Intellectual Property Forums (http://www.intelproplaw.com/Forum/Forum.cgi)

(Message started by: Jinyu Liu on Jul 18th, 2005, 1:44pm)

Title: master of intectual property for non-law scientist
Post by Jinyu Liu on Jul 18th, 2005, 1:44pm
I would like to find a list of schools that offer master of intectual property for non-law graduates such as scientists or engineers etc. I know the Franklin Pierce Law Center provides a one-year program. Are there similiar programs in anywhere else? Any hint will be appreciated.

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Eliz on Jul 18th, 2005, 1:49pm
Wash U offers an MJS program.  

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Jinyu Liu on Jul 18th, 2005, 2:31pm
Thanks a lot. Will a master degree in IP significantly increase my chance of getting into the patent agent field? I have a Ph.D. in Biophysics and several years research experience and I am planning to pass the IP exam in the coming months.

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Eliz on Jul 18th, 2005, 3:26pm
I will be interested to see what others have to say on this.

It probably depends somewhat on the geographical area...in places where patent agents are in high demand, it may help.  But in areas where patent agents are not commonly hired, I doubt that having a masters will help much.  

A few points to consider:

1.  These masters programs are fairly new and not very common.  You will have to explain to pretty much EVERYONE what exactly the program is (including the JD students and at least some of the people interviewing you for jobs).  Since these masters degrees are not a widespread thing, I am not sure how much employers will value them.    

2.  I don't know about Franklin Pierce, but there isn't really any merit-based financial aid available at Wash U for their MJS program.  Hence, the program is expensive.  If that's a concern for you, you may be better off financially (or it may wind up being about the same in terms of cost) just doing a JD...with a PhD you should be able to get at least some scholarship help.

3.  If they tell you that transferring your credits to the JD program won't be a problem if you decide you want to get a JD, get it in writing....otherwise it could turn into a big hassle if you decide that's what you want to do.  Also realize that other law schools might not be very open to transferring those credits towards a JD.  

I went into the MJS program with the expectation that it wasn't necessarily something that would help me land a great job.  But it was a good option for me at the time, because after grad school, I didn't want to invest another 3 years in law school without knowing for SURE that it was what I wanted to do.  Plus, I was pretty burnt out and didn't want to start full-time law school right away.  The MJS program helped me figure out that I did want to get a JD, and I am now starting law school in the fall.  

Hope that helps!

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Anon on Jul 18th, 2005, 4:14pm

on 07/18/05 at 15:26:44, Eliz wrote:
If they tell you that transferring your credits to the JD program won't be a problem if you decide you want to get a JD, get it in writing....otherwise it could turn into a big hassle if you decide that's what you want to do.  Also realize that other law schools might not be very open to transferring those credits towards a JD.  



Eliz,

I would have figured that ABA requirements prohibit pre-JD credits from transferring into a JD program.  Will your credits transfer?

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Eliz on Jul 18th, 2005, 6:31pm
It's unclear as of yet.  The rule says "Credit for a J.D. degree shall only be given for course work taken after the student has matriculated in a law school. A law school may not grant credit toward the J.D. degree for work taken in a pre-admission program."  From the language, it's pretty clearly intended to apply to classes taken at a non-law school (e.g. in a pre-law program at an undergrad institution), not classes taken at an accredited law school with JD students.  I am still pursuing this, so I don't want to post a ton of info about the situation until it is resolved.  I just wanted to make sure that Jinyu knew that transferring credits might not be as easy as the people trying to recruit him/her into a program might say (I was told it wouldn't be a problem).  

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Jinyu Liu on Jul 18th, 2005, 7:57pm
Eliz,

Thank you very much for your kind reply. It helps me to make a more wise decision.  

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Anon on Jul 18th, 2005, 10:09pm

on 07/18/05 at 18:31:04, Eliz wrote:
I just wanted to make sure that Jinyu knew that transferring credits might not be as easy as the people trying to recruit him/her into a program might say (I was told it wouldn't be a problem).  



Eliz,

Thanks much for the reply.  I looked into a similar IP program (also offered through a law school) a few years ago.  At least at that time, the masters courses (even those offered to JD students) were not transferable into that school's JD program when taken pre-JD.  Anyway, I hope things turn out better for your situation.


Jinyu,

I was a patent agent (and before that a patent examiner) for several years before finally committing to law school.  Based on my experience, I suggest that you either:  (a) start law school as soon as you can, or (b) find some other line of work.  I could elaborate, but it's late and I'm ready for bed.   If you really want to hear more, let me know and I'll try to post again another day.

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by eric stasik on Jul 19th, 2005, 1:22am

on 07/18/05 at 22:09:48, Anon wrote:
Jinyu,

I was a patent agent (and before that a patent examiner) for several years before finally committing to law school.  Based on my experience, I suggest that you either:  (a) start law school as soon as you can, or (b) find some other line of work.  I could elaborate, but it's late and I'm ready for bed.   If you really want to hear more, let me know and I'll try to post again another day.


Anon's comment reminds me the "advice" I received from another US patent attorney who said "If you're not a lawyer, you have no future in this business." Two years after hearing this, said US patent was subordinate to me - a non-lawyer patent engineer.

The thing is this: both he and Anon are right. If you want to work as a patent attorney, then not being an attorney is a hinder. But this is the view of a patent attorney who sees the patent business as primarily a legal matter. For the past century, it was true that the business of patents was confined to the musty, dusty desks of attorneys.

But the business is changing. Whilst still being legal documents, patents today involve much more than than legal issues and to many businesses patents are central to success. With some exception, patent attorneys are experts in patent law and civil procedure. This expertise is of course essential to the business of patents. But the business of patents requires a great deal more than simply knowledge of the law.

In my job as a consultant, I describe myself as a patent engineer, but what I do is business development. I don't write or prosecute patents, I help clients develop patent strategies that support their business goals. In other words, I don't file patents, I help them decide what patents to file. This is a completely different role than that of a patent attorney.

If you want to work in a law department, or in a law firm, as a patent agent then you will always be a second class citizen. Outside the law department, there are numerous opportunities for "non-lawyers" in the patent business and there will be more.

A masters of IP law seems to me like a waste of time for a non-lawyer to pursue. That sort of expertise is a dime a dozen (well, several hundred dollars per hour, but there is no shortage of people available to hire.) What you should pursue is a MBA with a focus on finance and business development.

I expect that before too long specialized MBA-IPR programs will be developed, but for the moment, I am not aware of any worth the effort. London University has a program that they call MBA-IPR, but it focuses mostly on patent law and isn't really that interesting for someone who is already a patent agent.

Anyway, do not be discouraged by patent attorneys who insist that you have to be an attorney to make a career in patents. You do not.

Good luck,

Eric Stasik

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Jinyu Liu on Jul 19th, 2005, 1:29pm
Thanks to everyone who replies my message. I really appreciate it. Basically I have had the conclusion that a master of IP is not a very good chose for getting into patent agent field. Hope people who are new to this field and have similiar thoughts as me can read the messages in here as well.

Jinyu

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by MING CHIEH CHANG on Jul 19th, 2005, 5:28pm
My dissenting comment.

MIP helps me in fully understanding court (patent) cases.  If I would ever want to go for JD that's because I want to be a patent attorney rather than a patent agent (practitioner under "limited recognition").  I don't expect my knowledge and understanding of patent law will improve by getting a JD degree.  My situation is different in that I was familiar with US patent law and had a lot of patent prosecution experience prior to getting my MIP.  I am not sure, however, whether it matters exposing to patent practice prior to exposing to law education.  I do believe patent law is only a very small area of law where technical background and prosecution expertise matter a lot.

Peter Chang

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Eliz on Jul 19th, 2005, 6:13pm
Peter--Do you think that the masters increases the chances of getting a patent agent job?  If I understand you correctly, you already had a job, and then got the masters.  Also, if you don't mind my asking, I am curious as to whether your employer paid for your degree, and whether you got any sort of reward (other than just a better understanding of the subject matter) upon completion of the degree.  I guess what I am getting at is what kind of value your employer placed on the degree.  

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Ming Chieh Chang on Jul 19th, 2005, 9:52pm
My company sponsered my MIP.  And, without pursuing the degree (out of my own initiative), I probably will not be working under H-1B visa here and be eligible for and pass the exam.  Any value would be personal though.

Peter Chang

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Jinyu Liu on Jul 19th, 2005, 10:55pm
Peter-- Do you mind if I ask what school you attended to obtain your MIP? Do you have a JD before you went to complete your MIP? If I understand you correctly, your MIP helped you to get your current job? Thanks,

Jinyu  

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by larkas on Jul 20th, 2005, 4:25pm
The John Marshall Law School in Chicago is suppose to be starting one. No information on it from the web site, but I know it has been approved of by faculty since I was a student and hear things through the g****vine. It could be a year or so before it gets off the ground.

Under the proposal, masters of science in intellectual property law would share many, if not all, of its classes with the LLM program in IP. This has some advantages and disadvantages. For one thing, the classes should be able to be used for JD degree -- no official word though, probably because the mentioned ABA rule. However, you may be at a disadvantage since most of the class will be attorneys or JD students.

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Anon on Jul 20th, 2005, 5:02pm
If money is not an object, have a look at the LLM program offered through MIPLC in Munich...
http://www.miplc.de/index.htm

Note that, unlike LLM programs offered in the US, holding a JD is not a prerequisite for admission to this program....
http://www.miplc.de/admissions.htm

But I still stand by my earlier comments:  If you are serious about practicing IP law, bite the bullet and start your JD as soon as you can.  I only wish I had done so long ago.

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Eliz on Jul 20th, 2005, 5:03pm
Just an FYI...In the classes I took--all upper level law school classes with JD and LLM students--I did not find myself to be at a disadvantage at all.  I was worried that I would be at a disadvantage because I hadn't had any of the first year law classes, but it turned out not to be an issue.  There were a few times I had to look up legal terms or ask the prof a question that I might not have needed to ask had I had the background of a JD or LLM student, but in general, it was not a problem.  I did very well in my classes, which I think was mostly attributable to the fact that I had already been through a Ph.D. program.   There are plenty of reasons why someone with Jinyu's background might not want to pursue a masters degree, but I would be suprised if someone of his/her background could not handle the classes.  

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Jonathan on Jul 21st, 2005, 11:33am
New master degree program specifically designed for patent agents:

http://www.webster.edu/gradcatalog/patent_agency.html

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Eliz on Jul 21st, 2005, 12:45pm
I heard an ad for the webster program on the radio the other day and had meant to look at it online, but forgot until I saw your post just now.  Interesting, but I am wondering how useful it would be given that Webster is not a very well known school (at least not nationally) and does not have a law school...i.e. to be blunt, I wonder what the quality of teaching is, and even if it is excellent, I am wondering how law firms would view the program.  It would be interesting to see who is teaching the courses, but that info does not seem to be on the website (at least not yet).  

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by susan Qi on Jul 21st, 2005, 1:13pm
How can you get admitted into LLM without any law degree?
This is the addmission requirement for Wash U LLM:
"Students must either have graduated from an accredited U.S. law school or have an undergraduate law degree or its equivalent from a foreign institution of higher education. "

Thanks in advance for answering.

Susan

Title: Re: master of intectual property for non-law scien
Post by Eliz on Jul 21st, 2005, 1:46pm