Millenial Renaissance IP Attorneys in the Making
I decided to do a social experiment this summer...
Patent attorneys are weird people. I am an especially weird patent attorney because I always straddle the technical and the artistic. I don't think of endeavors in opposing categories like engineering vs. humanities or techies vs. fuzzies or anything of that sort. I am keenly aware that people, especially young people are often forced to think of these paths as divergent. They needn't be divergent at all.
"Techies vs. fuzzies... needn't be divergent at all."
So I decided to do a social experiment this summer: I hired a fashion/art historian law school student intern to collaborate on a patent application for a mechanical device with a mechanical engineer law student intern. Ali Portaro is a rising third year law school student from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Prior to law school she coordinated Oscar De La Renta runway shows, helped develop a trademarked shoe "The Charlotte," and worked at the Nasher Sculpture Museum. She has a B.A. in Art History. She's taken classes in copyright and trademark law. Mark Clare is a rising third year law school student at Wake Forest School of Law. Prior to law school, he traveled all over the world for projects laying fiber optic cables on the ocean floor. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.
Sent you money. Now exchange information and get going.
This was an experiment that could go very well or not well at all. The two aren't even located in the same city and won't be seeing each other; their collaboration would be by phone and Slack, mostly. I offered them next to no guidance at the outset; I just wanted to watch the synergy. I added to their meager provisions a secured folder on some generic patentability background and a description of an invention. After sharing the folder, I messaged them both, "Sent you money. Now exchange information and get going." After all, with brilliant Millennials, the best thing you can do is get out of the way.
Within two weeks, I got back stellar work product. They knocked it out of the park. They landed understanding patentability, and played with that nebulous non-obviousness requirement. They pointed out features the inventor didn't contemplate that helped distinguish the invention from prior art. Mark nailed the distinguishing structural and mechanical features and method of manufacture. Ali emphasized how the invention is well-suited for the nature of the user and developed the market analysis component. Mark quipped about the collaboration, "The coolest part was that once we put out an idea, the other person had no trouble seeing the value of it and coming at it from different angles." Ali added, "I absolutely loved my first taste of patent law and seeing how the technical, creative and inventive elements all come together. It definitely is really cool! So glad I had the opportunity to work on this project and enjoyed working with Mark too!"
"I absolutely loved my first taste of patent law and seeing how the technical, creative and inventive elements all come together. "
The coolest people come to Erdős Intellectual Property Law, and the greatest things happen! Kudos to Mark and Ali. I'm excited to see what they cook up next. I cannot recommend either of them enough. They are Millennial Renaissance Attorneys in the making!