A university research group started a company to commercialize technology that Alex's company thought they had contributed to through an informal collaboration. Although the lawsuit was eventually settled, Alex learned the importance of documenting ideas properly and having agreements in place. He says, "Scientists are wonderfully creative and eager to share information. However, they need people like me around to preserve their rights and keep them out of trouble. This is not altruistic, of course, because employees usually must assign their right to the companies for which they work."
At about this time, Alex was asked if he would like to make a career change, transferring from research to the legal department. He would work for the company in the patent craft full-time during the day, and they would pay for him to attend law school and prepare for the patent bar exam at night.
He recalls, "[snip] When Applied Biosystems offered to pay for law school and accommodate my work schedule, I jumped at it. My motivation stemmed from the challenge and excitement of doing something different while also using, and building on, my chemistry background." Other valuable skills for patent work include interpersonal skills, such as the willingness to seek people out, get them to talk, and build relationships. Being detail-oriented also helps.I must admit, being a patent attorney sounds awfully dry. (Of course, sitting and reviewing 500 SciFinder hits can be dry, too. But I like that.) But if you're willing to step away from the bench and if you're detail-oriented and you enjoy business and legal strategery, it just might be your thing...
*As always, CJ's copy of the book helpfully provided by the author, Dr. Lisa Balbes.