Resisting temptation

A post from student blogger Josh

“I can resist anything but temptation” – Oscar Wilde

Life is full of tempting things, and since MSPL is part of my life, it comes with a share of temptations as well. The quote entitling this post is from “Lady Windermere’s Fan”, Oscar Wilde’s first play to receive any serious attention. I would love to say that the reason I know this quote is because I am a fine gentleman of the most exquisite literary tastes, but in reality it happens to be scrawled on a ceiling beam at O’Rourke’s Public House. This is a lovely place to contemplate blog postings or whatever else one does after a pint or three, and it’s located right across from campus. For those of you less familiar with Wilde’s work, he is known for poking fun at society (in the late 19th and early 20th century) through satire and clever one line jokes, but his accuracy and brevity would probably also make him a decent patent agent (provided he had the appropriate technical knowledge).

So what about MSPL is so tempting that one mustn’t do? In this case, it would be to forget about one’s technical credits. For those considering MSPL fresh from undergrad, you’ll have to take these (students with advanced degrees are exempt, though you’ll have to write two capstones). These are graduate level classes in the college of science, and you’re required to take two in the first semester and one in the second semester of the MSPL program. We talk all the time on this blog about our classes on patent searching, application drafting, prosecution, and our capstone projects; but truthfully, I spend more time in my technical credit classes, do more homework, and have more exams. Despite this, I’m still constantly tempted to forget I actually take them. Perhaps it’s because the professors who teach our patent classes are so enthralling, or maybe it’s the direct connection between each of their lectures and my future career, but I never find myself scrambling to do one of their assignments an hour before it’s due.

If you’re foolish enough to take advice from me, I would impart this little gem: DON’T BLOW OFF YOUR TECHNICAL CREDITS. Yes, they are not necessarily as relevant to patent law as the MSPL classes; but they’re electives, so you can pick things that interest you!  In addition, as a practicing agent, you may very well run into a disclosure that you wouldn’t have understood without taking one of them. Before this semester, I knew next to nothing about electrochemical cells or how to program smartphone applications. Truthfully, I knew very little about the physical structures and digital protocols behind wireless and wired networking until last night at midnight, because they were the subject of my midterm exam at 9am. Now that I’ve studied (and will continue to study more earnestly) these fields, I find that I can apply my knowledge of physics to them more effectively, increasing my potential utility as a patent agent. Plus, if you actually pay attention, you don’t have to cram for a midterm with a sinus infection. This is obviously a serious bonus. To conclude as I began:

“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.” – Oscar Wilde

(I’ve actually read this one; it’s from “An Ideal Husband”).

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