A post from our student blogger Roberto
This past week members of the program went to California to meet companies and law firms involved with intellectual property. On the plane ride over it hit me just how cool this trip really was. I mean, we were going to the epicenter of the technology scene in the United States. What’s more, we actually would get to see how some of the companies and firms worked. Wow. That is truly an amazing opportunity. As the son of an entrepreneur it was really cool getting to visit the area where so many companies were founded. And what was at the core of many of these companies? Tons and tons of crucially important intellectual property. Without intellectual property many of these startups would have been swallowed up by a competitor with more resources smothering innovation. Thankfully, patents protect the blood, sweat, and tears these inventors and entrepreneurs have poured into their efforts. As these inventors know too well, the patent system truly is remarkable. It arms David against Goliath and allows for the little guys to sometimes come out on top. This shakes up the game and constantly brings new ideas to the table by facilitating competition and eliminating monopolies.
On our trip, many of the firms we went to have represented some very prestigious clients such as Facebook, Oracle, Uber, and Twitter. Each firm was unique in both its operating style and its employee culture giving us insight into many different environments. We also had the opportunity to speak with in-house counsel at Qualcomm, eBay, Intuitive Surgical and Stryker. We even had the unique opportunity of touring the Qualcomm facilities as well as participating in a live demonstration of the DaVinci robot.
One of the things that stood out to me throughout all of our visits was just how different the atmosphere in Silicon Valley was compared to anything I had ever seen. From the corner street cafés to the corporate headquarters of the most successful companies, there was a real entrepreneurial spirit that permeated the entire region. Everyone we met was talking about startups, innovation and the next best thing. Being from the Midwest, this was strikingly different from what I was used to. Where I come from people pride themselves on hard work and the fruits of their labor in a very different way. Rather than focusing on radical changes like those in the Valley, I was used to incremental changes in historically successful products. The differences in mentalities may seem minor but it was, in fact, a very striking difference. After thinking about this for a while on the ride home, I realized it just gives me another reason to be proud to have chosen to work in the Midwest as a patent agent. In some small way I will be helping to change not only the world but my home as well. While all of my classmates can say that, I am excited to be a difference maker in a region that needs them. While many young patent agents are understandably attracted to the flurry activity going on in the Valley I knew it just wasn’t for me. By staying in the Midwest maybe I could help bring some of that spirit and energy back home. Who knows, maybe I could help start the next Valley. In the end, we all need to decide what is most important to us as we start our careers. Working as a patent agent has many rewards and thankfully there are many jobs and career paths to choose from. For me, going home and working hard to make it an even better place is what is most important to me.