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 91 
 on: 03-22-17 at 12:28 pm 
Started by enkagent - Last post by ex-aminer?
IMO, a patent agent only makes sense as patent law bootcamp and a resume builder for a patent atty job.  Maybe working part-time during law school.

You have two major patent-based jobs that are opposite sides of the coin: patent atty vs patent examiner.  There have been many discussions, some my own, of the relative benefits of both.  Assuming a sharp person who could excel at either job, it comes down to Work/Life/Flexiblity vs. Pure $$$. 

To me, an agent doesn't fully reap the benefit of either. 

The straight dope on average base salaries (as far as Glassdoor is concerned) is Patent Atty: $143k, Primary Examiner: $122k, and Patent Agt: $103k.

Now this is base salary, and the bonus for patent attys is usually significant, but I'd guess the average non-partner pulls down $160-200k a year, working 8-10 straight hours as noted above.  A lot of the allure for the atty route is the golden pot of honey called "partner", but it's a giant pyramid scheme and also relies on some luck.

Primaries make more too through overtime.  This really just translates into more quality cases preformed.  Its a lot like inellectual piecework.  As a primary and some OT a week, $160k can be had without the gruelling constant work above.  Flexibility and Autonomy are unparalleled for a Primary, but you'll never be "ballin'" with the cash ceiling.  Work from home sealed the deal for me.  I had been 99% sure I was headed to Law School after a couple of years of experience.

Now a Patent Agent has none of the flexibility, work/life, or lower stress of the Primary.  At the same time, while I'm sure it's possible to bust your ass at a large firm and maybe make 200k, it would be disheartening to know you could have made 50% more with the same effort (that's just throwing out a guess).  I would guess that a significant majority of Primaries out-earn Agents.  The important thing to note is it would take about 5 years to become Primary (assuming you're a good examiner).

After 15 years, the questions I would ask is how much do you work, how much do you get paid, how is your work/life, are you stressed?   I strongly believe the ONLY benefit of becoming an agent over an examiner is that you would probably be paid more the starting few years.  I can't think of another benefit.

I've also found "pure engineers" to not always pick up what it takes to be an efficient quality examiner.  Being an efficient quality Atty is even more difficult.  This is something to consider as well as far as staying put.

My experienced is based on 10 yrs at the PTO, knowing several examiners as well as examiners-gone-private, and chatting with current attys during interviews.  Currently have a friend who went private and came back. 

One disclaimer about my adoration for the Primary position is that I work in the mechanical arts.  I can't really speak for EE.   That being said EEs are very in demand. I think with a masters they could offer you a GS-9.  With one half-year accelerated promotion, you could be a GS-12 and work from home in 1.5-2 years.  Assumes ass kicking at the job.  Experiences vary.

 92 
 on: 03-22-17 at 12:17 pm 
Started by hokieExpress - Last post by Tobmapsatonmi
As an aside, I don't think recruiters usually want to work with noobs.  I don't think they have anything against them, necessarily. 

It's because the recruiting business model is getting paid a % of the position's salary by the firm/corp for bringing them the eventual newhire.  And right now, unless there's some wildly narrow field they need, I don't think firms generally are having any trouble finding fresh grads on their own.


 93 
 on: 03-22-17 at 12:08 pm 
Started by hokieExpress - Last post by Tobmapsatonmi
Never heard of them but looked them up just now (Vanguard Intellectual Partners, LLC by the way, not "Vanguard IP" which is a small patent agent firm in Canada).

I have to say this is the first time I've ever been through a headhunter website and not been able to identify a single person by name.  It's all just "we do this" and "we do that". 

Just my opinion, but that sort of thing reeks of part timer or fly-by-night. 

 94 
 on: 03-22-17 at 10:44 am 
Started by EDCGadgetGeek - Last post by Robert K S
I can't find a patent on the Gomboc but something makes me think there might be one since they sell for several hundred dollars.  Not bad for a homogeneous solid.

Here is a related doodad but it's not a Gomboc, actually.

I agree that a Gomboc would be better described using functional claiming than drawings, but actually, it doesn't even require functional claiming.  I think it would be enough to claim "a convex three-dimensional homogeneous body which, when resting on a flat surface, has exactly one stable and one unstable point of equilibrium".

 95 
 on: 03-22-17 at 10:15 am 
Started by EDCGadgetGeek - Last post by fewyearsin
Hmmm, there's a solid shape that is unusual in that no matter how you put it down on a flat surface, it always rolls to a specific position with one part on the bottom.  It has something to do with the center of gravity and the various faces & edges.  (Sorry, I tried to find a picture of it, but Google is not cooperating.)

Anyway, I wonder if it would be sufficient to claim it as "a shape that, when placed on a flat surface in any orientation, always rolls to have a predetermined side down."  I think they found the shape by genetic programming or exhaustive search or something, but I'm not sure whether they proved that there was only one such shape.

Edit: Found it!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6mb%C3%B6c

This may be a job for functional claiming - just make sure your specification is sufficiently thorough in its explanation of how the function will be achieved.

 96 
 on: 03-22-17 at 10:13 am 
Started by JamesO - Last post by fewyearsin
Answer the question that the Examiner poses (albeit indirectly) - what does your shape do that the traditional shape doesn't?  Is their reduced parasitic capacitance?  Improved electron/hole mobility?  Reduced light interference? 

Basically, the Examiner is saying that, in his view, picking any old shape would have been obvious because they all would function the same.  So explain in your response why your shape is more than just an arbitrary shape, but is chosen for a specific, functional purpose, one that is not recognized in the prior art.

Less effective, but try pointing out that there are basically an infinite number of possible shapes, and thus that your selection would not have been obvious (citing KSR and related reasoning).

 97 
 on: 03-22-17 at 05:15 am 
Started by JamesO - Last post by JamesO
I was wondering if some of you could help me out with the problem I'm encountering now with an Office action.

I’m working on a semiconductor device. The device has the normal substrate, gate structure, and source/drain regions. There is also a barrier layer surrounding each source/drain region.

In the previous response, we amended the claims to recite a specific shape of each of the barrier structures, as well as the relative shape of each of the barrier structures to the substrate and the corresponding source/drain region.

In this Final Rejection, the Examiner states that these specifics related to the shape of the barrier structures, etc. “have little patentable weight because it has been held that where the only difference between the prior art and the claims was a recitation of relative size or shape of the claimed device, and a device having the claimed relative size or shape would not perform differently than the prior art device, the claimed device was not patentably distinct from the prior art device (MPEP 2144.04) and it would have been obvious that a mere change in shape of a component is generally recognized as being within the level of ordinary skill in the art.”

https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s2144.html

With these semiconductor applications, what we always do is amend the claims to recite differences in shape, relative positions of elements, etc. And this is how these applications are usually allowed. This is the first such rejection and so I'm not sure how best to approach/argue against the examiner's position.


 98 
 on: 03-22-17 at 04:17 am 
Started by Patentstudent - Last post by Patentstudent
Warren, you "hijacked" my post for your question.  :)
It's o.k.

You can attach all the drawings you want/need to the application and discuss the structure and function and define the elements of the invented device/apparatus in the specification.
You can then use the terms as defined in the spec to refer to and claim the relevant features of the device/apparatus.



 99 
 on: 03-22-17 at 01:40 am 
Started by EDCGadgetGeek - Last post by mersenne
Hmmm, there's a solid shape that is unusual in that no matter how you put it down on a flat surface, it always rolls to a specific position with one part on the bottom.  It has something to do with the center of gravity and the various faces & edges.  (Sorry, I tried to find a picture of it, but Google is not cooperating.)

Anyway, I wonder if it would be sufficient to claim it as "a shape that, when placed on a flat surface in any orientation, always rolls to have a predetermined side down."  I think they found the shape by genetic programming or exhaustive search or something, but I'm not sure whether they proved that there was only one such shape.

Edit: Found it!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6mb%C3%B6c

 100 
 on: 03-22-17 at 01:13 am 
Started by enkagent - Last post by bluerogue
Cutting to the chase, I want to know whether it's possible to hold ~40-hour work weeks, as a patent agent with only occasional need to work late nights/weekends....assuming the firm uses the flat-fee model.  Or is this totally unrealistic?  (I'm not seeing many "in-house" listings for patent agents, but seeing quite a bit of patent trainee positions at law-firms)

That was fairly realistic for the patent agents at the biglaw firm I worked at, but you were also the first to be let go if work dried up and you were largely considered a second class citizen compared to the associates.  Pay 10 years ago was around 100k and your billables were 1800 hours.  I've had friends work for places where you worked more on a commission schedule.  It can vary quite a bit depending on where you go. 

In house listings for patent agents is very, very low.  TI used to do it, but have farmed out most of the work.  It's far more cost efficient to farm out the work than to hire folks to draft in house due to the greater difficulty of letting permanent employees go via layoffs etc.  Plus, most in house drafting positions are being filled by patent attorneys.  I've got former biglaw friends who are doing that.  Years ago, the expectation of in house was 30 patent apps written/year + associated responses and additional responses as patents were examined.

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