rd, 2007, 3:19pm »
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As a former scientist who used to work in the laboratory and now as a patent agent, my view on tech specialist is doing the work as if you are drafting a technical paper (=patent application) based on the research data provided by others.
 
So if you like this kind of job, you will love to do patent prosecution before the PTO.  
 
I love this kind of work and in particular I'd like to interact with inventors and also to learn how a biotech business works.   So I work in a biotech rather than in a lawfirm.  
 
 
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Registered Patent Agent Specializing in All Areas of Biotechnology
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