Tell us about your practice.
My practice is focused on helping clients identify patents that may pose a potential risk of infringement for their business and products and developing defenses against any patents that we identify. Our conclusions are often presented through a written opinion of counsel, which may also serve as one defense to an assertion that the client "willfully" infringed an identified patent. We sometimes work directly with clients in their product development process to "design-around" patents that relate to their products, which is a tremendous privilege and super fun. In addition, our group assists clients with obtaining patents (patent prosecution), exploiting patents (patent licensing and transactions), and enforcing and defending against patent assertions (patent litigation).
What is an interesting trend happening right now related to your field of practice?
This may be the most prolific period in the history of patent law. New patent rules took effect in 2012-2013 that created brand new mechanisms for challenging patents before the United States Patent & Trademark Office. A second round of revisions to the new rules has begun with a period for public comments seeking to address issues with patent office proceedings. The patent office itself has begun a program to enhance patent quality. The Supreme Court heard and decided more patent cases during the October 2013 term than in any other since the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (the exclusive forum for patent appeals) was established. And Congress is now considering multiple bills directed to curbing "abusive" patent litigation. It's a lot to keep up with.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in the legal field?
I chose to be a patent lawyer and went to law school for that purpose. I was an undergraduate engineering major and was dissatisfied with engineering careers that I found after I graduated. I had the opportunity to work on a project that involved patent analysis as part of a product design, and this is how I first learned about patent law. Once I did some research about patent law and lawyers, I immediately signed up to take the LSAT.