The below question was asked by Trishala Sanya on Prof. Dr. Shamnad Basheer’s career advice page here.
Question: I am very keen to join the IP sector at the same time I am in a dilemma in joining the same as I am from a non-science background. Please advise me.
Answer: Some of the best-known figures in the IP world have not had a science degree to back them up, even as they advanced some of the most nuanced patent propositions.
Judge Randall Rader wrote some of the most sophisticated patent decisions and he was only an English major! Countless other examples…
In fact, I think the lack of a science degree can be an advantage…for it forces you to explain the technical science in a fairly simple way to a judge or other authority that you are appealing to on behalf of your client.
But having said this, I would never recommend patents if you have an aversion towards science.
You must like science—and have a passion for reading up on it and looking up stuff on Wikipedia etc. when faced with a technical concept/jargon.
So a science degree is not necessary! But a love for science, yes!
And if perchance you fall into those categories of people that absolutely hate science (owing to a traumatic teacher in school etc.), it is never too late.
Dip into one of those ultra-cool videos from one of those learning resources (Khan Academy perhaps) and rediscover the pure joy of learning science.
And if this does not work as well, then there’s always copyright, trademarks, and designs for you.
Not to mention, the right to publicity, privacy and a whole lot of other IP categories that IP lawyers have created with alarming alacrity in the recent past.
So plenty of stuff in the IP world even if science is not your cup of tea!
But bottom line is that you must be interested in creativity and innovation—and new ideas and how to create an ecosystem that fosters new ideas.
Else, no point in doing IP law.
(Note: This article was first published in 2015. But the advice is timeless).
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