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

(Message started by: BioGeek on Jun 5th, 2007, 11:22pm)

Title: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by BioGeek on Jun 5th, 2007, 11:22pm
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 donít 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.  ;)

Title: Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by phil.gs on Jun 8th, 2007, 6:48pm
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!

Title: Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by BioGeek on Jun 8th, 2007, 9:52pm
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.

Title: Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by apiradee on Sep 3rd, 2007, 10:28am
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

Title: Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by biopico on Sep 3rd, 2007, 3:19pm
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.  



Title: Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by bob sanders on Sep 3rd, 2007, 4:45pm
I hope you wont be able to take the patent bar. If every F-1 visa holder in the US went into patent law, the salaries would  
plummet. Since you got a free education courtesy the US tax payer, you should at the very least

1. Go back home
2. Work in the area you were trained.

Title: Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by Isaac on Sep 4th, 2007, 10:32pm

on 09/03/07 at 16:45:27, bob sanders wrote:
Since you got a free education courtesy the US tax payer


What did he say that indicates that his education was free or paid for with taxpayer money?

Title: Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by still_studying on Sep 5th, 2007, 6:34am

on 06/05/07 at 23:22:19, BioGeek wrote:
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?

There have been quite a few job postings on this board for agents/attorneys with a biotech background;  you might try contacting them.  Also look on the major job boards such as Monster.  I'd say the market looks healthy.  No idea about postdocs.


Quote:
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 currently an Alien student with temporary visa (F1), but I will have one-year training period (OPT) after graduate.

There have been several discussions on the board about aliens taking the patent bar already.  The consensus seems to be that, on a nonimmigrant visa, you won't be allowed to take the patent bar unless you are already employed by a firm as a technical specialist.  Also, you would only be granted "limited recognition" for the duration of your employment while in the U.S., not full registration.

Title: Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by IP4me on Sep 6th, 2007, 8:40pm
Tough question.  I worked as a technical specialist for a year and took the patent bar while working and also studied for the LSAT.  This worked well for me.

Getting a high LSAT is very important to getting into a top law school.  Prepare early and often.

Title: Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by Manfred on Sep 9th, 2007, 4:56pm

on 09/04/07 at 22:32:23, Isaac wrote:
What did he say that indicates that his education was free or paid for with taxpayer money?


Almost without exception, PhD tuition in the chemical, biological and physical sciences is paid by universities through NIH type grants. The theory is that there is a critical shortage of people in these fields and hence the influx of low paid foreign scientists. The reality is that academics just want cheap labor and dont give a hoot about the general job market. They could create 'real staff scientist jobs' but that would imply giving a credible status to their workers. It's much better to have people who will be deported if they dont work hard enough (pretty much the deal in most pharmaceutical companies today as well).


Title: Re: PhD in Biochemistry switching to patent agent
Post by biopico on Sep 9th, 2007, 5:18pm
Well, foreign scientists are also invited here in the US for their talents.



Powered by YaBB 1 Gold - SP 1.3.2!
Forum software copyright © 2000-2004 Yet another Bulletin Board