While it seems pretty clear that the patent reform bill that became law a few weeks ago won't actually do much to improve our broken patent system, one area of business it's helping tremendously is in increasing demand for patent lawyers
. Due to the new law, suddenly law firms are scrambling for more and more patent lawyers:
Patent lawyers are in such demand that their specialty may account for more than 15 percent of law firm job openings while representing just 3 percent of lawyers in the United States.
Such lawyers typically have degrees in fields like engineering as well as law. Some law firms are now almost doubling recruitment fees to meet the growing demand for specialists in intellectual property, or I.P., particularly in technology, said T. J. Duane, a principal at a legal recruitment firm, Lateral Link.
The NY Times article above goes on to point out that the new law has especially made things much more complicated, thereby increasing demand for patent lawyers. It also mentions how law firms are really seeking people who could
have been contributing to actual innovation, but have left engineering for the law instead:
The ideal candidate would hold a doctoral degree in electrical engineering, have graduated from a top 10 law school and have worked for four years at a strong law firm, Mr. Duane said.
This is not a good thing. A functioning patent system is one where the rules are clear and fewer lawyers are needed. The fact that the clearest immediate impact of the change in the law is the opposite should give the politicians who supported this law a pretty big reason to rethink it.