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   Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?
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   Author  Topic: Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?  (Read 14405 times)
Another PhD
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Re: Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?
« Reply #15 on: Dec 30th, 2007, 9:15pm »
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I am a PhD in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology with 5 years of postdoc experience in Immunology and in an effort to move away from bench, i was considering a career in tech transfer/patent agent. But after reading all your posts, I am really scared to pursue this. My main motivation for doing this switch was hopefully a more regular life (considering I have a kid and my husband is going to start his own lab in a university) than what I have been used to over the years (ie 9 am - atleast past midnite). But seems like I was wrong in thinking of this as a possibility. Anyone out there who can correct me? What other options does a person like me have in this kind of field? Anything you would suggest... nah, don't think I want to go back to school for law/MBA now. Well, MBA may be - if there is an expedited process, but not really. Thanks so much for your advice!
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Defeated Army of One
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Re: Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?
« Reply #16 on: Dec 31st, 2007, 8:57am »
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Hi Another PhD,
 
I approached IP toward ends related to yours. I can say that I've satisfied most of my goals ... except for any sense of stability or pride.
 
Despite any comments regarding turning the knife, I am quite satisfied with the money I make. And I don't work long hours. Hell I have to beg to stay busy. The easiest thing for me to do at my current employment is to fall out of the loop and idle. The work is all divided up into practice groups by the attorneys. They have little meetings in nice little rooms with bagels and coffee and everything. But I'm not invited. So I get my work under the ... trickle down theory I suppose. But I can't see past the layer of rocks (the associates) just above me that occasionally drip on me. I'm just some sort of over-flow valve ... sitting empty and ready much of the time.
 
Like you, I have a PhD. I had hoped that with that degree I would one day find sensible employment. But I haven't. The money is great. Any job has politics. But as a patent agent at a law firm, I have a wall of bosses ... all the attorneys. While any one of them on any given day may make a little sense ... when I integrate the experience ... I feel like a target in an air rifle game in a carnival with lots of little kids jacked up on candy and soda pop firing away at me with their little rifles. No one of their projectiles has killed me yet ... but I'm constantly subjected to their senseless revisions on my work and their manipulating tactics that preclude my security in an environment where protocol and order and help from the staff is needed. None of it seems real. It's all just a big carnival game ... I can't win it because I'm part of the scenery of the game ... I'm not actually playing the game.
 
Maybe you can find security in two places that I see potentially available to you:
 
If you live in a city of any size ... there are likely several or many carnivals that I've described in your city. Just look around your city to see how many patent practices exist. When you get sick of the blue cotton candy at the first carnival ... go try the red cotton candy at the second. Eventually you'll see it's all the same ... but you can fool yourself a few months at a time with each new job. I think I've said before ... law firms don't ask too many questions about why you're changing jobs. They suffer profound hubris. Tell them that you weren't happy at your last  job and they'll understand ... after all ... you were working for Tinky LaLa and Poe but you're applying to Willy Nilly and Schmuck ... everybody knows working at Willy Nilly and Schmuck is better than working at Tinky LaLa and Poe. Seriously, look them in the eye and tell them that and they'll be satisfied. It's what they want to hear. You're smarter than them. You can manipulate them.
 
On the other hand, maybe your spouse can bring home the security and you can bring home some extra bacon. That way, if things get too crazy at your first firm (and they will), then you can just take some time off before you move on to your next. Or maybe you can one day do overflow work for several distant law firms that you never have to visit. Other patent agents work that way.
 
As far as pride goes ... forget about it as a patent agent. Your work will be supervised, and typically contaminated with poor judgment, by youngsters with less education and experience than yourself. That's just how it goes.
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johnnyvento
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Posts: 2
Re: Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?
« Reply #17 on: Jan 1st, 2008, 1:58am »
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Defeated Army Of One...
 
I am a PhD getting ready to take the patent bar and look for patent agent jobs... if you feel like it, please email me at michaelsmail at gmail dot com
 
 
 
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daven
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Posts: 75
Re: Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?
« Reply #18 on: Jan 1st, 2008, 6:46pm »
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on Dec 19th, 2007, 3:12pm, zethus25 wrote:
I was a patent agent.  Now i'm a patent attorney.  I suffered the same pain as Defeated Army.  Actually even as an attorney, I'm waiting for the day I too get fired so that I can rest, collect that fat unemployment check, and shop for a patent litigation job.  Patent prosecution is for the birds!  I plan on coming up about 350 hours short this year.  I know there's not a chance in heck I'll ever get fired though.  Firms can't find suckers like me to sit around and draft quality patent applications all day.   Trying to figure out what I went to law school for, when it doesn't look like patent prosecutors actually practice law.

 
How many hours do they expect you to work per year?  Are you coming up short due to taking too many vacations or not working enough hours a day?  thanks
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