Intellectual Property Forums (

(Message started by: Janice on Jul 15th, 2006, 9:49am)

Title: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by Janice on Jul 15th, 2006, 9:49am

I'm so glad that I've found this forum.  I've been thinking about switching careers from a being a cancer research scientist to becoming a Patent Agent/Tech Specialist/Attorney.  I was wondering if anybody has experience in such a transition or advice on how to start this transition.  I do not have any experience in patent law so I'm afraid that many of the jobs out there want experienced people.  

I have a Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Genetics, and I've been working as a postdoctoral fellow for the last year.  My plan is to take the patent bar exam in December so at least I'll have that my resume.  Due to my personal situation, I will be relocating in a year to either New York, Chicago, Boston, or San Francisco (depending on my husband's job).  I want to start off as a patent agent for two years so I can save money and have a second child before starting law school (I'm 31 and the clock is ticking.).  

Basically, I was wondering if I have a chance to get a patent agent job at a law firm without any experience.  I live in a rural town so right now finding someone to job shadow nearby is impossible.  Also, I know that we will be moving in a year, so should I start sending out my resume now or wait until I have taken the patent bar exam in December?  I'm not sure if it is wise to start applying a year in advance.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by Bill Richards on Jul 15th, 2006, 10:45am
Based upon your background (bio), you should have no trouble finding a job.  Not being an attorney might be a slight problem, but I've seen firms that hire agents in the bio area while they go to law school.
I got a job at a major regional law firm at age 56 and no legal experience.  I had just passed the patent bar and the state bar.  My background is ChE.  You can contact me off-line if you want more info.

Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by G on Jul 15th, 2006, 8:43pm
I am currently a tech specialist. I will be a patent attorney soon.  I wish, I went to fulltime law school.

Working fulltime as a tech specialist and going to law school at night is very hard especially when you have family and kids.

Firms pay big paychecks even to fresh law graduates! If you do the math, it may not make economic sense to work fulltime as a tech specialist.  

If I were you, I would go to law school first.  You will have lots of time! If you get a summer intern job in firms, you can use your summer salary to pay for your tuition.  With law degree, you will have lots of options, not just patent law.

Good luck!  

Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by Janice on Jul 16th, 2006, 2:10pm
Thanks Bill and G for your responses!

I'm glad to hear that there are opportunities for a person with my experience (or lack of) at a law firm.  I would love to go to law school first, but I feel that I should have some more patent experience.  When I do go to law school, I will go full-time.  I don't think that I will have the energy for a full-time job, part-time school, and a family with 2 kids under 5.  Thank you for the advice on the summer jobs too.  I will definitely look into that when the time comes.

Any advice on when I should start applying to law firms for an available start date Sept. 2007?  

Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by Gin on Jul 18th, 2006, 12:52pm
Hi Janice!

I just wanted to let you know that I am in the same boat as you...have a Ph.D in Moleuclar Biology.  I, too, am interested in entering the field of law.  I have seen job postings looking for patent scientists/examiner (not patent agents) for firms as well as the United States Patents and Trademark Office.  I would suggest to you, apply for those positions when you see them, as well as contacting law firms near you to see if they can give you some insights into this process.  

These sugguestions are ones that I am doing.  Whether it is good or not, it is definitely a start.  

Good luck to you.  If I know anything new, I will let you know!!


Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by smokie on Jul 26th, 2006, 5:49pm
Hello Janice,
I am in almost the same position as you (minus the husband and kids) and have the same questions too.  I have a Ph.D. in Molecular Biol. and studied cancer as a doctoral student - though I elected not to do a post doc as I figured out that patent law was the field I wanted to be in.
I started applying for jobs after I graduated and have not had any appreciable luck 2 solid months into the search.  I have decided that the I could most productively use my time by studying for and than taking the paten bar exam while I am job searching.  I am hopeful that passing the bar will make me more competative.  
I would suggest that you start making contacts in the IP field NOW!  The more you are on the net searching and finding information the better prepared you will be for a serious job search.  If you come across some patent agents/lawyers (particularily partners) who are also Ph.D.'s you might consider sending them an e-mail explaining a bit of your background and asking them for advice.  I have done this and come across some very lovely and helpful people; the added benefit being that they may remember you, when you decide it is the right time to send around your resume, and be willing to give it more that a passing glance.
Also, you might want to start looking in advance for internship opportunities with big firms - this may be a way in!  I have not come across any specific internships for Tech. Advisors but have found from talking to people in the field that if the timing was right some would consider having us as interns right along with there usual summer law school batch.  You could e-mail around and see what sort of response you get.  Also, if you are comfortable with that sort of thing - just cold call some lawyers and see how far you get.  Some lawyers don't mind talking to you and others would just rather you go away!!
Here's a word of encouragement though - you, unlike myself, found this great site and forum well before you need to go looking for a job.  This can only help.
Best Wishes

P.S.:  please pardon and spelling mistakes - I often type very fast :)

Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by Janice on Jul 26th, 2006, 7:30pm
Thanks Gin and Smokie for posting your advice!  I wish you both good luck in obtaining jobs in patent law too.   :)

I am just beginning to gather study materials for the patent bar exam.  I did find some job openings, but I feel it's too early to apply.  I will definitely network in the IP field while I am eagerly waiting to move on.  I'll also look into the internships.  I would happy with any opportunity for patent experience.  Thanks again for your comments and encouragement!


Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by smokie on Jul 27th, 2006, 3:29pm
Hey Janice,
Thanks for the good wishes.  I think we could all do with atleast some good if not great luck  :D
By the way, are you looking into any particular courses to study for the patent bar or are you going to try studying by yourself using the MPEP?  I ask because I am thinking of purchasing Jim Longacre's Pass The Patent Bar home study course and wanted to know if you have heard anything about it.
For that matter, has anyone else an opinion or advise on these types of courses?

Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by Janice on Jul 27th, 2006, 5:33pm
I'm planning on either the Longacre home study course or the online Omniprep course.  I'm leaning towards Omniprep because it is cheaper and there is a guarantee and flexible study schedules.  The only disadvantage I see is that you don't get any paper copies of the MPEP or their study guides.  At least I didn't see that they send you this material.  I would like to take notes on paper, but I guess I could always print out the material.  

I hope this helps you, Smokie!

Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by Global IP on Jul 27th, 2006, 10:24pm
I'll give a plug to Longacre.  I attended his live course and used his study guide to move from 40-50% on practice exams to 80% +.  I passed the Patent Bar on my first attempt.  The price is reasonable in comparison to most.

Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by smokie on Jul 28th, 2006, 10:11am
Thanks for your input guys.  I think I will be going with the Longacre course.  As a complete newbie to the field of patent law I will need all the help I can get.
Janice - if, for you, the price is a REALLY BIG issue go for the Omniprep course BUT if you can sqeeze together some more money, think about the Longacre course.  I have looked around a lot and next to Professor Klayton (?) this guy has the best reputation - and his course is less than 1/2 the price of Klayton's (although a 1000 bucks in nothing to sneeze at).  I read somewhere on this forum that 'you get what you pay for' as far as these courses are concerned.  I do believe you get paper copies of study guides and MPEP.  
This is ofcourse not a plug for anyone course over another - just my humble opinion  :)

Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by Ronan on Aug 13th, 2006, 6:07pm
Hi Guys,

im also glad ive found this forum. Im in a similar position to Janice as regards qualifications and experience. My question is that can i still take the patent Bar exam if i have a B.S in Genetics from a college outside of the US. I also have a M.S in Biotechnology from UPENN and 3 years research experience. I guess im asking will they allow me to take this exam with these qualifications and experience??

Also what is the best (and least expensive) prep-course to take??

Thanks alot for the help guys.


Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by jd78605w on Aug 13th, 2006, 10:57pm
check out the general requirements bulletin pdf at the following USPTO link to examine your eligibility to take the exam.

If you have further questions, feel free to call the USPTO - OED. The attorneys there will be able to provide you more specific information.

Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by Ronan McDaid on Aug 15th, 2006, 8:00pm
Can any of you guys recommend a good prep-course for the patent Bar??


Title: Re: Patent Agent/Tech Specialist Experience Wanted
Post by gforrest on Aug 17th, 2006, 2:50pm

on 07/26/06 at 19:30:16, Janice wrote:
I would happy with any opportunity for patent experience.

Don't overlook corporations that patent in the area of your expertise. Some have in-house legal departments that have an IP group. They do some of their IP work in house and some with firms. The company I work for has an internal legal IP group that works in conjunction with external firms.

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