First time poster here: I am very curious about patent law and was pushed into pursuing that after my naval career. After some research I was a bit discouraged after reading about advanced degrees in life sciences being necessary. How true is this? And what would my life be like after law school with my current credentials and what are some recommendations to make myself more marketable?
- BS in Biology 3.0, intended to go to med school prior to military
- 12 years as a Navy SEAL, still active
- damn good at video games haha, also pursuing fixtion writing
First of all, thank you for your service, and good on you for exploring other options.
That being said: do you really think you want to go from being a door kicking badass SOB, to living with your face in front of a computer screen and stuck in technical documents all day, trying to discern the subtlest distinctions, arguing with inane bureaucrats on the phone, and trying to learn the infinitely nuanced art of employing language in a fashion that takes into account all kinds of bizarre and often arbitrary legal considerations? Do you like dealing with eccentric, if not downright crazy people who are overly anxious about their wonderful brainchildren? Some of whom will try and direct your work, get in your way, submit crucial documents to you way too late, not care about deadlines, require massive amounts of hand-holding, and otherwise mess with your sleep and your time?
(Many inventors fit this description).
As a patent agent of two years, I would trade places with you in a HEARTBEAT. I used to work as a bouncer at a lot of volatile clubs, and only left it behind reluctantly. I am still planning on enlisting, hopefully ASAP, before I get too old and sickly and cranky for it.
Patent law can be a very fun challenge: don't get me wrong. There is something thrilling and combative about arguing back and forth with Examiners, something fascinating about learning the politics and psychology of all this, and also something gratifying in competently naming, describing, and otherwise conveying complex and difficult concepts and ideas. In comparison to the life you lead right now, however, it could very well be an anticlimactic and tedious thing to transition into. Lastly: as others have said, a B.S. in biology is going to be a tough sell. I have a Master's in philosophy, and did the Cat B, Option 2 equivalency route for biological science. My experience has been, even with a warm connection who got me working in the first place, that I am essentially a bottom of the totem pole non-entity. Bear in mind that I HAVE made use of every ounce of creativity, strength, ingenuity and passion that I have at my disposal in arguing about complex bioscience inventions. It has been a wonderful opportunity, and I've been at various junctures flattered by the praise I've received from people who are far more skilled, knowledgeable and smart than me.
Also bear in mind that I have HAD to work other jobs while I've done patent prosecution thus far, even while being in school for further technical credentials at the same time, and I am only now transitioning into a niche where I might stand a chance to make a good living . . . but only if I am super proactive and am able to hustle up the work from solo practitioners who are in desperate need of a drafting assistant. Even then, it's a hustle and a major if, unless I really want it and put myself out there. I'm talking about attending conferences, business cards, shaking hands, etc., and contenting myself to dealing with a wide range of personalities, for whom I would essentially fulfill the function of a time-saving tool. The second I start taking up their time, instead of saving it? I'm dogmeat.
If you go to law school first, you will stand a better chance -- without a connection, though, you may or may not stand a chance. Unless this is really your thing, or you are just doggedly persistent (as a an AD SEAL, I'd imagine you're fully capable of mustering this last virtue).
PLEASE ask yourself this first, though: is this something that you really want to do? I fell into it, and enjoy the challenge to a real degree, but what I wouldn't give to be in your shoes, fighting shoulder to shoulder with people who would gladly take a bullet for me, no question.
Please understand that the world of patent law is NOT a place full of people who would gladly stick it out in a foxhole with you. There are some very kind and gracious personalities I've met, to be certain, but please know that a senior attorney who might supervise your work would just as likely rather place you in a foxhole, watch you wear yourself out fighting his enemies, and laugh his ass off while eating cheetos, staring out at you with the high-powered telescope he helped to patent from the balcony of his beachside condo. He would also likely complain when you didn't kill them good enough, even when you were mortally wounded. "You think my client cares about your fleshwounds?"
Is this a world you want to be a part of?