When in San Fran

The MSPL shading the San Francisco sun in their new sunglasses after visiting law firms during the day

The MSPL shading the San Francisco sun in their new sunglasses after visiting law firms during the day

A post from our student blogger Catie

The MSPL’s week in San Francisco has come and gone, and it was quite an experience! I’m still trying to comprehend all of the adventures, stress, and valuable lessons that we took in during the week. By the end, we were all exhausted and ready to get home, especially because winter weather kept us in Chicago for an extra night. Nonetheless, it was a week for which I am incredibly grateful. I could write a blog post about each day of the trip, but I’ll just provide an overview for the sake of brevity.

We arrived in beautiful San Francisco with a turbulent plane landing on a rainy Sunday. We visited the scenic Half Moon Bay and walked around the adjacent town. This would actually turn out to be the only day that we would do any site-seeing, as we were constantly on the go for the rest of the daytime hours of the week. Monday through Friday, we conjoined bright and early looking professional in our business clothes, and the program directors drove us “ducklings” all around San Francisco and San Jose to visit various law firms and companies to learn what kind of different paths can be taken in the career of patent law. This was beneficial in two ways: the MSPL’ers could interview these patent law professionals to gain an honest view into what patent law careers are like, and Notre Dame could begin forming connections out in California to facilitate the hopeful beginning of a Notre Dame satellite MSPL program out west.

This trip was inspired by the Notre Dame initiative to begin a satellite campus in California. As we learned during the trip, California is bursting with innovation, start-up companies, and venture capitalists. The Silicon Valley is soon to house the newest satellite USPTO office, which will inevitably make it an epicenter for patent law and intellectual property. Therefore, the MSPL presence and networking in California will likely (and hopefully) be a fruitful interaction in the future!

Over the week, we visited with many IP professionals, probably about half of which were Notre Dame alumni. We listened intently as they described their own paths that brought them into field. They told us about the ups and downs that they experienced in their careers thus far, and we asked them as many questions as possible to gain all the knowledge that we could from them.

Numerous speakers left us with the two same sentiments: 1) it is incredibly important to make sure that we are doing what we love while surrounded by people with which we feel accepted, and 2) in our careers, we should continuously ask ourselves “What are the bigger problems that need to be resolved?” instead of “What endeavors will earn the most money?”. In short: it is of highest importance to enjoy what you do while also working hard and striving to make a difference. I found this advice very fitting, as I believe it flawlessly matches the vision and mission of Notre Dame.

There are high expectations for Notre Dame students, and as much as that fact may be intimidating, it is always so comforting to firsthand see how the notorious Notre Dame Family not only supports you, but genuinely believes in you. Although working in San Francisco is not necessarily in my master plan, visiting the area was an amazingly eye-opening and welcoming experience, and I strongly believe that some members of my “patent family” will excel there in the upcoming years.

Speaking of the “patent family” that the bloggers like to speak of, I’m sure you’re wondering how we survived a solid week of “family togetherness”. We definitely became a little sick of being around each other around midweek, and we were definitely ready to go home to our own rooms and sleep in our own beds by the end. That being said, I think we learned a lot together as well as learned a lot about each other, and I think it ultimately made us better friends. We spent every evening going out to dinner as a group, and a few of us took every opportunity that we could to explore San Francisco together in the evening. Overall, the trip was incredibly exhausting, but I don’t think that any of us are ever going to forget this incredible experience or the people that we spent it with. If anyone is considering the MSPL or any other Notre Dame program, I think you will find that it will be the best decision of your life!

A visit by the Dean

A guest post by Greg Crawford, Dean of the College of Science

I enjoy visiting classroom lectures with students because I always learn something new from the leading experts who instruct our students. Recently, I sat with the Patent Agent Masters students for a two-hour lecture from Mr. Howard Milton Jr., author of Patent Architecture, and I learned something much bigger than patent law. Mr. Milton was a model of great leadership with intellectual virtues and emotional intelligence for our students.

Mr. Milton, who has been teaching the students for several weeks, clearly exhibited wisdom– not just the vast accumulation of knowledge and data he has from long experience, ­but the thoughtful analysis and good judgment to discover meaning in the facts. Time after time, he demonstrated this wisdom in response to the students’ questions, often asking another question to encourage deeper reflection. Our Patent Law students are bright, engaged, and interactive, and this Socratic approach provided them not only deep understanding of patent law but also an inspiration and example to strive for great things in their careers based on vision and mission. They learned how to be good human beings as well as good at their jobs.

This engagement succeeded because of Mr. Milton’s humility, his self-awareness, and his openness to self-improvement. Despite his decades of experience and expertise in the field, he recognized the students’ talent and valued their opinions. He even solicited their advice, accepted the feedback seriously, and in some cases mentioned how it would help him change is approach in the future. He exhibited a high degree of emotional intelligence that benefited both himself and the students.  This was an important learning experience for our students.

I wanted to share this experience because of the powerful impact it had on our students, and me personally. First, I am so grateful that such a wise and authentic patent practitioner will spend time to train and mentor our terrific students here at Notre Dame. Second, I am excited that our students’  education goes beyond information and provides a mentoring in virtues and emotional intelligence – the “soft skills” that are so important for success. Finally, I personally benefited from the opportunity to step back, reflect, and recall the vital human dimension of all of our work that makes it significant and satisfying. For all of us engaged in Mr. Milton’s presentation, the lecture was a beautiful experience of educating the heart as well as the mind, of inspiring passion for your profession, prudence to act effectively, and courage to embrace great goals and achieve them.

Thank you, Mr. Milton, for sharing your great mind and your great heart, your wisdom and your courage, and your skills in patent law while lifting our vision to become virtuous leaders who will have a positive impact on society in our careers and in our lives.

Will you be at the upcoming BIO Convention in San Diego?

Will you be at the upcoming BIO Convention in San Diego? 

You are invited to our private reception on Tuesday evening, where we will showcase some of our exciting campus initiatives.

Join us at the beautiful Symphony Towers for hors d’oeuvres and drinks:
Where: Crescendo Room, Symphony Towers, 750 B Street 
(a 15-minute walk or 2-minute cab ride from the Convention center)
When: Tuesday, June 24 from 6-8:30pm
Please RSVP.

Also, stop by the University of Notre Dame’s booth (#1003) to learn how the university’s research is impacting both the local community and global society. Notre Dame groups represented at the convention are: Advanced Diagnostics & TherapeuticsHarper Cancer Research InstituteInnovation ParkOffice of Technology Transfer, and Patent Law.

Be sure to drop by on Tuesday, June 24 during the Exhibitor Hospitality Reception for a taste of local San Diego company Golden Coast Mead’s delicious mead products!
Where: Booth #1003
When: Tuesday, June 24 from 5-6:30pm

We hope to see you there!

An exciting couple of weeks at the MS in Patent Law

It’s been an exciting few weeks at Notre Dame for the MS in Patent Law. We had our first glimpses of spring over the weekend, with a couple of days in the 70s. Don’t worry, though, that’s all gone now and we’re expecting snow/freezing rain tonight.

As of last Wednesday, all of our students had finished and successfully defended their year-long Capstone projects. Each MS in Patent Law student has now written a full, fileable utility patent application for a Notre Dame-created invention — and they all look great!

On Tuesday evening, the University recognized this year’s winner of the 1st Source Bank Commercialization Award. Dr. Matt Leevy is this year’s winner, and won for a project for which Joseph Handen, a MS in Patent Law student, drafted a patent application. Joseph was also a participant in the Law School’s IP and Entrepreneurship clinic, and will be staying on over the summer as an intern in the clinic.

Finally, the winner of this year’s McCloskey Business plan competition was announced on Friday. The winning team, NanDio, is composed of two MBA students, an ESTEEM student, and the MS in Patent Law’s own Marcy Kreimier. Marcy has been working with this technology all year as part of her MSPL experience — it’s been her capstone patent application project!

The 1st Source Bank Commercialization Awards dinner -- MSPL is acknowledged at the bottom of the far-right poster.

The 1st Source Bank Commercialization Awards dinner — MSPL is acknowledged at the bottom of the far-right poster.


MS in Patent Law Still Accepting Applications

Notre Dame’s one-year MS in Patent Law is accepting applications for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Our students learn hands-on skills that prepare them for a career as a patent agent – helping people prepare and obtain patents. Patent agents work at the cutting edge of their technical area, and also at the cutting edge of the law.

Applicants must have a background in science or engineering. Strong applicants have good oral and written communication skills. Applicants with EE and advanced degrees are especially encouraged to apply.

We expect our class to fill soon. Apply early for best consideration!

MSPL Student on 1st Place ND Team in 2014 Cardinal Challenge

By Nina Welding

NanDio, a team of students from the University of Notre Dame, took first place in the 2014 Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge held February 14-15 by the University of Louisville College of Business. The team was honored for its business plan to commercialize an oral cancer detection device for dentists. All teams were judged on their written plan, the poise and professionalism of their presentation, and the viability of their venture. The NanDio device’s simplicity of use, speed of test results and accuracy of the test as an early detector gave the team the winning edge.

Mimicking the real-world process of developing and growing new commercial ventures, including raising venture capital, students in the Cardinal Challenge developed business plans based on their own ideas and technologies or on those developed by others. The NanDio team — graduate students Ben Miller, an MBA student in the Mendoza College of Business; Patrick Rice, a student in the Engineering, Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters program; Marcy Kreimier, who is pursuing her master’s in patent law at Notre Dame; and Daniel Miller, an M.D./Ph.D.  pre-doctoral fellow at the University of Missouri School of Medicine — along with faculty adviser Gaylene Anderson, senior commercialization officer at the Cleveland Clinic focused their efforts on biomarkers and a novel membrane sensor technology recently. The biomarkers were developed at the Mike and Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute by Miller and M. Sharon Stack, the Ann F. Dunne and Elizabeth Riley Director of the Mike and Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Notre Dame, while the membrane sensor was developed by Zdenek Slouka, a postdoctoral associate in the Center for Microfluidics and Medical Diagnostics (CMMD); Satyajyoti Senapati, a research professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Hsueh-Chia Chang, the Bayer Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and director of the CMMD. Chang and Senapati are members of the Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics Initiative at Notre Dame. The research was supported by a Walther Cancer Foundation grant to Professors Chang and Stack.

Each challenge team was also required to field a minimum of two but no more than five members, prepare an executive summary and present a 15-minute pitch describing the nature of the technology and potential of their proposal. This was followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session during which the judges — more than 25 successful venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and business leaders — quizzed team members about their presentation. Twelve of the 13 invited teams braved the wintery weather to compete.

As the winner, NanDio received $15,000; an invitation to the 2014 Global Venture Lab Investment Competition, which will be held May 1-3 in Austin, Texas; and a more than $125,000 “Launch in Louisville” package, which requires the winning team to locate and operate its business in Louisville within one year of receiving the award as well as an advertising package, $25,000 design and technical architecture services, logo development, a $10,000 cash economic incentive, website development, office space for a year, and more.

Other participants included Local Libations from the University of Texas at Austin (second place), A-76 Corrosion Inhibitors from Rice University (third place), Movellus Circuits from the University of Michigan (fourth place), Appro Therapeutics from the University of Louisville, CYANO Pharmaceutical from the University of Oregon, the University of Arkansas’ Datavis, Don’t Be Skiddish from the University of Manitoba, the University of Cincinnati’s Effuelent, FluidScreen from Yale University, Huntin’ Buddy from Kennesaw State University and NuFortis from the  University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Learn about the MSPL at an upcoming Open House

We’ll be hosting two Open Houses in February, where we’ll talk about the MSPL, and our upcoming Chicago and online offerings.

Chicago Center Open House

Date: Feb. 13, 2014
Time: 5:30-7pm (Central)
Location: 224 S. Michigan Ave, Suite 250 (Mezzanine level)


Notre Dame Campus Open House

Date: Feb. 17, 2014
Time: 6-7pm (Eastern)
Location: Innovation Park, 1400 E. Angela Blvd., South Bend, IN

MS in Patent Law at Carnegie Mellon University

Notre Dame’s MS in Patent Law (MSPL) prepares scientists and engineers to help inventors get patents.

A representative from the MSPL will be at Carnegie Mellon University on Tuesday, November 19, to give a presentation about careers in patent law.  The panel discussion will begin at 4:30pm and run until 5:30pm in Rangos 3 at the University Center. Come learn about careers in patent law and the MSPL from Dr. Karen Deak (Director of the MS in Patent Law and a registered patent agent) and Lester Fortney, JD (Patent attorney in Pittsburgh at The Webb Law Firm).

Pizza and drinks will be provided! Come learn about career options over dinner!!


The MSPL is a one-academic-year program, at Notre Dame’s campus in South Bend, IN. We prepare our students for practice as patent agents, through a curriculum of hands-on, practical learning. Candidates must be Patent Bar eligible, which means they have a science or engineering background.

Patent agents usually work at law firms and at R&D-based companies, where they help inventors protect their inventions by getting patents. Many of our graduates, like Kerisha Bowen, have gone on to work at law firms in major metropolitan areas. Our graduates are in high demand at law firms across the country.


If the MS in Patent Law is an option for you, make sure your completed application* is submitted by December 15, 2013! All students who submit complete applications by that date, and who then join the MSPL’s 2014-2015 cohort, will receive a $2000 discount on their tuition!

Also, if you like our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter, we’ll waive the $75 application fee.


We are also excited to announce that we are expanding our offerings and our locations to better serve more students! Starting in the 2014-2015 academic year, Notre Dame will offer a Certificate in Patent Prosecution at our Chicago campus.


If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the MSPL or the Chicago Certificate program, please contact the program Director, Prof. Karen Deak.

Marching with Mutts

On Saturday, the PATL students had the opportunity to help out Pet Refuge again (see post from Bootcamp week) at the annual Mutt March at St. Pat’s Park in South Bend.

There were many cute doggies – some in costume, some doing agility training, some sniffing other dogs. One of the best things was seeing the dogs who had been adopted from Pet Refuge with their fur-ever owners.

Some of us helped the doggie marchers and their humans find their way on the trails (if you haven’t been to this beautiful park – go now!). We also helped out at the vendor tables selling all things pet-related.

Elaine and David ready to hit the trails

Irish tailgating

On Saturday, I went to the ND-ASU game. On my way into the stadium, who should I run into but two of last year’s MSPL students – Beau Horner and Kary Yergler!!

Beau has recently taken a job in Austin, at a firm called Hulsey and Associates. Kary has just accepted an offer to start in Fish & Richardson’s Dallas office in mid-October. What a great surprise to be able to catch up with the two of them!

Beau Horner (MSPL '13), me, Kary Yergler (MSPL '13)

Beau Horner (MSPL ’13), me, Kary Yergler (MSPL ’13)