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Overview of patent and intellectual property law


Replies to: Overview of patent and intellectual property law

  • dadofsamdadofsam Registered User Posts: 1,635 Senior Member
    Dear CanisNebula

    A technical adviser's position is a good way to find out whether you would be interested in drafting and prosecuting patent applications because in that position you would be writing parts of the applications. People usually do not stay in such positions for more than a few years unless they have a particular and unusual specialty or skill. Usually after a few years the adviser will be looking at either going to law school and becoming a patent attorney or not going to law school but seeking to become a patent agent.

    Technical advisers usually work normal business hours (for example because they may be attending evening law school). However, their time is billable and the law firm will want to get the most billable hours they can out of these normal work hours. You would need to ask law firms what their expectations are in this regard.

    If you have several years experience as a technical adviser and/or patent agent, it would be easier for you to move into an in-house position; companies are generally not willing to train someone in the basics (unless that person is already working at the company).

    And if you find that you don't like drafting and prosecuting patent applications you will move into something else (but I don't know what that might be).
  • CanisNebulaCanisNebula Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
    Thanks so much for your reply. It's very helpful to get a sense of the expectations. With regards to the longer term, if I like the work, I would certainly be open to taking the patent bar, and probably to law school as well.

    As I begin applying to such positions, in my resume and cover letters, what skills should I highlight, what concerns should I address, and what should I emphasize or avoid saying? My initial thoughts are to highlight technical communication skills to both scientific and more broad audiences, as well as experiences interacting with the policy, law, and business worlds. I'm trying to demonstrate that I have the ability to work with people of different disciplines, communicate well and succinctly, and that I'm not some awkward, socially inept PhD engineer ;-) -- anything else I should try to cover?

    Thanks again.
  • dadofsamdadofsam Registered User Posts: 1,635 Senior Member
    Dear CanisNebula:

    I have to confess that I am not an expert when it comes to resume writing in today's world of computer scanning of resumes. Also, I have not participated in hiring a technical adviser. However, the best advice I have seen recently has been that one should try to avoid sending a resume online to avoid the computer scanning function and instead find a way to determine who is the hiring manager for the position and get the resume directly to him or her.

    I would expect that most important would be your technical skills, which would include an understanding of areas of technology based on your research and/or reading, your ability to carry out technical writing clearly and your ability to conduct technical literature (and possibly patent) searches. Knowledge of languages could be helpful. Hopefully you would be able to demonstrate your social skills at an interview.

    Bear in mind that as a technical adviser you will, at least initially, be working under close supervision of a patent attorney whom you will have to satisfy in both your technical and personal skills, whether or not the attorney has good interpersonal skills. This may or may not resemble your career as a Ph.D. student working under a professor.

    Good luck, if you choose this approach.
  • dadofsamdadofsam Registered User Posts: 1,635 Senior Member
    Further comment: by the "hiring manager" I did not mean the HR manager in the law firm; I meant the partner who heads up the chemistry and/or biotech patent group. That's the person whose attention you should first try to catch.
  • dadofsamdadofsam Registered User Posts: 1,635 Senior Member

    I started this post a number of years ago, when I was still a college parent. It has engendered over 80,000 views so far, and 19 pages of posts. And my son has long since graduated (and is currently in grad school)

    However, I have now retired from the active practice of intellectual property law and am no longer in a position to provide helpful information on the current state of the profession. Some of my comments are still valid, and are likely to remain so for quite some time, but others will shortly become outdated and inaccurate. Additionally there have been no new posts for about six months.

    I'm hoping that someone else will pick up the baton (or the banner) and continue providing advice to persons interested in this field. However, if that doesn't seem to be happening I will ask the moderator to close this thread (while still leaving it pinned).
  • kathleentownkathleentown Registered User Posts: 130 Junior Member
    Thanks for posting, great information. Do you have a bachelor's degree in science?
  • dadofsamdadofsam Registered User Posts: 1,635 Senior Member
    I have a bachelor's degree in chemistry. When I entered this profession just about all patent attorneys had bachelor's degrees in science or engineering and it also was possible to obtain jobs as research scientists with a bachelor's degree. Neither of those is possible today with a degree in a science, but are still possible for those with engineering degrees. How much longer that will remain the case is anybody's guess.
This discussion has been closed.