A post from our student blogger Megan
The European Patent Office (EPO) defines a patent family as “a set of either patent applications or publications taken in multiple countries to protect a single invention by a common inventor(s) and then patented in more than one country. A first application is made in one country – the priority – and is then extended to other offices.” This simply means that you can apply for a patent on one invention in one country and receive patents for the same invention in many countries. You can research patent families and tracespecific publications to the original patent application document. All the patent documents are related, hence the name “family.” The Master of Science in Patent Law program is a lot like one of these patent families.
Each student in the program fulfills a certain niche. There are four doctoral degree students, two doctorates of law, and each MSPL member has an undergraduate degree in either the hard sciences or engineering. While we are all different, we also share quite a bit in common. We struggled to write claims during the first semester. We laughed at each other’s outlandish comments in class. We shared our worries and our frustrations. We became a family over the first semester of the program.
The most important thing we each shared over the last four months is perhaps our friendships. Through our common experience of going through the program together we bonded in a very unique way. Just like your real family, sometimes you get impatient with your family members and sometimes you even get a little annoyed with them. But in the end, you are family and you stick together. Sure, we’ve gotten to do fun activities together like go to a baseball game and have a painting party. But it is the day to day experience of becoming patent practitioners that has strengthened our bond and brought us together. We are fortunate to have each other and have made a point to celebrate each MSPL member’s birthday outside the classroom. We are a family—a patent family.