I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off lately between attending my first business plan competition to prepping for interviews. Unfortunately my team didn’t win the competition but I learned so much from the process that it wasn’t as bummed as I thought a loss would make me. Listening to the pitches of all the finalists gave me an opportunity to fill any gaps I was able to discover in the IP Strategy of the business plan of my own team. Despite the judges not having any formal training in the area of patent law, they all asked some amazing questions regarding the patent process and one team was even suggested a litigation strategy due to their overlapping technology with another company. As I sat in the audience listening to the judges’ questions, I realized that I did a great job of understanding the patent drafting and prosecution phases and had I been in the hot seat, I would have surely dominates those questions. You don’t realize how much you learn until you have to actually apply it to a real world scenario. Kudos to my professors for doing an amazing job!
IP strategy is not something that we explicitly learn in the MSPL program but it will definitely play a role in our respective roles as patent professionals. Our Lunch & Learn speaker this past week touched on how the IP strategy approach would be vastly different if one is an in-house patent professional for a startup vs a well established company, and also for representing single clients within a law firm. Knowing when to draft applications with broader or narrower coverage based on the client and their technology is a skill that takes time to acquire. As a patent professional it’s almost like you have to be able to see the future in regards to your client’s area of technology to keep them relevant. Because most fields of technology are constantly changing, it’s possible to get a patent on something that is all the rave during one year and the next it’s completely obsolete.
As a patent professional, take the extra effort to discuss things beyond the technology at hand to get an understanding of where he or she sees themselves or their company in the upcoming years. That person could potentially be a client with a steady stream of business which every patent professional loves.