Archive for April, 2007
I had someone at career services ask me to give advice to a fellow student on how to break into the IP scene with a weak background (physics minor). Here’s my response:
I’m going to start with giving you my 2 cents and then answer your questions. Remember that my advice is as good as you pay for it, so take everything I say with a healthy dose of checking out my reality with others. Everyone who’s successful has an angle, and here’s my take (which may not be yours). If I’m too blunt, please forgive my bluntness. I want you to understand how your employer is thinking. The key is to make yourself fit what he wants. It’s not to tell him how great you are (you’re not great, you have potential).
Let me start by saying that there are 2 major factors to patent law employment according to the employers I’ve done informational interviews with: field of study and experience. Those are the qualifications, if you don’t meet those, you will have a difficult time getting in the door. After that, everything else is about differentiation. Field of study is very difficult to change, since it’s what you know and what you’ve studied. We’re talking wisdom and years of knowledge, so its not easy to change. Relevant experience is where you can make a difference right now.
With your minimal technical background, I would see if you can go clerk part time for free. You’ll gain experience and training and exposure to good people in the know. In exchange you’ll give your minimal services for free. I’m told (and I believe) that new clerks cost more to train than they make. You’ll be diverting time from someone who can bill $200-$250 an hour into a personal tutor in patent law and what to do. For clerks that have the right technical background, law firms realize that this is how the new people get up to speed. For your iffy background, you’re going to have to prove yourself. This means: passing the patent bar, clerking for free/credit and knowing the right people. You have the ability to effect the first 2, while your fellow students can get you connected with the last one.
Ok, enough with the generals, let’s get onto your questions:
QUESTION: I’ve been able to arrange to take the classes I need.
I’m always interested in discovering new blogs that other people consider crucial. Here’s my short list with descriptions:
- ConnectBlogs.com – They aggregate the content from leading Utah minds, mostly from blogs.
- Marketing VOX – Describes cutting edge developments in marketing
- Patently-O – Latest Developments and some humor in patent law.
- IP Thoughts – Thoughts from an attorney on business, entrepreneurialism and life (note: he’s also my boss, but I don’t hold that against him).
- Consumerist – Very biased, but it gives real consumer experiences which let me know which pitfalls to avoid (take it with some salt)
- Paul Allen – Utah internet marketing guru – I’m actually taking a class from him
- SEOmoz – Gives a pulse and techniques in the Search Engine Optimization industry
- Chris Holt’s Blog – My Brother the serial entrepreneur’s new blog … normally I’m nervous about promoting someone so close, but his advice has helped me a lot. If he posts anything similar to what he’s said to me, I’d listen.
Let me know what you’re reading. I’m always interested in a fresh perspective and new ideas.