A post from our student blogger Catie
This past weekend was full of excitement for the MSPL students! It was a bit of an anomaly, as we usually don’t have as many events taking place in one weekend, but our MSPL group always manages to make our time together fun!
We started out on Friday, November 7th with a road trip to Chicago to attend the USPTO Roadshow at the Chicago Public Library. All of the attending MSPL students traveled together and had quite the adventure making our way through the city. We arrived at the Roadshow, which was a forum that was traveling through multiple locations in the Midwest. Although the bulk of the forum concerned the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the responsibilities of PTAB judges, we were lucky to have one of the visiting judges who was mediating the forum sit with our group and provide background information on PTAB procedures and regulations. In the MSPL, we really focus on learning patent prosecution (drafting patent applications) and the patent laws from the MPEP that greatly concern the drafting and prosecution process, so having someone explain what was going on was incredibly helpful while the rest of the forum debated decisions of action in a mock appeals trial. Our trip to Chicago provided insight into a different facet of patent law and was an opportunity to consider our prospects of pursuing a career with the PTAB.
On Saturday, we took turns doing shifts at South Bend’s annual Stuff-A-Bus event. This is a fundraiser that takes place at all of the local supermarkets, and each store sets a goal to fill an entire school bus with canned goods for the local food bank. We were paired up and spent our shifts encouraging shoppers to donate food or loose change, organizing the donations received, and thanking all of the contributors for their support to the cause. Although it was not directly patent law related, it’s great to have a chance to interact with the community outside of Notre Dame and give back to the city that houses our school. Not to mention, the other volunteers made it incredibly entertaining as well! On top of volunteering, we also had to submit our first drafts of the claimset for our individual capstone projects by the end of the day. It’s exciting to finally be putting what we have learned into action, but claim writing is pretty difficult, so turning in our first drafts was an experience that we all shared as being a little scary. Remember: there’s solidarity in numbers!
Finally, I capped off my weekend by ice skating at Notre Dame’s Compton Ice Arena. On Sunday, the university held an event offering free admission and skate rental for graduate students; and they even had free cookies and hot chocolate! Compton Ice Arena is a beautiful facility that is home to the Fighting Irish hockey team. It was a good ending to my weekend to have some fun on the same ice on which the collegiate players compete! Also, as an avid Blackhawks fan, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to skate on the same ice that my favorite players graced during their training camp. All-in-all, it was a tremendously busy weekend, but it was time well spent with the MSPL cohort!