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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 14384 times)
zethus25
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    zethus25


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Re: Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?
« Reply #5 on: Dec 19th, 2007, 9:40am »
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fdjdhfl (strange name), I couldn't have said it better myself.  I spend five years working at a patent agent for a boutique law firm in nyc while attending law school at night.  
 
I was given the most technical work at the firm.  Sometimes it boardered on impossible.  While first year associates walked on a red carpet, taking depositions, working on long drawn out litigations, doing legal research etc.  Those tasks help them make their hours quota.  Unlike the tasks given to patent agents which are all more recently becoming fixed fees to clients.  I actually drafted patent applicaitons and amendments for fixed fees even though the technology and claims required well over the a loted time.  
 
In today's industry you would crazy to take a patent agent position.   I admit, I did it.  But I totally regret having went through it.  It was a poor choice on my part.
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Dntblvvrythngnthntrnt
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Re: Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?
« Reply #6 on: Dec 19th, 2007, 10:27am »
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What kind of firms are you people working at?  My firm treats patent agents great.
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Re: Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?
« Reply #7 on: Dec 19th, 2007, 11:01am »
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I concur with many of the remarks already posted. Being a patent agent is a loser's choice ... and I'm a loser. I've worked for several firms now, and while they were all a little different, I've always felt isolated and insecure. One thing no one has touched upon here is secretarial and staff support. The staff members of a law firm know that the attorneys butter the toast. Secretaries and other staff members simply are not going to do much to help patent agents ... because we're just staff members also. I find myself moving along to another firm every two to three years. You see, as a busy docket builds up, tracking and satisfying deadlines increasingly means I need help from a secretary. Secretaries complete docket forms, monitor docket reminders, attend to many simple filings such as IDS submissions, and generally facilitate the practices of attorneys. But they ignore patent agents. So we can't compete with the associates in our work places. It's a game that can't be won by a patent agent. Attorneys routinely tell me that I shouldn't be wasting my time on X, Y, or Z ... my secretary should do that. So I look bad ... but I'm powerless to change anything. Sometimes they'll tell me such things while their instructions to my secretary to concentrate on their work for the next few days are still hot in their breath. So, in order merely to meet deadlines, I find myself completing transmittal forms, scanning documents, and constructing continuation specifications by cutting and pasting text from the parent cases from on-line sources. That's a patent agent's life at a law firm. We don't want to miss deadlines. We don't want to commit malpractice. So we do everything ourselves in environments wherein good secretarial help is crucial to professional survival. And while I don't miss deadlines, and I don't commit malpractice, everyday I un-weave my own job security in efforts to merely satisfy the most basic tenets of patent practice. And one day that security is gone, and I get fired or I quit. There is always another law firm out there that will hire me though, each self-assured that they are different and better ... but it's always the same.
 
And no ... I'm not going to law school. I'm waiting to get fired again. Then I'll draw unemployment income for a while, regroup, and reinvent myself as a bicycle messenger or a performance artist. I'm not going to fight forever to find some meaning and security in patent work. I'm done screaming against the setting of the sun.  I always wanted to run away and join the circus ... my chance is coming ... soon.
 
I am a defeated army of one.
I am a patent agent.
Do not follow my path ... for it is damned.
Go be an engineer, a scientist, an artist, a musician, or just a fool, but don't become a patent agent.
 
 
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BotchedExperiment
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Re: Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?
« Reply #8 on: Dec 19th, 2007, 11:40am »
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Dntblvvrythngnthntrnt--That's actually a good question.  
 
My experience is typical as those discussed above, except that I'm self-employed and work for a few different firms.  Thus, I know that I'm not going to have any assistance, so I knew the score when I started.
 
I'm guessing that most agents that have negative experiences are those that work at firms (or in-house) where there are very few, if any other agents.
 
I wonder if one works at a place with several other agents, if the system isn't geared to accomodate them.
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Repeating experiments since 1998.
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Re: Is becoming a patent agent a smart move?
« Reply #9 on: Dec 19th, 2007, 12:06pm »
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I confirm, I am alone in my practice area as a patent agent. That is, at my current firm, and at all previous firms, I have been the only patent agent under the supervision of the attorneys who review my work. At my current firm, other patent agents work in offices in other cities. Thus, in a sense, I have always been an army of one.
 
I wonder if "Dntblvvrythngnthntrnt" is an attorney or a patent agent.  Many attorneys believe that their firm is a special place for patent agents. The more vehemently the attorneys hold that belief, the more false is that belief.  Such attorneys say "I am attorney, hear me roar, I'm in charge damn it and I say this firm is a wonderful place for patent agents! ... now secretary, listen carefully, I need you to concentrate on the work that I give you despite any consequences that may have on the work the patent agent gives you ... I am attorney, hear me roar, I'm in charge damn it! ... and patent agent, why do I keep getting these pesky docket reminders for matters that are satisfied? ... doesn't someone mind your docket control sheets? ... can't you even get your secretary to mind your docket control sheets? ... what's wrong with you? ... you don't seem to be fitting in here ..."
 
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