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aspenx 21-02-2013 12:24 AM

Patent attorney trainee
 
I don't have top grades nor top brains.

Barely made it out of NTU alive with B.Eng EEE.

After nearly 3 years since graduation, annual salary nearly hit 50k before I changed job (seeking worklife balance) and now only make ~45k. I still run projects but the manufacturing line is so dead that I am looking at a career change. I rather exercise my brain and toil while I still have some youth in me...

Considering joining a law firm as patent executive / patent attorney trainee. Signing up for GCIP and going to challenge the 4 QE exams. It will be another 3 years before I can get certified.

Wondering if I can hit 150k by late 30s... Anyone done this route and willing to share the more "confidential" side of their experience? From my research, I see a number (not many) of engineer turned patent attorneys who have made partner in some law firm.

This path will hopefully keep me in touch with some of the technical stuff in engineering that I still like, let me write (which I enjoy quite a fair bit) and do something meaningful (meet clients etc instead of designing circuits all day everyday).

Unregistered 22-02-2013 07:50 AM

How long does it take to fully transit from an engineer to a practising patent attorney?

aspenx 22-02-2013 09:02 AM

As mentioned, I am targeting 3 years. It IS doable. If you squeeze everything together and do well, theoretically it can be done in 1~1.5 years as IPOS does not limit the sequence etc of fulfilling the requirements. However the intensity and all the unknowns right now are very daunting to me. Looking for people who have walked this path to share their experiences. I have only heard from 2 so far (somewhat).

huili 23-02-2013 12:05 AM

Hi there,

No worries and be confident in yourself! :)

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Unregistered 23-02-2013 08:38 AM

I do not think that being a patent engineer will enable you to be a partner of a law firm. To be a partner you would need to be called to the bar and have at least 4 to 5 yrs PQE in a local firm or 7 to 8 yrs PQE in international firm.

At best you will be some kind of legal manager.

aspenx 25-02-2013 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 33459)
I do not think that being a patent engineer will enable you to be a partner of a law firm. To be a partner you would need to be called to the bar and have at least 4 to 5 yrs PQE in a local firm or 7 to 8 yrs PQE in international firm.

At best you will be some kind of legal manager.

When I started the thread, I did not intend to work for an engineering firm. ie. I was not considering become a patent engineer.

Just to clarify. There are no positions for a patent engineer in a law firm. As an engineer making the complete switch to a patent agent/attorney, you will need to fulfill IPOS's criteria here: Patent Agents Information
Associates/attorneys then have a chance to make partner after n years of experience with the same firm and a certain clientele base or just buy into it if possible.

Unregistered 25-02-2013 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aspenx (Post 33509)
Associates/attorneys then have a chance to make partner after n years of experience with the same firm and a certain clientele base or just buy into it if possible.

This is the carrot they commonly dangle in front of newbies to pyscho you to join them, but in reality the chances of that happening is so rare that it should be treated as exceptional case. They are betting that by the time you firgure it all out, you would have been trapped in there for too long with little alternatives.

aspenx 25-02-2013 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 33516)
This is the carrot they commonly dangle in front of newbies to pyscho you to join them, but in reality the chances of that happening is so rare that it should be treated as exceptional case. They are betting that by the time you firgure it all out, you would have been trapped in there for too long with little alternatives.

I can see that being absolutely true...

Unregistered 25-02-2013 11:22 PM

Are you hoping to be a partner in a law firm after clearing the IPOS courses?

aspenx 26-02-2013 07:33 AM

I hope to clear the course, the 4 QE and internship in 3years max and become a Singapore registered patent attorney (not lawyer) with ~6k basic salary a month. Possible? Don't mind doing the internship for the whole 3years if it will help to achieve this with more certainty.

Unregistered 26-02-2013 07:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aspenx (Post 33428)
As mentioned, I am targeting 3 years. It IS doable. If you squeeze everything together and do well, theoretically it can be done in 1~1.5 years as IPOS does not limit the sequence etc of fulfilling the requirements. However the intensity and all the unknowns right now are very daunting to me. Looking for people who have walked this path to share their experiences. I have only heard from 2 so far (somewhat).

Your written English is too sloppy and poorly constructed for you to consider a job as a patent engineer.

It is also a shite job that will work you to the bone and the pay isn't that fantastic for the first few years.

aspenx 26-02-2013 09:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 33542)
Your written English is too sloppy and poorly constructed for you to consider a job as a patent engineer.

It is also a shite job that will work you to the bone and the pay isn't that fantastic for the first few years.

As sloppy as my English is, your reading comprehension isn't any better.

Unregistered 23-05-2013 05:00 PM

patent agent
 
You can try this line if you are able to write well and is technically strong. Other than that, you got to love reading.....not story books but journal papers, articles and patent specification.

the timeline you are targeting is very challenging. Infact, I only know one person that is able to achieve that (passing the qualifying exam) in 3 years. Initial years when the system just started out, its easier. Right now, its tough. Go and take a look at the passing rate (in IPOS website) of the exam and you will know why.

Alot of patent agents have Masters or Phds (not uncommon). Other than that, they are also chartered UK or Europe attorney (more exams). Yet these people are still not partners. To be one at 30 is a tall order

Unregistered 04-07-2013 11:52 AM

Hi there,

Sad to say, 3 years will (to clear all papers) appear to be a tad too optimistic - I'd say the average is about 5 years or so.

Aside looking at the past rates published, you may want to have a look at a sample exam paper (try looking at papers from 2010 onwards. They should be more indicative of the examination standards these days). Granted, it may be too early for you to look at the exam papers, but it should give you an idea of what kind of "readings" you are expected to do (as at least one person has already pointed out, you do need to read and write a lot!).

In any case, the exam papers can be considered "entry level" already since in "real life," the practice is quite different. For example, for paper "A" you have the inventor feeding you with information - you just need to draft the claims to the invention. In real practice, the inventor will probably give you a "two liner" or a picture and expect you to draft a 10~20 page (or more) specification.

Just sharing this information so that you can manage your expectations a little (as least you won't be caught mentally unprepared when you do join this profession).

As for the salary, don't expect too much until you become qualified - go for a few interviews (you'd need to anyway for the internship, if you plan to join this profession) and you'd probably get a better picture.

Everything said, there'd always be aberrations (no. of years to pass, salary etc.). You'd need the determination to follow through and be mentally prepared for the long haul.

All the best dude!

Unregistered 12-07-2013 12:47 AM

Why anyone would want to be a patent agent in Singapore is beyond me. Relatively speaking, our market and the volume of commercial R&D work conducted here is insignificant compared to other developed countries. Is there even a sustainable market for patent filing/ prosecution here? I hope nobody is getting their patent agent aspirations from the government's charade of the country becoming an "IP hub". Any "hub" plans the government has will eventually flop, with the most recent being the motorsports "hub".

Unregistered 26-08-2013 02:28 PM

IP career forum at MBS
 
As others have mentioned there are two options:
1. work in a patent attorney firm
2. work in a law firm

In a law firm you cannot be a partner unless you are a practicing lawyer.

In a patent attorney firm you can be a partner if you qualify as a patent agent in Singapore. This is not an unreasonable objective, but it will take 10-15 years of hard work to get there.

Singapore pay ranges are:
Salary Survey | Patent Attorney Job Board

So you do not have to be a partner to make the kind of money you want, and it is feasible to do in the time scale you mention, if
a) you manage to pass all the exams very quickly
b) you generate a lot of revenue

GCIP is relatively easy - it is a university law course. The passing rates for the qualifying exams is much lower, typically 0-30% for paper A and C (The people that are sitting these exams typically have masters and PhDs that have never failed an exam in their life).

Check out IP career day at MBS on Thursday if you are still interested
IP Career Forum | IP [email protected]

Unregistered 15-09-2017 12:52 PM

patent attorney trainee
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 41633)
As others have mentioned there are two options:
1. work in a patent attorney firm
2. work in a law firm

In a law firm you cannot be a partner unless you are a practicing lawyer.

In a patent attorney firm you can be a partner if you qualify as a patent agent in Singapore. This is not an unreasonable objective, but it will take 10-15 years of hard work to get there.

Singapore pay ranges are:
[url=://.patentattorneyjobboard.com/page/salary_survey.html]Salary Survey | Patent Attorney Job Board[/

So you do not have to be a partner to make the kind of money you want, and it is feasible to do in the time scale you mention, if
a) you manage to pass all the exams very quickly
b) you generate a lot of revenue

GCIP is relatively easy - it is a university law course. The passing rates for the qualifying exams is much lower, typically 0-30% for paper A and C (The people that are sitting these exams typically have masters and PhDs that have never failed an exam in their life).

Check out IP career day at MBS on Thursday if you are still interested
[url=://.ipos.gov.sg/ipweek/programme/career-forum/]IP Career Forum | IP [email protected][/

just visited this thread. things have changed so much since the thread was last active. nowadays you can find a handful of patent attorneys who have become partners at law firms. needless to say, these are probably the very top cream of the crop. I had worked with some patent attorneys or agents in my R&D work and can say that the quality can vary by so much! there are some that can be so bad and it's no surprise given their years of working in the industry, they still won't move beyond associate or senior associate level. I think you can make very big bucks if you do manage to shine among the registered people. from what I gathered during my time as a trainee, a newly registered agent can expect 6 to 8k salary, entry level and depending on firm and capability. thereafter, they say the sky is the limit. I hearsay one partner can make 200-350k per annum if really good, plus profit sharing.

coming back to trainees, I tried my hands at being a trainee. passed the GCIP but kept getting stuck at the qualifying examinations. true, the papers are quite entry level as compared to actual daily work but still, the pass rates are low. it does take a lot of mentoring, training and fair bit of luck to pass these papers! anyway, I have since dropped out and stopped trying.

It's a slog of a job plus studying like some posters have mentioned and the choice of a firm to work at can be important. I was at an Australian firm and the culture was a shock to me, coming from research. don't ever think that you will be given your own sweet time to digest things and advise clients etc. it is a numbers thing and you have to meet billing targets every single month. you are expected to be a business unit and keep generating invoices for the firm. if you are not able to do that, it can be bye bye for you, and appraisals are based on that. the structure can be like a pyramid if you look at it.

and when you think it's fair game to just keep billing, imagine the odds further stacked against you when massive discounts are given to clients you handle, and certain billing items are not under you. plus, there are so-called seniors who will also take a cut of your billing, using the pyramid. it all made for a very bad and sour taste. for would-be trainees, it may be better to ask around and join a firm that can properly train and nurture you. personally, i would prefer joining one that wasn't so harsh on billing but that's the reality i guess. there are many places that treat you like an invoice generating machine only and it actually serves them better if you never get registered if you think about it, like a poster mentioned. it's like a glass ceiling 'cos they won't give you registered pay. so, don't keep thinking of salary first until you at least get yourself registered. even then, you need to find ways to add value until you are justified to get further promotions and maybe can buy in.

just my 5 cents from my few years stuck as a trainee, now happier doing other things outside of research, technical stuff and getting screamed at almost daily. earn an average salary but so much happier.

Unregistered 16-09-2017 11:28 PM

How's the job market for patent agents in singapore? I know that the qualification exams are a barrier, but are there that many positions? Only a few pure IP firms locally like Marks & Clerk, and Spruson. Is it easy to get a job there?

Also do they look at how well you did for your undergrad degree?

fobbie 18-09-2017 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unregistered (Post 100201)
How's the job market for patent agents in singapore? I know that the qualification exams are a barrier, but are there that many positions? Only a few pure IP firms locally like Marks & Clerk, and Spruson. Is it easy to get a job there?

Also do they look at how well you did for your undergrad degree?

glad that there is some interest in these threads. I am a current trainee, finished my GCIP and still getting to know the daily work. I have to say, the job market is not that good because there are not many positions open. you see, for training, you need to be under a registered and qualified patent attorney. there are not that many to begin with. hope top scientists and engineers can consider this path but have to reduce pay at entry for few years. the Government has been pushing for innovation and with it, should come IP I think. As there are so few positions at companies, they probably filter the degrees. Some go for PHDs. From what I see, PHDs can have a hard time changing their mindsets in this job. Like some posters said, to do well, you need to like reading and writing a lot. And as a trainee, to take a lot of c**p also.

For number of places, like you say, there are only a few boutique IP firms locally. These are not legal firms, just pte ltd. The market has opened up alot because now there are law firms with patent departments with registered patent attorneys. from what I hear, you can get to be paid slightly better in law firms if you have proven your worth, or get registered. their IP departments are buffered by bigger departments like litigation. maybe best to get trained and cut your teeth in a boutique IP firm, then try to engineer a move to elsewhere. From what I observe in my company, only a handful get to shine or be recognised. Many others just work under the radar. I think it depends on what you want. For myself, it should be interesting to change firm once I get registered and not get too comfortable.


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