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Old 03-11-2009, 12:05 AM   #21
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Loved the comment about Einstein and the Patent office.
Ever hear the story about what he learned from the patent job? He met up with some slacker named Szilard and they designed a refrigerator:
Einstein refrigerator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

... among other things.
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Old 03-11-2009, 12:15 AM   #22
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Landonew:

Your story will be a far-more common one for recently-graduated lawyers. IP law firms, however, should survive the downturn a bit better, although not good enough to absorb all the new lawyers this year. You probably also know that you are facing competition from the PhD's who have found practicing patent law as a patent agent better than their limited alternatives.

If I were in your shoes--and I am a self-unemployed/RE'd patent attorney--and I had the flexibility to move to WDC and work for the USPTO, I would do it. A few years ago I interviewed an examiner who had gone to law school after working at the PTO. We liked him and valued his experience. He had his pick of jobs in Silicon Valley and went to a larger firm.

The reason not everyone starts at the PTO (unlike the 'old' days) is that working for the PTO is pretty dull (& bureaucratic), at least as compared to the drama of private practice. And, as an attorney you will be under-paid and under-appreciated. But a few years experience there will nicely set you up for a career in patent law. I know that if I could find a way to 'intern' at the PTO for a few months I'd do it just to see the operation from the inside. Who knows--maybe you will like working at the PTO--many do!

I believe the trick to getting a job at the USPTO is applying! It can take a few months, I understand, so check out their web site and fill out the application to keep your options open.

Good luck--it will work out!

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Old 03-11-2009, 07:29 AM   #23
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Oh my...what a bad break. I hope something else comes along for you in your search.
I myself graduated into a screaming recession (1980), so I do understand the feeling. I was supposed to go to w*rk as an entry level geophysicist for a well known oil company, but they had to withdraw their offer to fly me to OK for an interview. They were downsizing in the exploratory dept. Ouch!
If the USPTO is the best deal, then go for it. Steady work in your field cannot be sneezed at right now. In the future, any private law firm would grab you up in a heartbeat with some USPTO experience. You could name your price.
USPTO has a tremendous backlog, so you certainly won't be bored. If you happen to run across my other 3 still pending patents, give 'em a nice little push. The applications were submitted in Sept 2005 while I was still w*rking.
I just watched a show the other night about Einstein, and of course his years in the Swiss patent office were mentioned. Law is obviously your first choice, but don't forget the engineering track. You are sitting pretty, having 2 career tracks to choose from.

CONGRATS on passing the patent bar! Wooo hooooooooooooooooo
LOL, thanks for the enthusiasm. I will certainly keep an eye out for those applications if I end up in Alexandria VA. Your right about the USPTO being a solid work opportunity.

On a side note, I apologize on behalf of the patent community for the delay in prosecuting your applications (alright, maybe I should wait for that first pay check before speaking on behalf of the 'patent community' LOL, but you get the point). It is sad that the backlog has gotten so bad that the average application has a pendency period of just over 5 years!!!! Don't blame your patent attorney though. We now don't even receive the first office action until 2 years after the initial filing date.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:38 AM   #24
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I think other federal employees would probably agree that it does take months to get a federal job, so apply soon and don't get discouraged if you don't hear for a while. In my case it took 5 months after applying in response to an ad on www.usajobs.opm.gov before I received and accepted the job offer, and that is not unusual in my agency. The pay can be much lower than outside jobs as well, because the benefits are a big part of the compensation package you are offered.
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Old 03-11-2009, 11:36 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by plsprius View Post
Landonew:

Your story will be a far-more common one for recently-graduated lawyers. IP law firms, however, should survive the downturn a bit better, although not good enough to absorb all the new lawyers this year. You probably also know that you are facing competition from the PhD's who have found practicing patent law as a patent agent better than their limited alternatives.

If I were in your shoes--and I am a self-unemployed/RE'd patent attorney--and I had the flexibility to move to WDC and work for the USPTO, I would do it. A few years ago I interviewed an examiner who had gone to law school after working at the PTO. We liked him and valued his experience. He had his pick of jobs in Silicon Valley and went to a larger firm.

The reason not everyone starts at the PTO (unlike the 'old' days) is that working for the PTO is pretty dull (& bureaucratic), at least as compared to the drama of private practice. And, as an attorney you will be under-paid and under-appreciated. But a few years experience there will nicely set you up for a career in patent law. I know that if I could find a way to 'intern' at the PTO for a few months I'd do it just to see the operation from the inside. Who knows--maybe you will like working at the PTO--many do!

I believe the trick to getting a job at the USPTO is applying! It can take a few months, I understand, so check out their web site and fill out the application to keep your options open.

Good luck--it will work out!

plsprius
I will definitely do that. I will apply next week. I know they require some time to do a background check, so I should probably get the ball rolling ASAP.

In your opinion, do you think being an attorney will be an advantage from an application standpoint? Or does the USPTO care one way or the other?
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Old 03-11-2009, 12:43 PM   #26
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Just for fun, I went to USAjobs.com, and without logging in, did a keyword search on "USPTO". there are 13 openings in various disciplines.
USAJOBS -

Then I did a keyword search using "Attorney" and got 309 hits.
USAJOBS -

The site is very straightforward to use. You can use the radius/zip code feature right under the keyword entry subwindow to narrow down your searches.

Go here to create an account
https://my.usajobs.gov/login.aspx?re...ov%2fhome.aspx

Happy hunting!
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:11 PM   #27
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Hey, if it makes you feel any better, I have the exact same background, an electrical engineer with a few years of engineering experience, passed the patent bar, worked at a patent prosecution firm doing preps/pros during 1L, then got laid off a year later when their biggest clients started making huge cuts in future filings. I am currently a 2L, so I am living off of unemployment for now while taking classes (which can occur in my state).

If you would like any specific information to help on your job search, send me a PM, I should be able to send you a few things. Even if you have most of the information, I have a database of firm information I compiled for applying to firms at the PLIP.

You really shouldn't have any trouble finding good work. Where I live, there has been a recession since the tech-bubble burst in 2000, especially for engineering, yet I still had no trouble finding engineering positions, it usually only took me a month find something. I think this will carry over into patent law as well.

If you have an interest in the financial side of things, it should also be pretty easy transitioning something like bankruptcy law as mentioned as well, there certainly should be a large demand right now for that sort of work.

I think you have the right order down though for applying. I would suggest that, if you are e-mailing, use a credible e-mail (I had an e-mail go into a junk filter once), and follow the e-mail up with a call (which is how I found out it accidentally went in the junk pile). Don't simply shotgun and leave it at that, if it is a place you really would be interested working.
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:01 PM   #28
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In your opinion, do you think being an attorney will be an advantage from an application standpoint? Or does the USPTO care one way or the other?
Unfortunately, I can't say. My intuition is that for an examiner's job being an attorney is a disadvantage, since that job certainly doesn't require an attorney's license. But, if you want to be a patent prosecutor, working as an examiner will give you great long-term advantages--you are just doing the steps in reverse order (first an attorney, then an examiner). Given the economy, however, I can't believe that anyone would seriously question your decision.

Of course, the USPTO also hires attorneys for lawyer-license-required jobs. But, I don't have the insight into those opportunities.

So, I'd just consider the examiner job as more training, and hopefully the USPTO will convince you to stay (from their perspective).

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Old 03-15-2009, 09:38 PM   #29
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Landonew I do not mean this as just a silly platitude, but maybe the next job is really where you are meant to be.
Ditto that. My first job as an attorney was pretty bad--I was miserable and stressed out that it wasn't working out like I had hoped. I started to quietly look for another job, and something local unexpectedly opened up. I am much happier at the new job.
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:32 AM   #30
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Ever hear the story about what he learned from the patent job? He met up with some slacker named Szilard and they designed a refrigerator:
Einstein refrigerator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

... among other things.
By the way, most RV refrigerators are of the absorption type. Run on ammonia. No moving parts. Propane or electricity for the heat source. A tad more refined, but the same principle as their invention.
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Old 03-16-2009, 10:19 AM   #31
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landonew,

Just a suggestion: work on your spelling. Use spellcheck more if nothing else. Poor spelling does not impress.
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Yo! Landonew! Wheeeeeee
Old 04-07-2009, 10:44 AM   #32
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Yo! Landonew! Wheeeeeee

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LOL, thanks for the enthusiasm. I will certainly keep an eye out for those applications if I end up in Alexandria VA. Your right about the USPTO being a solid work opportunity.

On a side note, I apologize on behalf of the patent community for the delay in prosecuting your applications (alright, maybe I should wait for that first pay check before speaking on behalf of the 'patent community' LOL, but you get the point). It is sad that the backlog has gotten so bad that the average application has a pendency period of just over 5 years!!!! Don't blame your patent attorney though. We now don't even receive the first office action until 2 years after the initial filing date.
You brought me luck!

I am pleased to announce that my 2nd US Patent was issued on March 31, 2009.

I received notification of the recent patent issue through a private sector company that sells mounting plaques. Go figure!
This is the 2nd patent to issue as a result of 1 initial application in 2002, which was split into 3 additional applications and re-submitted to the US Patent & Trademark Office in 2005. That means that there was enough intellectual property (translated damn good idea) to merit 4 distinct applications.
FWIW, my former employer had decided to continue prosecuting (pursuing) the patents even though I am no longer employed there. That is a good thing.
All 4 patent applications were the product of an idea I had that was essentially an improvement on an in-house project that I attempted to participate in way back in 1997.
I was prevented from fully participating due to dinosaur attitudes, but they could not stop me from thinking. My idea was termed “not to be of sufficient technical merit” to be pursued beyond the patent submissions. In plain English, it was squashed in place.

Needless to say, this is a grand day for me. dh2b is very proud and awarded me some “bragging rights”. It gives me tremendous closure.

2 down, 2 to go. I may hear news of the outcome of the other 2 applications in the near future. Cross your fingers for me.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:54 AM   #33
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Congratulations Freebird. Nice bragging rights. A good example of Non Illegitimi Carborundum.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:20 AM   #34
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Congratulations Freebird. Nice bragging rights. A good example of Non Illegitimi Carborundum.
I had to look that one up.



And thank you...I cannot fully describe in words what this means to me. You would need sunglasses for the shining joy on my face.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:30 AM   #35
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Yup, no substitute for winning.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:37 AM   #36
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I
And thank you...I cannot fully describe in words what this means to me. You would need sunglasses for the shining joy on my face.
I hope it means some MOO-LAH for you.........
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This Thread is USELESS without pics.........:)
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:49 AM   #37
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Woo-hoo!! THIS is what it's all about, Freebird - - having a goal, working hard despite adversity, and achieving that goal!!!

CONGRATULATIONS!
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Old 05-01-2009, 12:21 AM   #38
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This experience has made me realize (or at least begin to understand) how important financial independence truly is. As an employee, you are simply a fungible asset to your employer. Consequently, you are a mere stroke of a pen (or keystroke) away from unemployment.
Ain't that the truth!
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