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Author Topic: CS vs. CE vs. EE Demand in Patent Prosecution? Litigation?  (Read 1138 times)

pricon

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Prelude: I am brand new to this forum and have also posted this to Top Law Schools.

Does anyone know about any distinctions in demand between computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering backgrounds of those with a JD? Can we throw in whether the jobs are mostly in prosecution or litigation within each, if applicable?

My uneducated and initial reactions to jobs searches reflect that software (CS) is most in demand, leaning toward prosecution, with the generalist EE being just as valuable, and CE perhaps being a close second. There seems to be more demand for all three degrees in prosecution vs. litigation. When it comes to litigation, all distinctions between these three are thrown out and the school prestige becomes paramount, and I am less confused by that.

The reason I ask is because I am considering getting a masters in one of the above subjects, but I am more interested in computer engineering than the other two. Would a demand for software expertise in patent law be so much greater than for hardware to warrant someone less interested in software to pursue it anyway? The answer to this question should have two different answers for prosecution and litigation. For litigation, I would doubt the question matters at all.
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pricon

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Re: CS vs. CE vs. EE Demand in Patent Prosecution? Litigation?
« Reply #1 on: 09-29-17 at 12:58 pm »

A follow-up is my default path right now is to go to a T10 school with a chemical engineering degree and keeping my options open to patent litigation and all non-patent legal jobs. My current consideration is getting a CE master's (or bachelor's?), based on my interests, and going to a lower ranked law school for much, much less debt and pursuing CE patent prosecution as a career.
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MYK

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Re: CS vs. CE vs. EE Demand in Patent Prosecution? Litigation?
« Reply #2 on: 09-30-17 at 12:29 am »

Have you taken the LSAT yet?  How do you know you can get into a T10?

In my experience, the demand (in the context of patent law) for software engineers is much lower than the demand for hardware engineers.  However, from what people have written here in the past, with a bachelor's in Chem Eng, you'll be seen as a Chem Eng applicant, not a Comp Eng applicant, because you got a master's in CE rather than a bachelor's.
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"The life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one."  Judge Giles Rich, Application of Ruschig, 379 F.2d 990.

Disclaimer: not only am I not a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer.  Therefore, this does not constitute legal advice.

pricon

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Re: CS vs. CE vs. EE Demand in Patent Prosecution? Litigation?
« Reply #3 on: 09-30-17 at 12:52 am »

I can't say for sure. I'd like to change "default" to "current." (Is that even different?)

Thank you for sharing that with me. I will do some reading on this site in the future.
« Last Edit: 09-30-17 at 12:55 am by pricon »
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UVAgal4

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Re: CS vs. CE vs. EE Demand in Patent Prosecution? Litigation?
« Reply #4 on: 10-02-17 at 03:04 am »

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say do what interests you the most. I am an EE (preference microelectronics) and currently doing mainly computer stuff/internet protocols and such, and I want to shoot myself.
Markets vary up and down, you can adapt if necessary.
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wildkrazyguy

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Re: CS vs. CE vs. EE Demand in Patent Prosecution? Litigation?
« Reply #5 on: 10-12-17 at 01:13 pm »

Software may be one court decision away from being deemed unpatentable, so just keep that in mind. Of course, this has been the case for 20 years, but the direction things are heading looks worse for software and not better. You will likely never have a problem finding a patent job if you have an EE background. In all likelihood, it doesnt make much difference. In my experience, patent divisions at firms are separated into pharmaceutical arts and engineering arts. They generally dont subdivide the engineering arts, so if you are in engineering you will be doing everything from computer hardware to microscopes to automotive components to medical devices to computer software. Again in my experience, firms generally dont care all that much what field of engineering you studied, since you will be doing everything. Of course, if you want to go in house at a place like Apple, for example, then they will probably want you to be more specialized (likely in EE or CS).

For litigation, it probably makes even less difference what your engineering background is. There are even a fair amount of litigators who do not have science or engineering backgrounds at all (you do not need to pass the patent bar to be a litigator).
« Last Edit: 10-12-17 at 01:19 pm by wildkrazyguy »
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PatentPros482

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Re: CS vs. CE vs. EE Demand in Patent Prosecution? Litigation?
« Reply #6 on: 10-13-17 at 11:45 am »

"Again in my experience, firms generally dont care all that much what field of engineering you studied, since you will be doing everything."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but firms/corps do seem to care about field of engineering when seeking to hire.  Once you're in the door, there is an expectation that you should be able to handle everything within your degree field, plus some technology outside that area if need be. 

I was speaking with the head of IP at a big corp recently about a job posting that they had.  The posting stipulated that an EE or CS degree was required.  He said that about 80%-90% of the applicants were MEs, Chem Es, bios, etc.  He admitted that these people could most likely handle the tech, and had impressive credentials (in many cases, more impressive than the credentials of the EE/CS applicants).  However, he couldn't take a risk on a non-EE/CS, so he just picked the best 3 EE/CS candidates to interview. 
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wildkrazyguy

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Re: CS vs. CE vs. EE Demand in Patent Prosecution? Litigation?
« Reply #7 on: 10-13-17 at 05:23 pm »

"Again in my experience, firms generally dont care all that much what field of engineering you studied, since you will be doing everything."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but firms/corps do seem to care about field of engineering when seeking to hire.  Once you're in the door, there is an expectation that you should be able to handle everything within your degree field, plus some technology outside that area if need be. 

I was speaking with the head of IP at a big corp recently about a job posting that they had.  The posting stipulated that an EE or CS degree was required.  He said that about 80%-90% of the applicants were MEs, Chem Es, bios, etc.  He admitted that these people could most likely handle the tech, and had impressive credentials (in many cases, more impressive than the credentials of the EE/CS applicants).  However, he couldn't take a risk on a non-EE/CS, so he just picked the best 3 EE/CS candidates to interview.

Like I said in the next sentence, "Of course, if you want to go in house at a place like Apple, for example, then they will probably want you to be more specialized (likely in EE or CS)." In-house positions  likely to be more picky regarding background than firms. Maybe boutique firms would differentiate more, since I know there are for example some boutique firms that specialize in specific fields.   
« Last Edit: 10-13-17 at 05:28 pm by wildkrazyguy »
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smgsmc

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Re: CS vs. CE vs. EE Demand in Patent Prosecution? Litigation?
« Reply #8 on: 10-13-17 at 08:20 pm »

"Again in my experience, firms generally dont care all that much what field of engineering you studied, since you will be doing everything."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but firms/corps do seem to care about field of engineering when seeking to hire.  Once you're in the door, there is an expectation that you should be able to handle everything within your degree field, plus some technology outside that area if need be. 

I was speaking with the head of IP at a big corp recently about a job posting that they had.  The posting stipulated that an EE or CS degree was required.  He said that about 80%-90% of the applicants were MEs, Chem Es, bios, etc.  He admitted that these people could most likely handle the tech, and had impressive credentials (in many cases, more impressive than the credentials of the EE/CS applicants).  However, he couldn't take a risk on a non-EE/CS, so he just picked the best 3 EE/CS candidates to interview.

Like I said in the next sentence, "Of course, if you want to go in house at a place like Apple, for example, then they will probably want you to be more specialized (likely in EE or CS)." In-house positions  likely to be more picky regarding background than firms. Maybe boutique firms would differentiate more, since I know there are for example some boutique firms that specialize in specific fields.
But even for less specialized boutiques or more general firms, though, I've never seen job posts for "any random engineering degree"; typically they will read, e.g, "EE, CS, or CE required" or "EE preferred, but physics with a device background will also be considered" .  At the firms I've worked at, associates and agents had their specialties, although they also took on work outside their specialties, depending on degree of difficulty and the overall workload:  a complex mechanical case would go to the ME guy, a complex electronic device case would go to the EE or physics guy, a social media case would go to anyone with a light docket.
« Last Edit: 10-14-17 at 07:12 am by smgsmc »
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wildkrazyguy

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Re: CS vs. CE vs. EE Demand in Patent Prosecution? Litigation?
« Reply #9 on: 10-16-17 at 01:27 pm »

Quote
But even for less specialized boutiques or more general firms, though, I've never seen job posts for "any random engineering degree";

A quick search of indeed.com for patent agent finds these on the front page:

"Bachelorís degree in a Science or Engineering discipline required"
 "a background in aerospace, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, computer engineer or similar background required."
"Degrees Ideal candidates will have a Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Bioengineering or a related advanced degree. "
"Education: Bachelor's in Engineering, preferably an advanced engineering degree."

There are also obviously some job postings that want specific degrees.  I guess firms are organized differently-- in the few that I have worked at, I couldnt even name the degree of most people I worked with (all PhD holders), just whether it was engineering related or pharmaceutical related. Different experiences, I guess. I will say I was always slightly more litigation focused, and I think it matters even less there, so that could be clouding my view. Good to here from different viewpoints.

« Last Edit: 10-16-17 at 01:30 pm by wildkrazyguy »
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