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A Clear Path

In Science Careers this week, Washington, D.C.-based patent attorney William Simmons discusses careers in biotech patent law, saying he learned early in his career that "scientific standards for peer review (on the one hand) and patenting (on the other) were different, and that the two writing tasks — a scientific paper and a patent application — required different approaches." However, he says a background in science can help a career in IP. The "analytical skills I gained from my scientific training were directly applicable to assessing whether an invention was patentable," Simmons says. For science-oriented individuals interested in pursuing careers in biotech patent law, he adds that "blazing a new trail" is not a requirement, "since patent law is a well-established career path for scientists." Many patent examiners have PhDs, Simmons says, adding that "most attorneys working in biotechnology patent law have science PhDs, and many have impressive postdoctoral experience." Because a career in patent law often involves communicating complex ideas, Simmons says excellent writing and speaking skills are a must. He adds that it's also important for IP professionals to keep up on "developments in the law so that they may advise their clients appropriately." Overall, Simmons says those who have "the appropriate skills and enjoy analyzing and communicating about scientific innovations, patent law could [an] ideal career."

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.