Harrity & Harrity Diversity & Inclusion Report

Harrity & Harrity, LLP has released its 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Report, focused on identifying and addressing the lack of diversity in the patent legal profession.

Our Diversity Mission has always been to promote and nurture a respectful, highly engaged, family-friendly, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of our talented team by leveraging and learning from our team’s diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, skills, talents, and capabilities. Our goal with this report is to educate the field on the root of the issue and both suggest and inspire innovative diversity-focused solutions to instigate change, so that the future of our field is representative of the diversity of our population.

Read the full report below or click here to download a PDF version

 

HARRITY & HARRITY DIVERSITY & INCLUSION REPORT
FEBRUARY 2021

THE ISSUE

The practice of law remains one of the least diverse professions in America.  Not only are men overrepresented in the practice of law, but they outnumber women in equity partner positions nearly five to one.  In addition, around 90 percent of equity partners are white, and approximately 9 percent of equity partners are racially diverse minorities with only one-third of them being racially diverse women.

Diversity statistics become even more troubling when we examine patent attorneys. The patent bar requires a hard science background, such as a degree in engineering, chemistry, physics, or biology; however, the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field has historically been dominated by men, who, as of 2017, account for 76 percent of all STEM jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce1.

Since 1950, less than 6 percent of USPTO registrants have been racially diverse (Fig. 1)2. For example, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, an average of 1.7 percent of registrants per year were racially diverse2.  During the 1990s, the average for racially diverse registrants increased to approximately 4 percent of registrants each year.  Despite significant increases in 2000 (16.2 percent increase) and 2013 (20.1 percent increase), respectively, the average USPTO registration rate for racial minorities since 2000 has hovered around 6.5 percent2.  Among racially diverse women, the numbers are significantly worse, hovering at an average of 1.7 percent of registrants since 19502.  In fact, there are more patent attorneys and agents named “Michael” in the United States than there are racially diverse women.  From 1950 until 1999, an average of 0.2 percent of USPTO registrations each year were racially diverse women, with the first being registered in the late 1980s2.  Since then, those numbers have improved very little, with an average of 2.2 percent of registrants being racially diverse women since 2000 (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Historical racial breakdown of patent practitioner registrations by year, including racially diverse female registrations

For patent firms seeking to increase diversity in their practice, existing diversity data is problematic.  For starters, less than 15 percent of registered practitioners are diverse (race, gender, LGBTQ+, individuals with disabilities) in the areas of computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering2.  As registered patent practitioners move along their career paths, there is inevitable attrition, as reported in the Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey report3.  Accordingly, it will be difficult for firms practicing in the areas of computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering to improve their diversity numbers, particularly at the partnership level, given that the diversity numbers are so low before adjusting for attrition.

Diversity of the patent bar is not only important to those practicing in this profession- it is essential for broadening participation in the innovation process by underrepresented groups.  Innovation by underrepresented groups will start to improve when they can go to patent attorneys who understand them, who look like them, and who can relate to them. Lowering barriers to the innovation ecosystem to include all groups of people will foster a more robust economy.

CURRENT APPROACHES

The lack of diversity in the field of patent law is no secret, and several approaches have been tried in an effort to drive change, with two of the most popular approaches being internship and mentoring programs.  These programs help STEM/law students and new patent agents/attorneys improve their skillsets; however, these approaches do little to move the diversity needle in a meaningful way.  If they were truly impactful, we’d have seen more significant results over the many years these programs have existed.  Even if internships and mentorships focus strictly on helping diverse groups, the programs still only help the minuscule number of diverse individuals who are already in the field, which does nothing to increase overall diversity numbers in patent law.

The Mansfield Rule® is another well-meaning approach for addressing diversity in the legal profession, specifically when it comes to diversity within leadership roles.  To achieve Mansfield Certification®, law firms are required to demonstrate progress in increasing diversity in senior recruitment and leadership decisions by affirmatively considering a minimum of 30 percent diverse candidates for these roles, including women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+, and lawyers with disabilities.  Today, women account for a mere 20 percent of all USPTO registered attorneys and just 5 percent of all registered patent attorneys are racially diverse2.  Therefore, it becomes statistically impossible for every patent law firm to have diverse candidates make up 30 percent of their leadership talent pool. The data doesn’t get much better for the general legal profession either, which has less restrictive requirements to practice as compared to patent law.  As of 2019, all racial minorities combined make up just 17.48 percent of practicing attorneys, and only 3.43 percent of all attorneys include individuals with disabilities or that are openly LGBTQ+3.  While women account for just over 36 percent of all attorneys, women of color only account for 9 percent (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. 2019 Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey overall law firm demographics

The Coca-Cola® “Heavy Stick” approach is similar to the Mansfield Rule®; however, it actively punishes firms that do not meet certain diversity requirements.  According to a January 2021 article by Bloomberg Law4, “Coca-Cola® is forcing its outside counsel to staff at least 30% of new matters with diverse attorneys, with at least half of that billable time going to Black lawyers in particular.” The corporation’s General Counsel, Bradley Gayton, stated he hopes to increase the overall diverse billable hour staffing requirement to 50% within the next two years, calling the initiative “one of the legal industry’s most rigorous outside counsel diversity programs yet” and withholding a nonrefundable 30 percent of fees from firms that fail to meet diverse staffing metrics4.

As with the Mansfield Rule®, this approach poses several logistical issues based on the fact that only 3.45 percent of attorneys are Black (Fig. 3).  Even after adding in all racially diverse attorneys, Coca-Cola® is limiting its legal talent force to less than 18 percent of the legal field (Fig. 3).  Applying this approach to the patent field produces even worse results.  For example, 86.5 percent of all intellectual property attorneys in the United States are Caucasian, meaning just 13.5 percent are racially diverse5.  Looking at the patent field specifically, merely 1.7 percent, or 578 of the total 34,000 registered patent attorneys are Black (Fig. 4).

The “Heavy Stick” approach is sure to result in some level of quality reduction for client work products, because work is assigned based on physical characteristics instead of relevant legal skills and experience.  Coca-Cola®, and others adopting the “Heavy Stick” approach, should expect a downward shift in quality, and perhaps also timeliness, efficiency, and expertise, if they decide to eliminate their existing standards in favor of this new diversity driven approach.

The overriding problem among the diversity approaches discussed above is that none address the root cause of the diversity issue: the numbers.  It may be idealistic for an organization to say that it will hire a specific number of diverse candidates or counsel; however, when it comes time to make diverse hires, where will these diverse individuals come from?  If, for example, every organization requires that 30% of their work goes to Black patent attorneys and, as we know, there is a pool of 578 of them5, how much work can those attorneys handle?  What happens to the firms whose fees are withheld because these 578 attorneys already have too much work on their plates?  How is it statistically viable to meet these standards, and what impact will it have on the health and work/life balance of the 578 attorneys?

HARRITY ADVOCATES FOR A NEW APPROACH

For the reasons above, we believe that the Coca-Cola® “Heavy Stick” approach (i.e., an approach that punishes law firms that do not meet certain metrics) is not the correct approach to improve diversity in the legal profession, especially when the standards cannot be met with today’s pool of diverse attorneys.  Instead, we recommend a “Carrot” approach, which rewards firms that innovate when it comes to diversity solutions.  With the “Carrot” approach, companies can require firms to create and implement new diversity solutions, and explain how these solutions actually help solve the diversity numbers problem in the legal profession.  The expectation of firms to create programs that bring more diverse candidates into the field, rather than merely manipulating data to check boxes or achieve unrealistic quotas, will help address the issue from the ground up.  Companies should encourage and reward innovative and disruptive diversity solutions however they see fit.  Whether this be awarding the firms with the most disruptive and beneficial solutions with a nominal monetary amount, investing in programs themselves through sponsorships or scholarships, or other applicable incentives, firms will switch their focus from scrambling to find diverse attorneys or recruiting from competing firms to making a lasting impact in the field.

HARRITY’S DIVERSITY SOLUTIONS

Our Diversity Mission has always been to promote and nurture a respectful, highly engaged, family-friendly, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of our talented team by leveraging and learning from our team’s diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, skills, talents, and capabilities.  At Harrity & Harrity, we are committed to The Rooney Rule 2.0, a hiring policy we pioneered that demonstrates our firm’s commitment to our Diversity Mission is not just lip service.

The Rooney Rule is a National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview one minority candidate for every head coaching or senior football operations job opening.  However, this means that if 1,000 individuals apply to the opening, only one minority individual needs to be considered and the other 999 can be white males.  Our Rooney Rule 2.0 takes this policy a step further; we are committed to interviewing one female or minority candidate for every male, non-minority candidate interviewed for any position at our firm.  While this is similar to the Mansfield Rule® in that diverse candidates are considered, the Rooney Rule 2.0 applies to all positions at the firm, not just leadership roles.  Prior to implementing our Rooney Rule 2.0 in January of 2016, 8 percent of Harrity & Harrity attorneys were diverse.  Today, 30 percent of our attorneys are diverse, nearly quadrupling our diversity numbers in five years through the implementation of just one policy.

We also remain committed to producing top quality work for our clients, so unlike the “Heavy Stick” approach that selects candidates based on physical characteristics, our candidates must go through a rigorous hiring process, which includes skills-based testing.  Once a candidate submits their test, all identifying information is removed to eliminate potential scoring bias and is replaced with an anonymized code prior to sending the test to a separate grading team.  We aspire to grow our diversity numbers; however, we cannot sacrifice the quality of our work or the value of our clients’ IP assets.  Our process allows candidates to be screened based solely on their abilities, rather than physical characteristics.  Once hired, every individual is reviewed based on a scorecard that relates to their position and includes strictly objective metrics to be graded on (timeliness, work product volume, efficiency, etc.).  This process allows individuals to be reviewed solely based on their job performance, and again removes the likelihood of bias.

We recognize that our high standards for quality limit the overall pool of eligible candidates, and that not enough diverse individuals exist in that pool in the first place.  To fix the root cause of this problem – the lack of diversity in the legal profession – requires a long-term approach to be measured in years, not months or days.  Several factors contribute to this problem, which, in turn, requires a multi-pronged solution:

  1. Insufficient number of diverse students entering law school. This aspect requires educating young diverse individuals about legal career opportunities in high school and undergraduate programs; putting programs in place to steer these individuals toward law school (e.g., pre-law classes, scholarships, tutoring for LSAT, summer internships, etc.); and encouraging underrepresented groups to participate by addressing and eliminating historical obstacles (e.g., lack of financial resources, college readiness, institutional stereotypes, lack of focus and self-motivation, lack of assistance and engagement6).  This aspect has at least a 3-year lead time to see results.
  2. Insufficient number of diverse students entering STEM programs (which is a prerequisite to a career in patent law). This aspect must be tackled at the middle school and high school levels to increase enrollments in undergraduate programs.  The above approach can be applied when students are in middle and high school STEM programs to inform them of legal opportunities.  This aspect has at least a 2-year lead time (assuming high school juniors are the most advanced targets) for changing college admission rates, and at least 6 years before individuals graduate high school, complete undergraduate degrees, and can enter law school.  Realistically, it will take 7 to 9 years before law school graduation demographics change noticeably for the patent field under this solution.
  3. Insufficient number of mid and upper-level attorneys that are diverse. This aspect requires that firms provide targeted training, mentoring, and work opportunities to diverse attorneys to grow their skills and help them advance within firms.  Merely advancing people based on physical characteristics and regardless of skillset will impair quality delivered to clients and will blemish diversity efforts going forward.  This aspect has at least a one-year lead time because meaningful training for a narrow skillset takes at least a year to complete.  Lead time will be longer for more varied or advanced skillsets.

Using this knowledge, Harrity’s Diversity Committee has dedicated many hours to creating, implementing, and evolving Diversity Programs that are focused on serving the legal community by helping to increase the number of diverse legal practitioners and enhancing their quality of practice in patent law.

Minority Firm Incubator Program:  We hired our first Minority Firm Incubator (MFI) candidate in 2020.  This program was established to help train, cultivate, and launch minority-owned patent law firms.  The program consists of four phases: Drafting Patent Applications, Prosecuting Patent Applications, Firm Management, and Firm Launch.  In the fourth year, program participants have the tools, knowledge, and experience required to launch their own patent law firms with the added benefit of established corporate relationships based on Harrity working with our clients to send work to a graduate’s new firm.  Firm leaders will receive ongoing mentorship from Harrity to help ensure their success.  The goal of the program is to increase the number of minority owned law firms.  Incubator programs are vital because they help jumpstart a new law firm in the same way venture capital funding helps startups ramp up their operations.  Minority-owned firms are less likely to have access to the capital and resources needed to run a sustainable business, and the Harrity MFI reduces these obstacles by connecting new firms with clients and by providing personalized training to the firm’s leadership team.

Minority Firm Incubator 2.0:  In an attempt to make our Minority Firm Incubator program more impactful to the patent field, we are developing an enhanced version of our program.  This program will be both a virtual and condensed version of our current MFI and focus on helping diverse individuals launch their own patent firms and help existing, struggling minority-owned firms to succeed.  The program will teach best practices of firm management and focus on improving quality processes within the firms, which will in turn allow them to give better pitches, win more business, and produce higher quality work product.

Annual Women’s Patent Law Workshop:  We are currently planning our Fourth Annual Women’s Workshop, to be held May 2021.  This four-day virtual workshop introduces the field of patent law to female science and engineering students, law school students, and recent graduates.  Women from across the country join us for skills training in patent preparation, prosecution, and writing; career and resume mentoring; patent bar preparation; and to learn first-hand from partners at major law firms, leaders in university tech transfer, and in-house counsel about their experiences as women in the legal field.  By engaging women at the early stages of their careers, we hope to encourage them to join the patent field and provide them with tools to do so successfully.

The Harrity Academy: Launched in September of 2020, the Harrity Academy is a free virtual program comprised of three courses that introduce diverse participants to the field of patent law; provide exclusive training, practice materials, and mentorship; and teach how to effectively and efficiently draft and prosecute high-quality patent applications.  The goal of this program is to help increase the number of diverse candidates entering the patent field by targeting diverse students in STEM programs and law schools; newly practicing attorneys; and early career engineers.  Courses are held each Spring and Fall, with 20 participants per class, and are voluntarily taught by Harrity attorneys.

The Diversity Channel:  In January 2021, Harrity launched The Diversity Channel, a collection of resources aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in the patent field by sharing ideas and sparking conversations.  The channel includes published articles on the issues surrounding diversity in the legal field; Driving Diversity, a weekly vlog produced by Diversity Co-Chair Elaine Spector with consumable tips to drive diversity within an organization; and Diversity Dialogue, a series of webinars held throughout the year featuring diversity-thought leaders that provide the benefits, challenges, and processes associated with increasing diversity in the patent field.

Patent Pathways:  While each of our Diversity Programs have the implicit goal of encouraging diversity and inclusion in the patent legal field, Patent Pathways will have the most direct impact on the least represented group (i.e., Black female patent practitioners), with a goal of increasing the number of Black female registered patent practitioners.  The program includes an introduction to patent careers, several weeks of patent preparation and prosecution training, and a clear pathway to taking and passing the patent bar.  This program will include corporate sponsorships for patent bar preparation courses as well as taking the bar, and potential law school scholarships offered to those who pass the patent bar.  Patent Pathways participants will also be matched with patent attorneys for ongoing mentorship opportunities and maintain a network of other Patent Pathway participants to help each other succeed throughout their careers.

Harrity’s Tutoring Program:  While internships and mentoring programs help diverse individuals who are already in the field, tutoring programs aimed at middle and high school students in math and science classes focus on encouraging diverse individuals to enter the patent field.  By enlightening students, at a young age, to education opportunities in the STEM field, we provide students with the encouragement needed to become interested in a patent law career, and give them the tools they need to pursue such a career.  Our proposed program consists of three phases:

Phase 1 – Provide free STEM tutoring to girls/women who are interested in STEM, starting as early as middle school and continuing through college.  This program will help increase the number of women who go to college to pursue a STEM degree and greatly increase the chances that they graduate with such a degree.  We recommend that all participants of this program be required to partake in free mentoring sessions, which will include an introduction to the patent field.

Phase 2 – Expand the program to include all categories of diverse students.

Phase 3 – Expand the group of schools and colleges involved.

Possible Expansion – Provide free English tutoring (since writing is an important part of a career in patent law).

The overall goal of the program is to increase the percentage of diverse USPTO-registered patent professionals in the patent field so as to better represent the diversity of the U.S. population.  This program requires partnering with skilled tutors for complex STEM courses and requires the support of corporate sponsors.

Internal Progress: In early 2020, we named our first female partner, Elaine Spector.  Along with her twenty years of experience in the patent field, Elaine serves as Co-Chair of the Harrity Diversity Committee, Chair of the AIPLA Women in IP Law Committee’s Global Networking Event and Outreach Subcommittee, Vice-Chair of IPO’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Co-Chair of IPO’s Diversity & Inclusion Outreach Subcommittee, and a Board Member and Secretary at the non-profit No More Stolen Childhoods.

As a firm, we are actively involved with several organizations that promote Diversity within the legal community:  AIPLA- Women in IP Law Committee; Association of Legal Administrators, ChIPs; IPO Diversity & Inclusion Committee; and Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA).  We will also be conducting monthly Affinity Group meetings led by Edward Kim, former president of the largest government-affinity group, USPTO-Asian Pacific American Network (APANET).  In addition, we are proud to report that all employees at the firm completed diversity and unconscious bias training in the last year.  We continue to work every day to ensure inclusion within our firm through open communication, weekly leadership check-in calls, and regular committee meetings which allow any member of our firm to participate in brainstorming initiatives for all aspects of our business development, including our Diversity Committee.

HARRITY SEEKS PARTNERS TO IMPROVE THE PATENT LAW PROFESSION

Imagine the future of our legal profession if companies adopted our proposed Carrot approach, where a majority of law firms are developing new and disruptive diversity programs to finally make the diversity issue a thing of the past. One of the largest obstacles we face in this battle is a lack of action. While current approaches attempt to address internal diversity counts, rarely are organizations creating external programs directed at fixing the root cause of the issue. The legal profession first needs to recognize that the problem is not that firms do not want to hire diverse candidates, but that a sufficient number of diverse candidates do not exist in the field in the first place. Using this knowledge, organizations that require law firms to seek practical and attainable solutions that bring more diverse individuals into patent law will be the ones responsible for revolutionizing the field with respect to diversity. In turn, we can create proportionate opportunities for diverse individuals to thrive in the field, such as described in the Mansfield Rule® and Coca-Cola® approaches.

That being said, Harrity & Harrity is currently taking action to tackle this issue head-on. As outlined in our aforementioned Diversity Programs section, we have dissected the causes of the diversity issue and created realistic plans of action to begin addressing diversity issues from the ground-up. While we recognize that this will be a long-term effort, we are confident that we can drive the field in the right direction, beginning now.

Next Steps:

Patent Pathways

This program is scheduled to launch in Spring 2022. Materials for patent training will be provided by Harrity, and classes will be taught by both Harrity attorneys and other leaders in the patent field. The goal of this program is to increase the number of Black female registered patent practitioners; however, this training is only successful if participants actually go on to take the patent bar. This opens up several partnership opportunities, including:

1. Exclusive Program Sponsorship: Pay for patent bar preparation course, patent bar exam, and USPTO registration fees for all of the women who participate in our Patent Pathways program. This equates to $500 per preparation course, $400 per patent bar exam and $100 per registration for up to 20 women in the class at a time.

2. Non-exclusive Program Sponsorship: Pay for one or more women for one or more stages of the patent bar registration process. This equates to roughly $500 per preparation course, $400 per patent bar exam and/or $100 per registration.

3. Scholarships: Offer law school scholarships to any number of women who both complete the Patent Pathways training and obtain registration with the USPTO. The amount of any particular scholarship is discretionary.

Harrity’s Tutoring Program

Providing diverse students with the resources needed to succeed in the STEM field at a young age will increase the likelihood of them going on to pursue a degree and a career in STEM, which is a critical first step for entering the field of patent law. With a long-term goal of increasing the percentage of diverse USPTO-registered patent professionals, students need to both be aware of this opportunity, and be equipped to succeed should they pursue it, which this program accomplishes. Our tutoring program will have several partnership opportunities, including:

1. Exclusive Program Sponsorship: Pay for full tutoring program for entire participant group, which includes multiple tutors for multiple schools. (cost TBD)

2. Non-exclusive Program Sponsorship: Pay for one or more tutors for one or more students. (cost TBD)

3. Scholarships: Offer undergraduate scholarships to any number of students who complete the tutoring program and enter a STEM program at an accredited university. The amount of any particular scholarship is discretionary.

We are actively seeking partners to join us in transforming the legal profession to one that mirrors the diverse landscape of our society as a whole. This starts with giving diverse individuals the tools required to enter and succeed in the patent field and encouraging early interest in pursuing a career in patent law. We feel that our Patent Pathways and Tutoring Program will do exactly that. However, these programs require the partnership of corporations and/or law firms to achieve a significant, nationwide impact. Will you join Harrity on the forefront of this transformation?

 

For more information on Harrity’s diversity initiatives, click here.  To contact us regarding this report, please email info@harrityllp.com.

 

CITATIONS

  1. Women in STEM: 2017 Update,” U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Office of the Chief Economist ESA Issue Brief #06-17 (November 2017).
  2. Diversity in Patent Law: A Data Analysis of Diversity in the Patent Practice by Technology Background and Region,” Landslide® Magazine Vol. 13 Num. 1 (September 2020).
  3. Law Firm Diversity Survey, Overall Law Firm Demographics,” Vault & Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Report 4 (March 2020).
  4. Coke GC Tired of ‘Good Intentions,’ Wants Firm Diversity Now,” Bloomberg Law (January 28, 2021).
  5. Dulabaum, Nina L.  “Barriers to Academic Success: A Qualitative Study of African American and Latino Male Students,” Innovation Showcase 11:6. League for Innovation in the Community College (June 2016).

The names and logos of third-party products and companies used in the materials are the property of their respective owners and may also be trademarks.

Harrity Named Top Patent Firm by Juristat

Harrity & Harrity has been named a Top Firm of 2020 by Juristat in their annual patent firm rankings by technology area. Harrity ranked #3 in Tech Center 2400 and #19 in Tech Center 2800.

According to Juristat, rankings consider both volume and performance in specific technology centers and are based on how well a firm performed in three key metrics over a 12-month period. These metrics are:

  • Number of applications filed
  • Allowance rate
  • Average number of office actions before allowance

This analysis was conducted between November 2020 and January 2021, and analyzed public applications disposed (or in the case of the first metric, applications filed) between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018. To qualify for inclusion, a firm must have filed a minimum of 100 applications in the tech center during that time period. This ensures the firm has extensive experience in that technology center and provides an appropriate-sized dataset the evaluate performance metrics. For our analysis, we attributed applications to the firm listed on the application at the time of disposition. We also excluded foreign priority applications and design applications from this analysis.

Click HERE to learn more.

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 4

Join Harrity’s Elaine Spector as she shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in her weekly vlog, ‘Driving Diversity.’

 

EPISODE FOUR | REVAMP YOUR INTERVIEW PROCESS

To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, including all Driving Diversity episodes, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 3

Join Harrity’s Elaine Spector as she shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in her weekly vlog, ‘Driving Diversity.’

 

EPISODE THREE | WORDING YOUR JOB POST

 

To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, including all Driving Diversity episodes, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Harrity 4 Charity Matches $25,000 of Donations for Congenital Heart Defect Awareness

Harrity 4 Charity will be matching up to $25,000 of donations made to the American Heart Association during CHD Awareness Week (February 7-14th).

A congenital heart defect (CHD) is a structural problem with the heart that is present at birth. It is the most common type of birth defect in infants, affecting 40,000 children every year. About 25% of infants born with CHD will require invasive procedures or surgery in their first year of life. We have chosen this week to launch our matching campaign in order to raise awareness and promote support for the life-saving treatments provided by the American Heart Association to affected children. One of those children is Barrett Pick, son of Harrity’s Docketing Manager, Michael Pick.

Barrett was born on October 18, 2018 with both Down Syndrome and a congenital heart defect known as a complete Atrioventricular Canal Defect. Essentially, this is a large hole in the center of the heart where the tissue fails to grow together to properly form the walls and valves between the heart’s four chambers. This causes the oxygen-rich blood coming into the heart from the lungs to mix with the oxygen-depleted blood coming into the heart from the rest of the body. This inefficiency was causing Barrett’s heart and lungs to work harder to supply the oxygen his body needed, and he was immediately placed in neonatal intensive care where he languished day after day. Although the doctors preferred to wait until he was at least four months old before attempting to repair his heart surgically, it was determined that he needed the repair as soon as possible and his case was put before the hospital’s surgical board and was ultimately approved. He underwent his surgery at 7 weeks old, and after some minor post-operation setbacks, his condition began to rapidly improve. Thanks to the amazing care he received from the cardiology team at Seattle Children’s Hospital, we were finally able to bring him home on New Year’s Eve. Barrett is now a healthy and active toddler who can steal your heart with a wave and a smile. 

About half of all infants born with Down Syndrome have some form of congenital heart defect. Thanks to the medical advances made possible by ongoing research funded by the American Heart Association and similar charities, children like Barrett are given the opportunity to thrive and lead active and healthy lives.

Harrity 4 Charity will be matching up to $25,000 of donations made during CHD Awareness Week starting Sunday, February 7th.  We would like to encourage individuals and teams to both register for the Lawyers Have Heart race and make a donation during registration to raise money and awareness for CHD.  All donations made during this week will count towards the $25K match to help children like Barrett every day.

Click here to register for the race for free and make a donation in honor of CHD Awareness Week.

To learn more about giving back through Harrity 4 Charity, click here.

 

Tell Me Something Good with John Harrity

Partner John Harrity discusses the origins of Harrity 4 Charity, our Diversity Initiatives, and why giving back is so important to our firm culture with On the Ball’s Steve Nudelberg as part of his “Tell Me Something Good” segment.

John highlights changing our firm’s mindset to be “serving-others” focused. Once Harrity 4 Charity was established, he says, “we asked whats the next giving back thing? We went right to diversity…We have to be foundational with what we are doing.”

 

Learn more about Harrity 4 Charity here and see all of our Diversity Initiatives here. Open positions can be found at harrityllp.com/careers.

Elaine Spector Presents at 2021 TIGER Innovation Conference: Advancing Equity in Innovation

Harrity’s Elaine Spector, joined by Ayana Marshall, presented on diversity-related issues in the field of IP for Emory Law’s 2021 TIGER Innovation Conference: Advancing Equity in Innovation. The conference explored issues concerning gender and racial gaps in the innovation system such as access to resources for entrepreneurs who are women and people of color and the underrepresentation of diverse inventors in the patent system and included several expert speakers in this area.

Elaine’s presentation focused on Diversity in Patent Law: A Data Analysis of Diversity in the Patent Practice by Technology Background and Region, a topic on which Elaine & data analyst LaTia Brand co-authored an article of the same title. Elaine also discussed several of Harrity’s Diversity Initiatives aimed at addressing the lack of diversity in our field by increasing the pool of diverse candidates and providing resources for those individuals to succeed.

You can watch the full presentation here:
Part 1

Part 2


To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 2

Join Harrity’s Elaine Spector as she shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in her weekly vlog, ‘Driving Diversity.’

EPISODE TWO | INCREASE THE POOL

To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, including all Driving Diversity episodes, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Harrity to Donate to Charity & Gift Oculus Quests to Winners of This Challenge

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is launching a new challenge to test participants’ ability to draft an overview description and a claim for an electronic invention. Winners of the challenge will receive a free Oculus Quest Virtual Reality Headset!

The Harrity Writing Sample Test is used in our application process to screen candidates based on their patent application writing ability.  All identifying information is removed prior to grading the test in order to remove any unconscious bias and ensure that the test is evaluated solely on the quality of the candidate’s submission.  For this challenge, the Writing Sample Test will be graded based on four areas of criteria: Writing, Technical Proficiency, Instructions, and Claim.  Contestants must earn a minimum passing score of 90 points (out of 100) to win an Oculus.  The test takes, on average, 2 hours to complete. While Harrity receives hundreds of applications every year, less than 10% of applicants pass the Writing Sample Test.

While only the top performers will win an Oculus, Harrity is adding another reason to participate. The firm will donate $100 to its Harrity 4 Charity partner charities for every individual that takes the test. Participants can choose how to divide up the donation between the American Heart Association, ZERO: The End of Prostate Cancer, Inova Children’s Hospital, and No More Stolen Childhoods.

If you would like to partake in the challenge, the deadline to submit your Writing Sample Test is Monday, March 1st, 2021. Winners will be notified by email and announced to our Social Media Pages on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021Feedback will be provided to all contestants via email whether or not they win the challenge, with the goal of helping each participant improve their writing skills.

There is a limit of one prize per person. You must be a registered patent agent or attorney with the USPTO to enter. 

Visit harrityllp.com/wst to take the challenge today!

 

IPWatchdog on Who Should Head the USPTO, ft. Eli Mazour

The Right Choice: IP Stakeholders Emphasize Practical Experience, Strong IP Advocacy in Next USPTO Head

By Gene Quinn

Harrity Partner Eli Mazour is featured in IPWatchdog’s recent article as an IP expert regarding what the profile of the next USPTO Director should look like.

January 26, 2021 (IPWatchdog) At 12:00pm EST on January 20, 2021, Joe Biden was sworn in as America’s 46th President. Over the next several months he and his staff will be working to fill thousands of positions within the federal government that have become vacant due to resignations. This is normal and expected. At the end of each presidential term all presidential appointees offer their resignation, which can then either be accepted or not at the discretion of the President.

The position of Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as well as Deputy, is now vacant. Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld has been vested with the authority to act with the powers of the Under Secretary of Commerce for IP and Director of the USPTO, although he has not been given the title Acting Director. This is almost certainly due to the fact that no one in the federal government can hold a title of Acting head of an agency for more than 270 days.

In our space, the position of Under Secretary and Director of the USPTO is a front-line, top-level position. In the greater political scheme, it is likely we will not have an appointee for many months. President Obama did not nominate David Kappos until June 18 and President Trump did not nominate Andrei Iancu until August 26.

There are many capable people—all realistic, based on party affiliation—who should be considered by the Biden Administration for nomination as Under Secretary of Commerce for IP, but in my opinion several names stand out above everyone else based on their background, ties with the tech sector, and what appears to be a preference on the part of President Biden (at least so far) to appoint those with close ties to the Obama Administration and longstanding ties to the Democratic party..

See these suggestions, and what Eli and the other experts have to say on IPwatchdog.com.

 

 

Driving Diversity with Elaine Spector | Episode 1

Join Harrity’s Elaine Spector as she shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in her weekly vlog, ‘Driving Diversity.’
EPISODE ONE | THE ISSUE

To learn more about Harrity’s diversity efforts, visit harrityllp.com/diversity. For more diversity resources, including all Driving Diversity episodes, check out The Diversity Channel.

 

Harrity 4 Charity Donations Surpass One Million Dollars

Fairfax, VA (January 25, 2021) Harrity 4 Charity donations have surpassed one million dollars.  Harrity 4 Charity, which began in 2016, reflects our firm’s nationwide giving-back initiative in addition to our partnership with four critical charities: The American Heart Association, ZERO: The End of Prostate Cancer, Inova Children’s Hospital, and No More Stolen Childhoods.

This milestone is only possible due to our partners’ commitment to donate 5% of all firm profits to charity and the generosity of all 60 Harrity employees, who each donate a portion of their paycheck to these causes.

To learn more about giving back through Harrity 4 Charity, click here.

 

IAM Covers the 2020 Top Patent Firms List by Harrity Analytics

(January 22, 2021) IAM Media highlights the top patent prosecution firms in the U.S. in the last year using data from the 2020 Top Patent Firms List. The list, produced by the Harrity Patent Analytics Team, ranks firms based on the total number of US utility patents that issued in 2020 where the patent firms were listed on the front of the utility patents. The rankings include both law firms and in-house filing operations.

The article, by Bridget Diakun, covers annual data on the most active US patent prosecution firms and reveals which secured the most grants for clients, as well the year’s biggest movers. Read the full article here. 

 

About Harrity Patent Analytics

Harrity Patent Analytics, an analytical team within the boutique IP law firm of Harrity & Harrity, LLP, uses cutting-edge capabilities to analyze patent data and extract insights for clients to use when making strategic decisions regarding patent portfolios. Patent 300® companies rely on Harrity Patent Analytics services to understand their patent portfolios, the patent portfolios of their competitors, and patent office trends around the world. For more information, visit harrityllp.com/services/patent-analytics/.

The Business Voice Features Harrity & Harrity Charity Matching

Harrity & Harrity’s efforts to help the American Heart Association in their mission to promote longer, healthier lives has been recognized in The Business Voice from the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

Through the end of 2020, Harrity doubled all American Heart Association donations and registration fees up to $100,000 for the Lawyers Have Heart 10k, 5k, and Fun Walk.

“As a person who had his life saved by the AHA’s science, this cause is beyond important to me and my family,” said John Harrity, Harrity & Harrity LLP’s Co-Founding Partner. “Our firm wanted to give in a big way and we hope this inspires others to do the same.”

Learn more about giving back through Harrity 4 Charity here.

Harrity Obtains 8,000 Patents

Harrity is excited to announce that we have obtained our 8,000th patent! Our team of superstars is dedicated to providing our clients with the highest quality patents in the field, and we’re proud to have achieved this milestone. Congratulations to each member of our team for their hard work to make this happen!

Learn more about Harrity’s patent services here.

Patent 300 Competitive Intelligence & Patent Practice Decision Making

Patent Analytics In Action – Using The Patent 300® Dashboard

Patent Analytics In Action – Using The Patent 300® Dashboard

January 19, 2021 – Rocky Berndsen, Head of Analytics at Harrity, gave a webinar on how companies and law firms can use the Patent 300® Dashboard to understand their own portfolio, their competitors, and the patent field in general.  A video of the entire webinar can be found below.

The demonstration included a deep dive into how to analyze the technology breakdown for a company’s patent portfolio, and how to benchmark patent prosecution statistics across companies patenting in the same technology areas.  Rocky demonstrated how companies and law firms can use the “Company By Law Firm” report to benchmark the patent practice efficiency of the outside counsel that are prosecuting the patent applications for a company.

The webinar then transitioned to a cost-based analytics report called the “Company by Costs”, which gives users the ability to customize the analysis by selecting their own outside counsel fees.  The report provides users with an “Average Cost Per Patent” value by law firm, that users can use to benchmark outside counsel performance, and identify areas within the practice to reduce cost and practice more efficiently.

The “Gap Analysis” demonstration showed how easy it can be to compare the patent portfolios of two companies with the click of a button.  In-house counsel use this report to easily visualize two portfolios side by side and identify whitespaces and portfolio overlap.

The webinar then transitioned to how law firms can use the dashboard for law firm client development and new client business development.  Using the “Law Firm by Client” report, law firms can visualize all of their patent prosecution statistics for a given client to identify strengths and weaknesses that can be used to promote their firm’s services to their clients and to make modifications to their current practice to deliver better services.

For detailed analytics on the patent field, Harrity Patent Analytics makes available the Patent 300® Dashboard, the intellectual property industry’s premier resource for patent insights and competitive intelligence on the world’s leaders in technology.  It contains analytics on more than 6,000,000 patents, including patent portfolio analyses, detailed patent prosecution insights, technology area breakdowns, and portfolio cost and budget analytics.

About Harrity Patent Analytics

Harrity Patent Analytics, an analytical team within the boutique IP law firm of Harrity & Harrity, LLP, uses cutting-edge capabilities to analyze patent data and extract insights for clients to use when making strategic decisions regarding patent portfolios. Patent 300® companies rely on Harrity Patent Analytics services to understand their patent portfolios, the patent portfolios of their competitors, and patent office trends around the world. For more information, visit harrityllp.com/services/patent-analytics/.

Patent 300 Harrity Analytics

Harrity Patent Analytics Releases The 2021 Patent 300® List

HARRITY PATENT ANALYTICS RELEASES THE 2021 PATENT 300® LIST

List ranks top 300 companies, organizations, and universities in the patent field

WASHINGTON (January 15, 2021) – Harrity Patent Analytics today released the publication of its inaugural Patent 300® List.  The list ranks the top 300 companies, organizations and universities in the patent field based on the total number of U.S. utility patents.  The top 10 from the Patent 300® List includes:

  1. IBM (9435)
  2. Samsung (8539)
  3. LG Corporation (5112)
  4. Canon (3689)
  5. Intel (3284)
  6. Raytheon Technologies (3213)
  7. Huawei (3178)
  8. Microsoft (2972)
  9. TSMC (2892)
  10. Sony (2886)

For detailed analytics on the Patent 300®, Harrity Patent Analytics makes available the Patent 300® Dashboard, the intellectual property industry’s premier resource for patent insights and competitive intelligence on the world’s leaders in technology.  It contains analytics on more than 6,000,000 patents, including patent portfolio analyses, detailed patent prosecution insights, technology area breakdowns, and portfolio cost and budget analytics.

The Patent 300® Dashboard provides in-house counsel, law firm partners, and c-suite executives with a detailed analysis of the world’s technology leaders, ranging from technology giants such as IBM (ranked #1) and Samsung (ranked #2), to leading universities such as MIT (ranked #106) and Johns Hopkins University (ranked #232), to newcomers including Palantir (ranked #248) and Techtronic Industries (ranked #278).  The list represents 54 percent of the more than 350,000 U.S. patents issued in 2020.

“The Patent 300® List identifies the global technology leaders obtaining patents in the United States,” said Rocky Berndsen, Head of Analytics for Harrity & Harrity. “The data contained in the Patent 300® Dashboard is invaluable information to companies, in-house counsel and law firms because it identifies the key players and summarizes what is happening today in the patent world.”

A ranking of the top 300 companies, organizations and universities can be found here.

About Harrity Patent Analytics

Harrity Patent Analytics, an analytical team within the boutique IP law firm of Harrity & Harrity, LLP, uses cutting-edge capabilities to analyze patent data and extract insights for clients to use when making strategic decisions regarding patent portfolios. Patent 300® companies rely on Harrity Patent Analytics services to understand their patent portfolios, the patent portfolios of their competitors, and patent office trends around the world. For more information, visit harrityllp.com/services/patent-analytics/.

 

Law360: This Firm Secured The Most Utility Patents Again In 2020

Law360 (January 15, 2021, 11:34 PM EST) — One law firm has scored over 350 more utility patents in 2020 than the next closest firm, marking the sixth consecutive year it has landed the No. 1 spot in the latest ranking of law firms…

“You can see which patent firms are making big moves up and down in our field,” Harrity’s head of patent analytics, Rocky Berndsen, said in a statement. “The impact of a firm merger or one or more partners leaving a firm can be seen in the data. Law firms and companies are using the prosecution data from last year’s patents to make strategic decisions in their practice.”

Read the full article on the Top Patent Firms of 2020, by Dave Simpson, on Law360.

The 2020 Top Patent Firms List, produced by the Harrity Patent Analytics Team, ranks firms based on the total number of US utility patents that issued in 2020 where the patent firms were listed on the front of the utility patents. The rankings include both law firms and in-house filing operations.

 

About Harrity Patent Analytics

Harrity Patent Analytics, an analytical team within the boutique IP law firm of Harrity & Harrity, LLP, uses cutting-edge capabilities to analyze patent data and extract insights for clients to use when making strategic decisions regarding patent portfolios. Patent 300® companies rely on Harrity Patent Analytics services to understand their patent portfolios, the patent portfolios of their competitors, and patent office trends around the world. For more information, visit harrityllp.com/services/patent-analytics/.

2020 Top Patent Firms List Announced

WASHINGTON (January 15, 2021) –  Harrity Patent Analytics is pleased to announce the release of the 2020 Top Patent Firms list. The list, published annually, ranks industry-leading patent law firms based on the total number of U.S. utility patents issued in the past year and contains exclusive prosecution metrics. 

The 2020 Top Patent Firms list incorporates notable differences from last year’s rankings, including the year-over-year change in the quantity of patents firms obtained from 2019 to 2020.  Rocky Berndsen, Head of Patent Analytics, says of these changes, “You can see which patent firms are making big moves up and down in our field.  The impact of a firm merger or one or more partners leaving a firm can be seen in the data.  Law firms and companies are using the prosecution data from last year’s patents to make strategic decisions in their practice”.

The Top Patent Firms list is accompanied by an interactive dashboard and includes patent firms that have obtained at least 50 U.S. utility patents where the patent firms are listed on the front of the utility patents. Company legal departments have not been eliminated from the list.  The full list is available here.

About Harrity Patent Analytics 

Harrity Patent Analytics, an analytical team within the boutique IP law firm of Harrity & Harrity, LLP, uses cutting-edge capabilities to analyze patent data and extract insights for clients to use when making strategic decisions regarding patent portfolios.  Patent 300® companies rely on Harrity Patent Analytics services to understand their patent portfolios, the patent portfolios of their competitors, and patent office trends around the world.  For more information, visit harrityllp.com/services/patent-analytics/. 

 

Harrity Welcomes Ten Superstar Attorneys in 2020

2020 was a difficult year for all – with plenty of pitfalls, including quarantining, social distancing, and economic concern brought on by the ongoing global pandemic. At Harrity, we were fortunate enough to be able to continue to provide outstanding service to our clients and build upon the productivity and success of our remote workforce. We are pleased to announce that our firm also welcomed ten superstar patent attorneys to our team in 2020, making it one of our biggest years of growth to date.

Check out the newest members of Team Harrity below!

Robert ‘Bob’ O’Loughlin | Lakewood, CO (Joined 1/6/2020)

Bob has over 12 years of experience in patent preparation and prosecution for electrical and mechanical applications, with specific expertise in software patentability in light of Alice. Prior to joining Harrity & Harrity, Bob worked for over a decade in private practice representing clients with a focus on collaborating to navigate intellectual property opportunities and risks in light of his clients’ objectives regarding innovation, commercialization and competition. Click here to learn more about Bob.

James Bennin | Winter Garden, FL  (Joined 2/3/2020)

James is the first recipient of Harrity’s Minority Firm Incubator, a four-year program designed to train, develop, and launch minority-owned patent law firms. James has 15 years of experience in the intellectual property field, with extensive experience counseling clients on various IP matters in the United States and in various other jurisdictions. Prior to joining Harrity in the MFI program, James was previously an associate general counsel at one of the largest universities in the US, and IP counsel at a large multinational company where he counseled multiple business units on matters related to IP. Click here to learn more about James.

Michael Woodward | Albany, NY (Joined 2/3/2020)

Michael has experience in conducting all phases of prosecution for U.S. and foreign patent applications related to computer software, telecommunications, networking devices, and mechanical devices. Prior to joining Harrity, Michael worked at a boutique intellectual property law firm where his practice focused on patent preparation, prosecution, litigation, and patent portfolio management. He also served as Executive Managing Editor of the Albany Law Review, President of the Intellectual Property Law Society, and was a Sponsler Honors Teaching Fellow while attending Albany Law School. Click here to learn more about Michael.

Alexander Zajac | Greenbelt, MD (Joined 4/6/2020)

Alex is a patent attorney specializing in the preparation and prosecution of applications in electrical and computer technologies. Prior to Harrity, Alex worked with an intellectual property law firm in Washington, DC, where he drafted and prosecuted patent applications as well as assisted with opinions and litigations. He also previously worked at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia with Magistrate Judge Alan Kay. Click here to learn more about Alex.

Steven DiPasquo | Basking Ridge, NJ (Joined 6/1/2020)

Steven has prepared and prosecuted hundreds of patent applications in a wide range of technical fields, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, computer hardware and software systems, and telecommunications. Prior to joining Harrity & Harrity, Steven worked for over 15 years in private practice and has extensive experience counseling clients and preparing opinions regarding patentability, infringement, validity, and freedom to operate. Click here to learn more about Steven.

Nelson Nolte | Manchester, MO (Joined 6/16/2020)

Nelson has more than twenty years of experience as a patent attorney, including patent preparation, prosecution, opinion matters, trademark preparation and prosecution, and copyright protection. During this time, Nelson has drafted and prosecuted hundreds of patent applications in the electrical, software and mechanical arts. Click here to learn more about Nelson.

Madhu Ramanujam | Portland, OR (Joined 7/13/2020)

Madhu’s experience as a patent attorney includes diverse areas of technology, particularly in the electrical and software arts. He has extensive experience in developing patent licensing strategies and creating claim charts to maximize a patent’s monetary value. As an inventor himself, Madhu’s knowledge in patent licensing and his passion for inventing has led to him successfully licensing his own patents to several large multinational corporations. Click here to learn more about Madhu.

Edward Kim | New York, NY (Joined 8/3/2020)

Edward’s practice focuses on helping companies build high-quality patent portfolios in an efficient manner, with specific experience prosecuting patent applications related to up-and-coming technologies. Prior to joining Harrity, Edward worked in patent litigation and spent over a decade as a Primary Patent Examiner at the USPTO. During this time, Edward served the Office of International Patent Cooperation on global IP initiatives. He previously has experience working with engineers overseas as an intern engineer and is both fluent in Korean and proficient in Japanese. Click here to learn more about Edward.

George Howarah | Reston, VA  (Joined 11/2/2020)

George is a patent attorney with nearly a decade of experience in all facets of patent procurement and enforcement. Prior to joining Harrity, George worked as a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) and as an associate at Venable LLP and Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox PLLC, where he prepared, prosecuted, and enforced patents for Fortune 500, midsize, and startup companies. Click here to learn more about George.

Jim Weixel | Sandwich, MA (Joined 12/14/2020)

Jim is a patent attorney with over 20 years of in-house and law firm experience in patent procurement enforcement and in IP operations, including time at Verizon, Bowditch & Dewey, LLP, and The MathWorks Inc. Most recently, Jim served as the IP lead at Accenture for several business units, with a combined annual revenue exceeding $20B. Jim has been involved with protecting innovations in a variety of technologies, such as healthcare, financial services, machine learning, process automation, artificial intelligence, biometric identification, and pharmacovigilance. Click here to learn more about Jim.

 

IPWatchdog: Wish Upon a Star ft. Eli Mazour

Wish Upon a Star: Experts Share Their Wildest IP Dreams for 2021

Harrity Partner Eli Mazour is featured in IPWatchdog’s recent article as an IP expert.

January 4, 2021 (IPWatchdog) We have already published industry roundups on the biggest moments in IP for 2020 and predictions and thoughts for 2021. But the longest running industry insider feature on IPWatchdog is our annual “wishes” article. Each year, we invite stakeholders to share their wildest IP dreams and wishes for the coming year.

Unlike our Predictions and What Mattered roundups, this series allows our experts to get creative. The responses may have nothing to do with what is likely to happen, but rather gives commenters a chance to explain how 2021 would unfold in their dream scenario. This year, responses remained fairly grounded in reality, with the possible exceptions of hope for clarity on Section 101 law and other issues from the Supreme Court and that Andrei Iancu will remain USPTO Director under future President Biden…

See what Eli and the other experts have to say on IPwatchdog.com.

 

 

Patents for Humanity

By Edward Kim, Harrity Associate

Some time ago, in discussing humanitarian efforts and engineering, a friend of mine told me about a concept project he worked on to create a new iteration of the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC), an all-terrain wheelchair manufactured by Global Research Innovation and Technology (GRIT).  The original LFC was created by engineering graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to allow people with disabilities in developing countries to gain mobility and independence.  Conventional wheelchairs didn’t function well on the rugged terrain and rough local roads, and most were difficult and expensive to maintain.  The three-wheeled LFC uses a push-lever drivetrain to help people navigate over rugged terrain with ease and is built from commonly found bicycle parts to allow easy maintenance and repair.  Naturally, being an intellectual property professional, I started looking into patents related to the LFC.

That’s when I first discovered Patents for Humanity, an awards competition hosted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  The creators of the LFC secured US Patent No. 8,844,959 in 2014 and was awarded a Patents for Humanity award in the subsequent year.  Nearly a decade has passed since the program itself started, but little is known about it.  Given the current situation with the global pandemic, and the season of giving around us, I thought it might be timely to share some information about the awards competition with our network of IP professionals.

Patents for Humanity was launched in February 2012 as part of an initiative to promote “game-changing innovations to address long-standing development challenges” and showcase how patent holders are pioneering innovative ways to provide affordable, scalable, and sustainable solutions for the less fortunate.  Awards have been given for innovations that range from Golden Rice that’s genetically enhanced to provide a source of vitamin A for people relying mainly on rice to the LFC to compact human wastewater converters called NEWgenerator.

Two types of awards are given – Patents for Humanity awards and Honorable Mentions awards.  Patents for Humanity award recipients are given an acceleration certificate, and of course, public recognition of their work at an awards ceremony sponsored by the USPTO.  The certificate can be used to accelerate a patent application examination, ex parte reexamination, and ex parte appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.*  Honorable Mentions award recipients receive accelerated examination of one patent application but not other types of matters.

The program is open to patent owners, applicants, licensees (including inventors who haven’t assigned their ownership rights to others), assignees, and exclusive and non-exclusive licensees.  Applicants must describe how they’ve used their patented technology or products to address a humanitarian issue, which, for the competition purposes, is defined as “one significantly affecting the public health or quality of life of an impoverished population.”

Applicants using a patent application as a basis for entry to the competition must show that a Notice of Allowance for one or more claims from that patent application has been issued before any certificate is awarded.  Applicants mainly compete in the following five categories:

  • Medicine: any medical-related technology such as medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, or medical devices.
  • Nutrition: technologies which improve nutrition such as higher yield crops, more nutritious food sources, food preservation, storage, or preparation.
  • Sanitation: improving lives by addressing environmental factors such as clean water, waste treatment, air pollution, and toxic substances.
  • Household energy: technologies providing power to energy-poor homes and communities for household needs like lighting, cooking, and heating.
  • Living standards: technologies that raise living standards to empower people to escape poverty, such as literacy, education, communications, information delivery, access to markets, and microfinance.

Applicants may also team together to submit joint applications explaining actions taken by multiple parties.  However, only one certificate will be issued to the joint applicants, and the certificate can be redeemed for only one matter.

The applications are then judged under one of two criteria: (1) Humanitarian Use (applying eligible technologies to positively impact a humanitarian issue, focusing on demonstrable real-world improvements) and (2) Humanitarian Research (making available patented technologies to other researchers for conducting research with a humanitarian purpose, particularly areas lacking commercial application).

The applications are reviewed and scored by qualified judges outside of the USPTO, and the USPTO forwards the top-scoring applications to participating federal agencies for award recipient recommendations.

As we prepare to bid farewell to a year that will live in infamy, I think it’s fitting to recognize this year’s award recipients: Global Vision 2020; Sisu Global; Sanaria Inc; Flexcrevator; NEWgenerator; Nonspec; Rubitection; and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  Congratulations!  Perhaps, now more than ever, we need and should honor more innovation that makes progress in human lives.  Keep an eye out for the next awards competition application period.

More information about the Patents for Humanity awards competition can be found at:

https://www.uspto.gov/ip-policy/patent-policy/patents-humanity

For those interested in the details of the Terms and Conditions:

https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/USPTO-P4H-2020Terms.pdf

 

*Inter partes matters and other post-grant proceedings may not be accelerated with the certificate at this time.

 

Law360: Harrity & Harrity Launches Academy To Diversify Patent Law

Law360 (December 23, 2020, 4:20 PM EST) — To address some of the issues underlying a lack of diversity in patent law, Harrity & Harrity LLP has announced a new set of free classes the firm hopes will inspire more patent lawyers from underrepresented populations.

The Harrity Academy, which the midsize firm launched this fall, consists of three Zoom classes that will convene throughout 2021. Ranging from four to eight weeks in length, the three classes address different aspects of patent law and range in scope depending on the participants’ experience. Each course will be led by a Harrity & Harrity attorney and has 20 spots available, the press release says. The program also includes mentorship and breakout sessions for more individualized attention…

Read the full article on Law 360 here.

 

 

John Harrity Interviewed for Law360: How 7 IP Firms Weathered The COVID-19 Pandemic

Law360 (December 21, 2020, 4:47 PM EST) — Intellectual property firms ranging from just a handful of lawyers to several hundred attorneys said the COVID-19 pandemic was a logistical curveball, but their industry has largely been insulated from the worst of the pandemic’s financial woes.

Law360 spoke with seven IP firms that span in size and location to get a snapshot of how the novel coronavirus pandemic impacted the industry, including Harrity’s John Harrity.

“Harrity & Harrity’s staff was already three-quarters remote before the pandemic hit, said John Harrity.

‘We were ready for it,’ he said. ‘We were already paperless — we had done that several years ago. It was probably as seamless a transition for us as possible.’

He said the firm has been continuously growing, and with a dozen new attorneys added in 2020, it marked its biggest year for hiring.

While Harrity said the firm had always allowed for flexibility with attorneys, such as letting them choose their own hours, it extended that same freedom to support staff during the pandemic.

‘[We’re letting them start] as late as 3 p.m. so that they could do their homeschooling if they have young kids and then start their day after that’s over,’ he said. ‘We’re put in this really awkward position with this, especially with virtual learning. If you have small kids, what are you supposed to do? We didn’t want our parents to have to choose between teaching their kids or working. We gave them an opportunity to be able to keep doing both.’

The patent preparation and prosecution specialists say they’ve seen particular growth in the telecom sector, which has blown up in the remote work environment.

Internally, the firm has used that remote technology to try and keep its employees connected to each other, including with virtual happy hours and live meditation sessions.

‘It’s necessary during a situation [like] we’re in — the inherent stress that’s involved with the pandemic and the uncertainty that’s around it,’ Harrity said.”

Read the full article here.

 

 

Harrity 4 Charity on Erie News Now

(Erie News Now) JJ’s Retro Eatery, a family-owned-and-operated diner in Union City, PA, has faced some challenges during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When Harrity Docketing Specialist Julie Swartz heard about their struggles, she knew that she needed to get Harrity 4 Charity involved.

“We have put everything we have into this business and have been blessed with many successful years,” said Debbi James. “But the past year has been an extreme struggle with the times we are face with during this pandemic. We are struggling to survive day-to-day and we owe so much to Harrity for offering their help, along with a thank you to Julie, who has the most caring heart ever.”

Erie News Now featured JJ’s story:

 

JJ’s will host a Holiday Baked Goods Drive By through Christmas. 10 of JJ’s most popular pies will be sold during the event, along with six flavors of cheesecake, four types of turnovers, jumbo cinnamon or maple rolls and an assorted Christmas cookie tray.

JJ’s Retro Eatery is located at 16411 Route 8 in Union City. Business hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The restaurant will also be open on Dec. 23 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for customers to pick up pre-ordered baked goods only.

To view a menu and place an order, click here

Orders must be placed by Dec. 20 and can be picked up curbside. Free delivery is available within a 10-mile radius of the restaurant.

For more information on JJ’s Retro Eatery and to see a full menu, visit them on Facebook.

 

Harrity & Harrity LLP to match up to $100,000 for the American Heart Association

(NOVA Chamber Newsletter) The American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives is excited to announce that through December 31 all donations and registration fees up to $100,000 will be doubled for its Lawyers Have Heart 10K Race, 5K Run and Walk. Made possible through the generosity of race sponsor Harrity & Harrity LLP to promote increased around Giving Tuesday, a global movement to support charities. Donations to Lawyers Have Heart benefit the Association to further its work for a world of longer, healthier lives and can help fast track research and train front-line workers.

“As a person who had his life saved by the AHA’s science, this cause is beyond important to me and my family,” said John Harrity, Harrity & Harrity LLP’s Managing Partner. “Our firm wanted to give in a big way and we hope this inspires others to do the same.  Millions of people are counting on the American Heart Association for science-based information, health resources, community programs and patient support. They need us to be generous now more than ever.”

There are many ways to take part in the matching opportunity:

  • Visit LawyersHaveHeartDC.org and make a donation in support of a world of longer, healthier lives.
  • Consider an opportunity for your  company to sponsor the event by contacting maher@heart.org.
  • Register for the 2021 race through December 31 and the fee will count as a donation that will be matched by Harrity & Harrity LLP.
  • Give through your mobile phone. Text RUNLHH to 41444.

“Planning is moving forward for a huge 2021 event and we hope to once again attract participants from around the world,” said Harrity. “There was an incredible response when we took the 2020 event to a digital experience where 3,000 participants ran and walked their courses all over the United States, England, Croatia, Spain, South Africa, Japan and more. We will definitely plan to keep a virtual component moving forward so anyone can take part from anywhere in the world.”

Harrity serves as a co-chair for the 2021 event along with his firm’s Controller Sandra Maxey and American University Washington College of Law’s Associate Dean of Student Affairs, David Jaffe. Since 1991, the event has raised over $15.6 million, in support of vital research and programming to improve health and well-being across the Greater Washington Region.

“We are so thankful to Harrity & Harrity for their tremendous support that will build excitement,” said Soula Antoniou, Executive Director, American Heart Association. “This gift helps ensure the Association’s continued work with researchers, medical experts, hospitals, community leaders, businesses, families and more to improve health and well-being for all and to reduce the impact of the coronavirus.”

 

Joe Lentivech – An Ex-PTAB Judge on Ex-Parte Appeals: Clause 8, Episode 23

How does the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) actually operate? What does it take to win an ex parte appeal? When should you request an oral hearing? What are the chances of the PTAB reversing a Section 101 rejection? How do you become an Administrative Patent Judge?

In this latest episode of Clause 8, I speak with former Administrative Patent Judge Joe Lentivech to get answers to these questions. He’s not only an expert in how the PTAB operates, but also a master storyteller.

Listen and subscribe on IPwatchdog.com or your favorite podcasting app!

 

Random Act of Kindness Leads to Holiday Pie Drive-By Sale at Union City Restaurant

(Eerie News Now) A Union City restaurant is receiving some much needed help through a random act of kindness.

In July, Debbi and Greg James, owners of JJ’s Retro Eatery, posted on Facebook about the dire challenges the restaurant has faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They also posted a thank you to an unknown person who mowed the lawn of the restaurant.

After seeing the Facebook post, a former customer of the restaurant who now lives in Virginia took action.

Julie Swartz, a docketing specialist for Fairfax, Va.-based law firm Harrity, LLP, saw the post on Facebook. Swartz grew up in Erie and had eaten at the restaurant years ago. Seeing the post and learning about the situation the restaurant was in, as well as the random act of kindness of someone mowing the lawn of the restaurant, Swartz knew she had to somehow pay it forward.

Swartz, who now lives in Evans City, Pa., with the help of a COVID-19 relief fund established by Harrity 4 Charity – the giving-back initiative of Harrity LLP -, got in the car and drove to JJ’s.

There, she presented the restaurant with a relief check, new banners for the restaurant’s front, flowers for curb appeal and cleaning supplies. Swartz then spent the day with the Debbi and Greg James and their family to prepare for reopening after Pennsylvania’s spring shutdown.

Since then, Harrity has provided a financial helping hand to the struggling eatery.

This holiday season, Swartz is now helping the James family organize a Holiday Pie Drive By for JJ’s, which is known for its baked goods. Swartz has volunteered to help pass out flyers and make deliveries.

“We have put everything we have into this business and have been blessed with many successful years,” said Debbi James. “But the past year has been an extreme struggle with the times we are face with during this pandemic. We are struggling to survive day-to-day and we owe so much to Harrity for offering their help, along with a thank you to Julie, who has the most caring heart ever.”

JJ’s will host the Holiday Baked Goods Drive By through Christmas. 10 of JJ’s most popular pies will be sold during the event, along with six flavors of cheesecake, four types of turnovers, jumbo cinnamon or maple rolls and an assorted Christmas cookie tray.

JJ’s Retro Eatery is located at 16411 Route 8 in Union City. Business hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The restaurant will also be open on Dec. 23 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for customers to pick up pre-ordered baked goods only.

To view a menu and place an order, click here.

Orders must be placed by Dec. 20 and can be picked up curbside. Free delivery is available within a 10-mile radius of the restaurant.

For more information on JJ’s Retro Eatery and to see a full menu, visit them on Facebook.

 

7-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Raises Thousands for Gifts to Give Hospitalized Kids, Matched by Harrity 4 Charity

 

 

 

(NBC4 Washington) Small but mighty: That’s a good way to describe a Fairfax County second grader who is helping Inova raise thousands of dollars to buy toys for kids who are in the hospital this holiday season.

Poppy Sellier, 7, has a special appreciation for what those toys mean, because it wasn’t long ago that she was in the hospital herself.

Playing with her LEGOs today, Poppy is the picture of health. But when we first met her in summer 2019, she was just wrapping up treatment for leukemia at Inova Children’s Hospital.

Poppy and her family always carried the other children at the hospital in their hearts, even while Poppy was still a patient there. Her mom, Charlotte, brought in donated toys, with Poppy making deliveries in a red wagon.

“They would be very happy and they would like all the toys that I brought them,” Poppy recalled with a smile.

Last year during the holidays, with a bow in her newly regrown hair, Poppy and her siblings returned to the hospital, reuniting with staff and helping to deliver hundreds of LEGO sets donated by the community to Inova.

 

But coronavirus means some adjustments this year.

“Because this year it’s the coronavirus, we can’t go into the hospital and give it,” Poppy said.

And Inova can’t ask the community to donate toys. So instead, they’ve made Poppy an ambassador of sorts for what they’re calling Poppy’s Toy Express, asking the community to give money instead of toys this year.

“Usually we love accepting the gifts from the community, and people are so generous during this time,” Inova Health Foundation President Sage Bolte said. “But because we can’t, Poppy actually offered up her own allowance to start this campaign.”

And Poppy’s story has been inspiring lots of giving.

“We got a lot of generous donations, and we got right now over like 55,000 kind of money,” Poppy said.

That $55,000 means they’re already very close to making their $60,000 goal to supply toys not only at the holidays but throughout the year. And once that $60,000 is raised, it will be matched by a group called Harrity 4 Charity.

As for Poppy, she’s enjoying feeling well and being back in school in 2nd grade.

“It feels so much better. I like my teacher and she’s really, really nice,” Poppy said.

But Poppy and her family are hoping that by next year, the red wagon full of toys will roll again.

Harrity 4 Charity is doubling up to $60,000 of donations made to INOVA for Giving Tuesday. All donations will go directly towards purchasing toys and books for children undergoing treatment and surgery at INOVA Children’s Hospital during the holidays for Poppy’s Toy Express — an initiative started by a seven-year old cancer survivor, Poppy, who spent 160 days at Inova in 2018. Click here to donate to Poppy’s Toy Express.

Maximize Your Patent Portfolio Using Helferich-Style Claims

By Michael Woodward, Harrity Associate

Patent owners often obtain patents to protect products, as well as complementary products or use cases associated with those products. However, when selling or licensing the patented products, a patent owner may inadvertently extinguish potential revenue streams associated with the complementary use cases due to the doctrine of patent exhaustion.

Patent exhaustion follows the basic idea that if a company sells or licenses a patented product to a buyer, the company cannot sue the buyer (or a third party that the buyer provides the patented product to under the license) for patent infringement for using the product. Patent owners should take care when preparing and licensing patents to ensure that infringement claims for complementary products or use cases associated with patented products are not exhausted by the sale or licensing of the patented products, as shown by the Federal Circuit case of Helferich Patent Licensing v. New York Times, 778 F.3D 1293 (Fed. Cir. 2015)…

Keep reading on IPwatchdog.com.

 

 

WDVM Interviews John Harrity on Giving Tuesday Matching

See the full article at Localdvm.com.

 

To make a contribution to one of our Harrity 4 Charity partners, please see below.

American Heart Association

Harrity 4 Charity pledges to match up to $100,000 of donations made to the American Heart Association, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to fighting heart disease, through the upcoming Lawyers Have Heart event. Click here to donate and to register for the 2021 LHH 5K, 10K and Fun Walk, virtually or in-person. You can also make a donation by simply texting ‘RUNLHH’ to 41444.

No More Stolen Childhoods

In an effort to put an end to childhood sexual abuse and help survivors with recovery, we are matching $45,000 of donations made to NMSC by December 1. Please click here to contribute.

INOVA Children’s Hospital

Harrity 4 Charity will double $60,000 of donations made to INOVA for Giving Tuesday. All donations will go directly towards purchasing toys and books for children undergoing treatment and surgery at INOVA Children’s Hospital during the holidays for Poppy’s Toy Express — an initiative started by a seven-year old cancer survivor, Poppy, who spent 160 days at Inova in 2018. Click here to donate to Poppy’s Toy Express.

ZERO: The End of Prostate Cancer

This year, we are matching $50,000 of gifts made to ZERO. You can join the fight against prostate cancer and support prostate cancer education, testing, patient support, research and advocacy by donating here.

Automation in the Patent Field: From Fantasy to Reality

By Robert O’Loughlin, Harrity Associate

Before joining Harrity & Harrity, LLP at the beginning of 2020, I would have summarily dismissed the fairy tale that I could be drafting even half as many patent applications as I am regularly drafting today.  But, alas, here I am, bringing the tale to life.

Harrity, as a firm, has mastered a number of factors that play a large role in taking patent application drafting efficiency from fantasy to reality.  Such factors include, for example, employing a uniform writing style across the firm; utilizing a well-organized and uniform second attorney review structure that serves as the gatekeeper for the high level of quality that Harrity’s clients have come to expect from every piece of work product; having attorneys exclusively draft or prosecute applications to focus on and maximize each attorney’s strengths; and incentivizing efficiency with a pay-per-production compensation model.

One particular factor that deserves attention, however, is Harrity’s development and utilization of proprietary automation software.  It certainly has been no secret, as the decades have worn on, that automating tasks can greatly improve efficiency and, as a result, significantly increase output.  And it is no different in the world of patent application drafting.  Automation also improves the quality of the output, and it frees up an attorney to focus on the more substantive aspects of the application.  The automation software, known as Patent Draftr, at my disposal has been game-changing and has played no small role in making my decision to join Harrity life-changing.

Gone are the days of creating and maintaining folder after folder of template applications, file after file of template drawings, and page after page of boilerplate language.  The automation software (“the tools” as we so affectionately refer to them) takes care of these things.  With two or three mouse clicks to select options from a pull-down menu plugged right into my word processing user interface, I can generate a new patent application document, pre-filled with boilerplate language, templates for frequently used descriptions, client-approved formatting, and flags clearly identifying locations that require my attention.  Indeed, in many cases, even many of the personal preferences of a particular client or in-house attorney may already be incorporated into the document from those first two or three mouse clicks.

A few more clicks of the mouse gets me access to a library of client-specific, frequently-used drawings and drawing descriptions.  In the past, building the skeleton of a patent application meant searching for a previously drafted application that described similar subject matter, skimming the application for relevant language and/or drawings, copying the relevant material, pasting it into the new application, changing reference numbers to match the new figures, and removing material specific to the application from which I copied the material.  That process was only slightly more efficient than writing the entire application from scratch.  Now, a few clicks and I’m off and running.

A click here and a click there is all that is required to cause mirrored claim sets directed to statutory subject matter classes of my choice to appear in the document.  Just as easily, I can cause preliminary descriptions of flow charts to populate the document.  Summary paragraphs and an abstract also are mere mouse clicks away.  Before I even place my fingers on the keyboard, Patent Draftr may have prepared more than half the document for me.

I was skeptical at first, but have come to be a believer in “the tools.”  They fit seamlessly within the Harrity workflow to make my life infinitely easier than the days of old.  But I am not the only one that benefits from the “the tools” and the system in which they are employed.  Perhaps the greatest beneficiaries are the clients.  By automating portions of the patent application preparation process that tend to be otherwise menial tasks, “the tools” allow me to focus my time on the most important aspects of the application preparation – the aspects for which my skills and experience are most useful – understanding the invention, drafting the claims, and carefully describing the details of the invention.  The results: (1) a high quality, valuable, and thorough patent application; and (2) a stress-free patent attorney that can spend the evening resting and looking forward to doing it all over again the next day.

 

 

Core Wireless: Parsing the Data on Enforcement Trends Three Years On

By Alexander Zajac, Harrity Associate

To many patent practitioners, the Federal Circuit’s decision in Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. v. LG Electronics, Inc. was a watershed moment. In particular, this decision provided that claims directed to “display interfaces” that “improved” on existing interfaces were patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. In other words, Core Wireless decreased the chances of a court finding a graphical user interface (GUI) patent to be directed to ineligible subject matter and therefore invalid.

We don’t have to look far to see the impact that the nearly-three-year-old Core Wireless decision has had. Almost 100 district court decisions have cited the case since it came down in January of 2019, and nearly 30 inter partes review (IPR) proceedings filed after January of 2019 include citations of Core Wireless by practitioners, the Board, or both…

Keep reading on IPwatchdog.com.

 

 

Harrity 4 Charity Announces Matching Gifts for Giving Tuesday

Harrity 4 Charity, the giving-back initiative of Harrity LLP, is leading the way in Giving Tuesday efforts and challenging others to join.

Harrity 4 Charity will match up to $255,000 of donations gifted between now and Dec. 1st to the American Heart Association ($100,000 match), INOVA Children’s Hospital ($60,000 match), No More Stolen Childhoods ($45,000 match) and ZERO—The End of Prostate Cancer ($50,000 match).

American Heart Association

Harrity 4 Charity pledges to match up to $100,000 of donations made to the American Heart Association, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to fighting heart disease, through the upcoming Lawyers Have Heart event. Click here to donate and to register for the 2021 LHH 5K, 10K and Fun Walk, virtually or in-person. You can also make a donation by simply texting ‘RUNLHH’ to 41444.

No More Stolen Childhoods

In an effort to put an end to childhood sexual abuse and help survivors with recovery, we are matching $45,000 of donations made to NMSC by December 1st. Please click here to contribute.

INOVA Children’s Hospital

Harrity 4 Charity will double $60,000 of donations made to INOVA for Giving Tuesday. All donations will go directly towards purchasing toys and books for children undergoing treatment and surgery at INOVA Children’s Hospital during the holidays for Poppy’s Toy Express — an initiative started by a seven-year old cancer survivor, Poppy, who spent 160 days at Inova in 2018. Click here to donate to Poppy’s Toy Express.

ZERO: The End of Prostate Cancer

This year, we are matching $50,000 of gifts made to ZERO. You can join the fight against prostate cancer and support prostate cancer education, testing, patient support, research and advocacy by donating here.

 

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300 ™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Shawn Lillemo Named Intellectual Property Trailblazer

Harrity & Harrity’s Shawn Lillemo has been named as a 2020 Intellectual Property Trailblazer by the National Law Journal, which recognizes professionals who have moved the needle in the legal industry.

The publication says the following regarding Shawn’s contribution to legal technology:

Pioneer Spirit Launching his intellectual property career, Shawn Lillemo served as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In 2018, Lillemo jumped at the opportunity to join boutique patent firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP.  “Harrity operates more like a Silicon Valley start-up than a traditional law firm — with a passion to be on the cutting-edge of innovation — in an industry which otherwise hadn’t changed much in a hundred years.”

Trails Blazed Leveraging his skills as a software product manager, Lillemo created several products that allow attorneys to focus more of their time on substantively improving the quality of patents instead of on the menial tasks that can be automated.  Patent Draftr gives attorneys a suite of drafting tools that can “turn a 40-hour task into a 10-hour task.” Patent Searchr gives attorneys a state-of-the-art search engine for private patent portfolios so attorneys can find private and pending patent applications.   Lillemo’s Patent Sortr software replaces the labor-intensive task of creating patent asset taxonomies.  Now asset managers can know in real-time what patent assets they have in any given patent landscape.  “Each product was created with a simple goal: we want to allow our lawyers to be heroes to their clients and then go home. It’s doable if you automate as much as you can.” Harrity’s innovative approach to exceptional client services, led largely by Lillemo, landed the firm the 2020 American Legal Technology Award in the Law Firm category.

Future Explorations “We are on the cusp of many disruptive technologies transforming the way patent attorneys perform their work,” Lillemo believes, “including AI, blockchain distributed everything, and augmented reality.  I want to move Harrity and our clients to the front edge of the adoption curve in a work paradigm shift as significant as the industrial revolution.”

 

Harrity 4 Charity Ranks Third on Washington Business Journal Corporate Philanthropy List

Harrity & Harrity landed the third spot on the Washington Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy – Small Companies by Giving in Greater D.C. List, appearing in the November 13th publication. The rankings are based off of 2019 statistics and charitable efforts of companies headquartered in the D.C. metro area.

You can see the full list HERE.

 

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300 ™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Elaine Spector Discusses Gender Gap on IP Breakfast Podcast

“Women are amazing advocates for other people, but not good advocates for themselves.”

Harrity Partner and Diversity Chair Elaine Spector was featured on the IP Breakfast Podcast with hosts Albert Decady & Emmanuel Coffy to discuss the gender gap in IP, her experiences as a female practitioner, and what needs to change to bridge the gap and give women the tools and confidences to succeed in a male-dominated field. Listen now at http://ow.ly/fyMu50CnogQ.

 

A Practical Guide to Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession

The Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the Intellectual Property’s Owners Association has released ‘A Practical Guide to Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession.’

The IPO D&I Guide is designed to help improve diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, with contributions by Elaine Spector, Carlyn Burton, Shruti Costales, Serena Farquharson-Torres, Gloria Fuentes, and Rachael Rodman.

Check out the full guide below!

IPO-Practical-Guide-to-Diversity-and-Inclusion-Version-2-Sept-2020

 

What External Ownership of Law Firms Could Mean for IP

‘External ownership of law firms could herald an IP revolution but clients will need to be convinced’

Over the summer two US states, Utah and Arizona, opened the door for non-lawyer ownership of law firms. Other parts of the US are also said to be looking at the matter, with the District of Columbia Bar reported to be considering relaxing its rules. What will the potential external ownership of law firms mean for the revolution of IP?

Interviewed by Richard Lloyd of IAM Media, John Harrity added his thoughts:

“New money coming in will be able to fund more technology and innovation, and more firms will realise that in order to stay competitive, they will need to embrace this technology to produce more efficient, accurate, and high-quality work.”

Read the full article only on IAM Media.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

 

Harrity #1 on Vault.com’s Best Midsize Firm To Work For Rankings

Vault ‘Quality Of Life’ Rankings: The Best Midsize Law Firms To Work For (2021)

Did your law firm make the cut this time around?

(Above the Law, September 17, 2020) Vault recently published the 2021 edition of all manner of its closely watched rankings for the largest law firms in the country, proving that money — in the form of Cravath’s perennially competitive pay scale — can buy prestige and happiness.

But what about the nation’s midsized and regional firms? Which ones are the best to work for, and will young associates be happy there as associates Today, Vault released the latest edition of its list of the 25 Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For.

Associates at firms with 200 attorneys or fewer were asked to rank their own law firms based on categories most relevant to their overall quality of life, including overall satisfaction; firm culture; hours; compensation; quality of work; informal training, mentorship, and sponsorship; business outlook; career outlook; associate/partner relations; leadership transparency; and formal training.

There was a huge amount of movement in the Top 10 this year. Which firms made the cut? Without any further ado, here are the Top 10 Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For based on Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2021:

  1. Harrity & Harrity (not ranked; first time in Top 10)
  2. Lightfoot, Franklin & White (+20)
  3. Bookoff McAndrews (-2)
  4. Smyser Kaplan & Veselka (not ranked; first time in Top 10)
  5. Farella Braun + Martel (+7)
  6. Susman Godfrey (-4)
  7. Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger (-4)
  8. Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson (not ranked; first time in Top 10)
  9. Stotler Hayes Group (not ranked; first time in Top 10)
  10. Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery (not ranked; first time in Top 10)

That’s a whole lot of firms that have never been ranked before, but if you scroll further down the list, you’ll see a lot of more familiar names. Harrity & Harrity shared the spotlight with Susman Godfrey (Vault’s best litigation boutique) this year in terms of claiming No. 1 spots in the rankings. That said, here are the No. 1 firms in each Quality of Life category for 2021:

Congratulations to each of the firms that made the latest edition of the Vault Best Midsize Firms to Work For rankings, and a huge congratulations to Harrity & Harrity and Susman Godfrey for sweeping the rankings.

Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For (2021) [Vault]

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

 

Brad Watts – Section 101 Reform Efforts in the 116th Congress: Clause 8, Episode 22

Brad Watts is the Majority Chief Counsel and Staff Director for the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. Under the leadership of Senator Thom Tillis, Brad Watts has led the effort to fix the Section 101 patent eligibility mess.

A series of Supreme Court decisions over the last decade have caused enormous confusion and uncertainty with regard to patent eligibility. After the 2018 midterm elections, to the relief of many in the innovation community, Senators Thom Tillis and Chris Coons requested to reinstate the Senate Subcommittee on IP to fix this issue. The process for reforming 101 included a framework released in April 2019, a bipartisan, bicameral draft bill released in May 2019, and an unprecedented three days of hearings with 45 witnesses representing almost every imaginable view on the subject.

At the end of those hearings, Sen. Tillis said “I want to do this quickly . . . I think we can review the record and make changes, garner consensus, and introduce a final bill sometime after the July 4 recess.”  That never happened.

In an IP Watchdog interview earlier this year, Sen Tillis explained that the Section 101 reform “process stalled because stakeholders refused to compromise.”

What happened? Is the effort to reform Section 101 really over? Why did the effort fail in this Congress? What should the innovation community do help revive the effort? Is there a possibility of a narrow medical diagnostics fix that is likely to lead many others pushing for reform disappointed?

In this episode, I speak with Brad about what really happened during this last attempt at reform, why it wasn’t successful, where to go from here, and much more.

Some of the topics discussed:

  • How Capitol Hill staffers learn about IP issues
  • Influence of Professor David Taylor’s research about the current patent eligibility jurisprudence and its negative impact on investment
  • What prompted Sen. Tillis to focus on patent eligibility reform and restart the Senate Subcommittee on IP
  • Process laid out by Sen. Tillis for patent eligibility reform legislation
  • Why everyone who wanted to engage in good faith was invited to be part of the process
  • Whether goal was to pass bill this Congress or to start a multi-Congress effort
  • Bad faith efforts to stop patent eligibility reform and why even some opponents of patent eligibility reform might have legitimate points
  • How the bipartisan, bicameral draft bill released in May 2019 was drafted – involvement of staffers Jamie Simpson, Phil (Phillip) Warrick, and Tom (Thomas) Stoll and the principals
  • Possibility of narrow diagnostics-only fix for Section 101 and why Sen. Tillis is open to it
  • Why Sen. Tillis never introduced a bill after the 3 day of hearings
  • How stakeholders can reach consensus with regards to patent eligibility to make reform possible
  • Continued work on patent eligibility reform
  • How stakeholders can and should communicate their position and concerns to Sen. Tillis and their own Senators about IP issues in general

Listen and subscribe on IPwatchdog.com or your favorite podcasting app!

 

Harrity & Harrity Named Best Midsize Firm To Work For

Law360 (September 18, 2020, 10:43 PM EDT) — Virginia-based patent prosecution firm Harrity & Harrity LLP is this year’s best midsize law firm to work for, according to Vault.com’s annual rankings released Thursday.

Harrity & Harrity claimed the top spot on Vault’s Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For list, based on a survey of thousands of associates. Harrity & Harrity — which didn’t even make the Top 10 list last year — usurped Bookoff McAndrews LLP, which went down two slots to third on the list.

Harrity & Harrity topped the categories of associate and partner relations, diversity, firm culture, hours, satisfaction, and technology and innovation, while sharing the top spot for quality of work.

Managing Partner John E. Harrity told Law360 on Friday that the firm strives to foster a creative and hard-working environment in which employees are encouraged to communicate openly and where feedback and ideas are taken very seriously.

“Our firm’s success is owed to our employees, and we owe it to them to provide a supportive and collaborative environment for them to grow and succeed,” Harrity said. “With that said, this recognition is a huge honor and achievement, reflective of the quality of life that we strive to provide to every member of our team.”

Alabama-based litigation firm Lightfoot Franklin & White LLC was ranked second on the list. Vault noted that Lightfoot — along with Franklin & White and Smyser Kaplan & Veselka — “stood out from the rest” as it placed on all 13 categories, such as transparency and wellness.

“We embrace a ‘learn by doing’ approach with our associates, giving them early and consistent opportunities to gain experience and expand their skills through high-level work both inside and outside of the courtroom,” Lightfoot managing partner Melody Eagan said in a statement on Friday.

Washington, D.C.-based patent prosecution firm Bookoff McAndrews shared the top spot for quality of work with Lightfoot Franklin and Harrity & Harrity.

Dinesh N. Melwani, a partner at Bookoff McAndrews, told Law360 on Friday that the firm places a large emphasis on cultivating a friendly atmosphere that fosters teamwork, collaboration and a sense of community.

“Our inclusive workplace culture has been and will continue to be paramount to our success as an organization,” Melwani said. “We believe that when our attorneys enjoy work that is valued, we will be able to consistently provide high levels of quality work product and client service.”

Rounding out the Top 10 were Smyser Kaplan, Farella Braun & Martel LLPSusman Godfrey LLPGreenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLPRobinson Bradshaw & Hinson PA, Stotler Hayes Group LLC and Fitch Even Tabin & Flannery LLP.

Diversity Lab announced Tuesday that 23 midsize firms will participate in a new iteration of the Mansfield Rule specifically for firms with fewer than 100 lawyers in the U.S. The rule means the firms have shown that candidates they considered for key positions — such as governance roles and equity partner promotions — included at least 30% women, LGBTQ attorneys, racial and ethnic minorities, and lawyers with disabilities.

The 18-month pilot of the Midsize Mansfield Rule “has been fine-tuned to boost diversity in leadership for firms with smaller lawyer populations, single office locations and leaner firm leadership structures,” according to Diversity Lab.

–Additional reporting by Michele Gorman and Hailey Konnath. Editing by Michael Watanabe.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

 

Diversity in Patent Law: A Data Analysis of Diversity in the Patent Practice by Technology Background and Region

Harrity’s Elaine Spector and LaTia Brand provide a deep-dive analysis of the lack of diversity in the patent practice for the American Bar Association’s Landslide® Magazine. Read the full article here:

 

Diversity in Patent Law

Harrity Wins 2020 American Legal Technology Award

Harrity & Harrity has won the 2020 American Legal Technology Award for the Law Firm category.

For its inaugural awards ceremony, American Legal Technology received over 180 nominations for consideration in 8 categories. Twenty legal industry expert judges chose 3 finalists for each category, announcing winners over video streams from September 7 – September 16.

Harrity was recognized as the winner of the law firm category on September 11, being described as ‘a law firm that utilizes technology to exceed client expectations in a significant, measurable way.’

Watch the award announcement here:

 

The mission of the American Legal Technology Awards, according to americanlegaltechnology.com, is:
To hold up examples of excellence in creative innovation and technology in the legal industry for the purposes of (1) expanding our understanding of what is possible, (2) encouraging a virtuous cycle of improvement, and (3) creating a more just society.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

 

Professor Adam Mossoff – Academics in IP: Clause 8, Episode 21

When Eli first started practicing in the late aughts, he found that a lot of what he was seeing about patents in various academic papers and studies, on Capitol Hill, and even in Supreme Court decisions, didn’t really reflect the reality of what he was seeing in practice, talking to innovators. In contrast, Professor Adam Mossoff’s compelling work, including articles in various general interest newspapers, stood out.  Not surprisingly, he is largely responsible for providing the intellectual foundation that has helped shift the anti-patent narrative.  So, it was a huge honor to talk to someone who not only helped shape Eli’s own thinking about patent and IP policy issues but has really shaped the current debates in Washington, DC about these issues.

Professor Mossoff is currently Professor of Law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, and a Visiting Intellectual Property Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

On this episode, Professor Mossoff and Eli discuss academics’ impact on IP policy and many other subjects, including:

  • how Richard Epstein influenced Professor Mossoff’s scholarship,
  • how the ideals of classical liberalism relate to intellectual property rights,
  • the debate among conservatives and libertarians regarding IP issues,
  • what’s wrong about framing IP rights as being all about providing incentives,
  • the Supreme Court’s approach to patent cases,
  • why Congress and the executive branch – not the Supreme Court – are the better path for improving America’s patent system,
  • “Why Do Law Professors Do What They Do?”
  • how law school professors influence the patent policy debate,
  • how trade organizations try to shape the patent policy debate by using law professors and other prominent attorneys,
  • importance of law school professors making it clear when they’re acting as advocates v. as academics,
  • navigating junk science studies/statistical claims about the patent system,
  • importance of engaging in a positive research agenda about the patent system instead of just reacting to bad scholarship,
  • empirical research overwhelmingly contradicting the patent holdup theory over the last 10 years,
  • educating Congressman Darrell Issa and the importance of having evidence and data on your side,
  • contradiction of China strengthening its own patent system while continuing to steal IP from other countries and having no rule of law otherwise,
  • the unprecedented response by the pharmaceutical industry to the COVID?19 pandemic thanks to the foundation previously created by America’s patent system,
  • how current changes to the patent system can undermine a similar response to the future,
  • and much more!

Listen and subscribe on IPwatchdog.com or your favorite podcasting app!

 

Harrity Implements Optional 3PM Start for Support Staff Due to Virtual School

Harrity & Harrity, the Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™, has adjusted its flexible start time to accommodate distance learning.  With schools across the country implementing virtual classes this fall, Harrity leadership announced that employees have the option begin their workday as late as 3:00 pm, allowing working parents and caretakers to focus on both the education of their children and their careers.

The firm already offers schedule flexibility, remote options, and a 7.5-hour workday, and recently implemented a four-day work week trial period for support staff.  The 3 pm start-time is just one more way Harrity is improving life/work balance in the legal field.

“At Harrity, we understand the predicament that virtual learning can create for working parents who are trying to balance their child’s schoolwork and their own career.  We don’t believe in making our team choose between their family and their success, and recognize that with schools across the country practicing e-learning this fall, that is the unfortunate reality for many,” said John Harrity, Managing Partner.

“Effective immediately, we have modified our flexible hours to allow staff to start their workday as late as 3 pm, when most school days end.  This will allow parents to assist with classwork and childcare during normal school hours, without using PTO or falling behind at work.”

The new policy has been well-received by staff, as it offers relief to the firm’s working parents struggling to find a balance.

Back in March, Autumn Vanatta, a Patent Prosecution Specialist at Harrity, began sharing her remote office with her two children.

At the time, her husband was also home and able to assist with helping their two children, in 1st and 4th grades, complete their online assignments.  “We were one of the few schools that continued actual grading, classes were not just pass/fail, so sometimes it required teaching new material to the kids.  Some days this took a lot of time and effort because we are not trained to be school teachers, so we put forth the extra effort to learn how to teach our children the lessons so they would not fall behind.”

However, as school starts back this fall Autumn’s husband will not be home to assist with school.  Her children will be in a school district holding virtual classes so she jumped at the opportunity to start her workday later.

“I really wasn’t sure how I was going to balance two kids “in” school and working during the same hours, knowing how much time and effort my husband and I put into the last few months of the last school year.  The 3pm start time will keep me from feeling pulled in three directions – responding to work in a timely manner and assisting two kids (in different grades) with school,” she said.

Docketing Specialist Julie Swartz added how appreciative she is of the firm’s consideration and support of its staff.

“Not only does Harrity & Harrity encourage their employees to innovate and excel while on the job, but also in life.  In addition to the benefit of working remotely, having a flexible schedule empowers me to focus my attention on my child’s online schooling during typical working hours,” stated Julie. “The firm has alleviated the problem so many parents are facing during these difficult times- to be an educator, a role model, and a dedicated employee – all within the confines of 9 to 5.”

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

For more information on Harrity’s life/work balance and other factors that contribute to their high employee satisfaction and great team culture, and to apply to current openings, please visit harrityllp.com/careers.

 

Harrity Allows Staff to Choose Own Work Schedule Due to Virtual School

As working parents try to figure out how they will help their children with virtual learning this fall, one local law firm is trying to set an example.

The firm Harrity and Harrity is based in Fairfax, Virginia, but has employees nationwide and just announced its staff can now choose their own schedule with the ability to start the day as late as three o’clock in the afternoon.

 

Managing partner John Harrity tells FOX 5: “Is someone supposed to quit their job just so they can sit with their kids to make sure that they’re learning all day? That’s a devastating situation.”

Harrity says many of his employees are taking him up on the 3 p.m. start time and his firm is hoping others take notice and consider offering their staff the same flexibility.

For more information on Harrity’s life/work balance and other factors that contribute to their high employee satisfaction and great team culture, and to apply to current openings, please visit harrityllp.com/careers.

 

Jorden Harrity, Daughter of John Harrity, Organizes Pizza Deliveries to Thank First Responders

By 

CENTREVILLE, VA (The Patch)— The Harrity family had faced a similarly scary situation four years earlier when John Harrity was rushed to the hospital with what turned out to be a major heart attack. In late April, Harrity’s 17-year-old daughter Jorden Harrity suddenly fainted in the early morning hours, bringing back memories of 2016. Her parents called 911, and she was rushed to the emergency room.

The doctors at the hospital ran a bunch of tests but could not find any major issues with Jorden. While everything worked out for the teen who will be a senior at Centreville High School, she started thinking about the firefighters and EMTs like the ones with the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department who helped her.

Jorden wondered why they were not necessarily receiving as much attention as the hardworking medical teams at hospitals who are also risking their lives helping COVID-19 patients. She told Patch that she believed first responders also deserved recognition for the risky work they do on a daily basis.

As a way to show her gratitude for taking her to the hospital — and remembering how EMTs rushed her father to the hospital four years earlier — Jorden came up with the idea to deliver pizzas to the fire station where the firefighters and EMTs worked.

Harrity delivered her first pizzas last Friday to the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department in Centreville to thank them for helping her back in April.

Capt. Kenneth Dobbs at the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department said he appreciated Jorden delivering the pizzas in person. EMTs often do not know what happens to the people who they help. “The fact that she was able to walk in here, say thank you to us and bring us pizza,” he told WDVM. “It just means a lot to us and our crews.”

Jorden Harrity, a rising senior at Centreville High School, meets with Fairfax Fire & Rescue Department personnel to express her appreciation. (Courtesy of John Harrity)

Jorden also approached her dad, managing partner of Harrity & Harrity law firm in Fairfax City, with an idea to not only thank the men and women at the Centreville fire station but to honor the nearby fire stations for each of the 56 employees of his law firm, who not only live in Virginia, but in more than two dozen other states.

Jorden started doing research to determine which local fire station was the one that would respond to each Harrity & Harrity employee’s home across the country in case of emergency. After delivering pizzas to the Centreville fire station on Friday, Jorden is now scheduling deliveries to fire stations in states across the country.

After his near-death experience in 2016 at the age of 49 from a “widow-maker” heart attack, Jorden’s father, John Harrity, ramped up his charitable efforts. His Fairfax City law firm, Harrity & Harrity, was already known for its giving, whether it was through its participation in the annual Lawyers Have Heart race in Georgetown that raises money for the American Heart Association or local charities.

Since his near-death experience, John Harrity and his brother and law firm co-founder Paul Harrity created the Harrity 4 Charity that gives five percent of the law firm’s profits to charities. Law firm employees also donate a portion of their paychecks to charity. In addition to the charities, Harrity also created an emergency COVID-19 fund.

Jorden, who is a member of service clubs at Centreville High School, said her father’s efforts since his heart attack have inspired her to help others. She told Patch about her new appreciation for the value of community service and plans to continue working to help others during her senior year and when she heads off to college in the fall of 2021.

 

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300 ™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Virginia teen thanks first responders with pizza deliveries

CENTREVILLE, Va. (WDVM) — 17-year-old Jorden Harrity, daughter of Harrity & Harrity Manager Partner John Harrity, is thanking first responders by delivering pizzas to local fire stations.

 

 

Harrity came up with the idea when she fainted back in April and the paramedics brought her to the hospital. She realized that the first responders weren’t getting as much notoriety as the medical staff in hospitals.

Harrity delivered her first pizza on August 7 to the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department to thank them for answering her call back in April.

One pizza down… 56 more to go. Harrity decided that she wanted to thank other local first responders. She located the nearest responding unit for all 56 employees in her father’s firm. Now, she will be scheduling deliveries in states all across the U.S.

Capt. Kenneth Dobbs at the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department was thankful for the delivery — not because of the pizzas, but because he got to see Harrity. The teams don’t usually know what happens to the people who they respond to.

“The fact that she was able to walk in here, say thank you to us and bring us pizza…it just means a lot to us and our crews,” he said.

by 

 

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300 ™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Bruce MacEwen – Adam Smith, Esq.: Clause 8, Episode 20

On the latest episode of the Clause 8 podcast, Eli interviews Bruce MacEwen – the founder and president of Adam Smith, Esq. Bruce is recognized as the world’s leading expert on the economics of law firms, has written thousands of articles on the subject, and provides advice to select firms about how to succeed in the changing legal landscape.

The Great Recession spurred lots of talk about innovation, technology, alternative fee arrangements, new compensation structures, and countless of other ways that law firms need to change. However, the economic boom that followed has allowed “Big Law” firms to continue to thrive without making any substantial changes. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused painful flashbacks for many law firm leaders who previously led their firms through the Great Recession. At the same time, the continued uncertainty and uneven impact on the economy, has made it much more difficult for law firms to decide what steps need to be taken. For example, in the IP field, there was an initial slowdown of litigation work while patent prosecution work remained relatively stable.

Eli reached out to Bruce to get his thoughts about how law firms have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, what law firm leaders should be thinking about while navigating this moment in time, and the business of law in general.

On this episode, Eli and Bruce discuss:

  • Why Bruce thought there was something off about law firms by Thanksgiving of his first year as an associate
  • How companies select & manage outside counsel
  • Tension of building in-house law departments v. relying on outside counsel
  • Why law firms refuse to do recession scenario planning
  • Surprising nimbleness of law firms
  • Law firms being much more thoughtful and humane in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic than they were during the “Great Financial Reset of 2008”
  • Why successful law firm partners can be dynamite for law firms
  • Rethinking real estate needs of law firms
  • Different law firm models – “Best-in-breed” law firms v. full-service law firms
  • Boutiques and benefits of a lawyer’s practice being at the core of what a firm does
  • Using Net Promoter Score (NPS) to evaluate law firms
  • Law firms deciding whether to invest in a practice area
  • Vision and hunger being the key to starting a successful boutique law
  • Difference between lawyers who succeed v. fail
  • much more!

Listen and subscribe on IPwatchdog.com or your favorite podcasting app!

 

Harrity Implements Four-Day Work Week

Harrity & Harrity, the Go-To Firm for the Patent 300 ™, has implemented a four-day work week for support staff.  This summer, each support team has selected one month to test out the shortened work week, splitting up who takes which day off in rotation.

The firm already offers schedule flexibility, remote options, and a 7.5-hour workday.  The ultimate goal of the four-day work week is to maintain this, allowing staff to work just 30 hours per week without taking any cuts in pay.

“Obviously, we have deadlines, and timeliness is an extremely important part of the services we provide our clients,” says John Harrity, Managing Partner.  “Support staff will work a longer day if they have to in order to ensure all work is completed on time, but the intention of the four-day work week is not to work four 10-hour days.  The goal is to continue with our normal 7.5-hour day, with a 30-hour work week.”

The idea came about in 2019, with the goal of attaining true life/work balance- a significant component of Harrity’s firm culture.  Although many things still need to be achieved before the firm can implement this full-time, shortened summer weeks are a step in the right direction.

“The future of the firm,” says John, “will be permanent four-day work weeks.”

And, it seems to be going well so far.

“I’ve done a four-day work week before and I love doing it; I think our team really likes it too. Who doesn’t want to cut their work week down to four days?” says Sara Stesney, Manager of the New Applications Support Team.

Another advantage, she adds, is the fact that the benefit is shared by the whole team.

“The individuals on my team are incredibly hardworking and responsible.  Despite the firm’s ample PTO policy, they are hesitant to take any paid time off, because they know their absence will increase the workload of their other team members and they just don’t want to create more work for anyone else. With the four-day work week, everyone contributes to the extra workload, and everyone enjoys the extra time off.   I’ve already seen the benefits of the shortened week reflected in the mindsets of my team members.  They come back from their day off truly refreshed and ready to tackle their work, without the feeling of guilt for putting a burden on their colleagues.”

For more information on Harrity’s life/work balance and other factors that contribute to their high employee satisfaction and great team culture, and to apply to current openings, please visit harrityllp.com/careers.

Harrity 4 Charity Lends a Hand in Communities Across the Country During Pandemic

For the past 33 years, Manna Ministries, a weekly food share distribution agency in rural Alabaster, Alabama, has helped feed people in underserved communities in four counties—already making it the largest agency of Community Food Bank of Central Alabama in Birmingham. But even so, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything.

“Since COVID,” says Executive Director Phyllis Harbin, “we have doubled the number of people we are serving since this time last year, now close to 300 households. And we are one of the only food shares that distributes weekly, not monthly.  People are carpooling here from inner city Birmingham with two, three, even four families in the vehicle because they can’t find enough food,” she notes about the drive-throughs on Saturday mornings.”

“People are losing their jobs,” she explains. “We’re now seeing all walks of life come through … many of them middle class folks. At least 25% have never needed to ask for help before.  People have no financial cushion and who would have ever thought something like this would happen?”

Reliant on donations of cash and food, all-volunteer Manna Ministries is able to feed someone for a month for about $5 … But COVID has made it far harder to meet the demand … And many people don’t realize that Food Stamps don’t even cover necessary paper products or hygiene items.

“Weekly,” Phyllis relates, “we give every family one box each of pantry items, produce and meat, as well as breads, sweets and dairy if we have it—about 50-60 pounds of food. And we provide baby formula/food. We don’t always have hygiene items, but we are trying during the pandemic to provide toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, feminine hygiene products, even pet food.  All of our volunteers look for donations, like asking our dentists to donate toothpaste and toothbrushes.  We’ll take any usable donation. Hand sanitizer is hard to find, but the Church Ladies have been making masks to hand out.  We just try to show kindness and love on them.”

Afraid that COVID isn’t going anywhere soon, donations like the one from Harrity 4 Charity’s COVID emergency fund are more important than ever.  “You betcha,” says Phyllis, a retired financial record keeper.  “The amount that Harrity gave us took us through three months of weekly food drive-throughs—You’re talking about feeding 1,500 families. And the public relations support provided by Harrity brought in three more sizable donations. We’re grateful.”

“We all do it not because we have to,” she shares, “but because we see a big need out there and have a love of people. We feel called to do His work. It’s a labor of love and we’re just glad that we’re able to assist.”

See Manna Ministries food distribution drive-thru on NBC’s WVTM-TV: https://www.wvtm13.com/article/local-ministry-hands-out-food-to-hundreds-in-alabaster/33357106

Images of Food Drive-Through

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300 ™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Harrity’s Rocky Berndsen Recognized in IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists Annual Listing

Harrity’s Rocky Berndsen has been recognized in the IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists, an annual listing of individuals who lead the way in the development and implementation of world-class programs that maximize the value of intellectual property portfolios.

According to IAM Media, the strategists identified in this guide do not see issues from just one perspective; instead, they see value creation in the round. It is this 360-degree perspective, combined with a demonstrable ability to deliver, which makes them stand out from the crowd.

Rocky’s innovation and leadership in the area of patent analytics and IP business strategy development contributed to his nomination on this global listing of the IP elite. Congratulations, Rocky!

About the IAM Strategy 300 Nominations

(Source: IAM Media)

These world-class IP strategists are primarily identified through confidential nominations made online. However, the extensive research process also involves face-to-face and telephone interviews, as well as email exchanges, with senior members of the global IP community.

No individual can qualify for a listing in the IAM Strategy 300 unless he or she is nominated by at least three people from outside of his or her own organization. But even this does not guarantee inclusion; instead, only those individuals who further research shows to have exceptional skill sets, as well as profound insights into the development, creation and management of IP value, are featured in the IAM Strategy 300.

For this latest edition of the guide, IAM started the research process from scratch; so even those who had previously been listed had to meet the same selection criteria as those who are new to the guide this year. Once a person received the minimum three recommendations from outside his or her own organization, IAM undertook their own independent research to assess these claims.

Most nominees did not make it through the vetting process; those who did are listed in the following pages. The selection procedure is always strictly applied because our overarching aim is to ensure that only those individuals who possess exceptional skill sets – as well as profound insights into the development, creation and management of IP value – are featured in the IAM Strategy 300.

“We cannot promise that every IP strategist who deserves to be described as world class has made it into this publication. But we are certain that everyone who is listed deserves to be.”

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

 

Data-Driven Decision Making for Patent Portfolio Managers

By Bret Tingey, Associate | IPWatchdog.com

A patent portfolio can be one of the greatest assets that a company owns. A patent portfolio may boost a company’s valuation for a stock offering or a sale, may be licensed for recurring revenue, may be sold to raise cash, or may be enforced to seek monetary damages or to exclude competitors from the market. However, growing a patent portfolio can be expensive. For this reason, many companies hire a portfolio manager to balance the value and expense of growing and maintaining the patent portfolio.

A portfolio manager may be responsible for making decisions including a total target number of patent filings, target numbers of patent filings for different technology areas of the company, patent firms to use for filing and prosecuting patent applications, or how to manage costs per issued patent. The portfolio manager can improve the decision-making process by using data-driven decision making. This article shows some examples of data-driven decision making.

Keep Reading on IPWatchdog.com

 

Study Ranks Harrity as a Quality Leader in Patent Field

In a recently released evaluation of U.S. patent law firms, Harrity & Harrity, LLP emerged as a quality leader in the patent field.

“Quality is how we set ourselves apart from any other firm in the patent space. Since day one, we’ve had two core processes in place to ensure our work product consistently meets the highest quality standards,” says John Harrity, the Harrity’s managing partner. “These include systematically reviewing every attorney work product through a ‘Second Attorney Review (2AR)’ process before it goes out the door and adhering to a uniform writing style. The high ‘Quality Score’ ratings recently received from Patent Bots confirms we are upholding those standards.”

The study, conducted by patent proof-reading service Patent Bots, reviewed an entire year of issued U.S. patents from 802 law firms, then ranked the firms based on the average number of errors in each patent, published here.  Of those firms with at least 200 issued patents, Harrity & Harrity ranked #1 overall in terms of patent quality. Among all 802 firms reviewed, Harrity & Harrity ranked #2. These rankings are based on an average quality score of 98.931 for the 528 patents issued by Harrity between March 31, 2019 – March 31, 2020.

Harrity also ranked #1 in the following U.S. Patent Office Technology Centers: Tech Center 2100 (99.38 out of 100); Tech Center 2400 (99.92 out of 100); and Tech Center 3600 (99.41 out of 100). The firm ranked second in Tech Center 2600 (99.91 out of 100) and ninth in Tech Center 2800 (96.28).

Jeff O’Neill,  the CEO of Patent Bots, stated “Harrity’s top quality ranking is truly impressive, and Harrity is to be commended for its commitment to providing top quality work for its clients.”

In addition to landing at the top of the Patent Bots rankings, Harrity was recently recognized on the 2020 IAM Patent 1000 list, an annual compilation of the world’s leading patent professionals, as a “highly recommended” firm for patent prosecution.

The online edition of the release noted, “It is simply amazing what Harrity & Harrity has been able to achieve in the patent space by applying a carefully thought-out lean manufacturing style system to file vast numbers of patents while maintaining quality of the highest order. Clever use of automation and a uniform writing style play into its efficiency, while a rigorous second-attorney review system helps to set the quality bar high.”

From a client perspective, according to the IAM release, Harrity’s “reasonable pricing and outstanding customer service” are notable differentiators, as is the firm’s timeliness, noting, “When an emergency project needs to be completed quickly and done right, it is the only firm to turn to.”

A variety of factors contribute to Harrity’s ability to file top-quality patent after patent, including a unique, uniform writing style, separate teams for drafting and prosecuting applications, a thorough hiring process that brings in top-talent attorneys and support staff from across the nation, a superb training and mentoring program and a rewarding compensation model, and the emerging use of automation software in the patent process.

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP:

Harrity & Harrity, headquarted in Fairfax, Va., is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas. Our clients trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry-leading innovation, and outstanding service. Harrity actively promotes diversity and inclusion at the firm and throughout the legal industry, with an additional focus on giving back to the community through Harrity 4 Charity. Visit us online at www.HarrityLLP.com

Harrity Continues to Provide Hope Through COVID-19 Relief

In response to the Coronavirus crisis, Harrity 4 Charity—the giving-back initiative of Harrity & Harrity, LLP—has re-designated its priorities to assist people impacted by COVID-19 by creating a fund specifically focused on relief efforts. The fund is used to issue one grant or more per month to struggling restaurants across the country, who then provide thousands of dollars’ worth of redeemable meal vouchers to local food banks and community resource centers where they are distributed to families in need. The firm also selects individuals and families nominated for help by firm employees and associates and provides them with emergency financial relief to offset the virus’s impact, with plans to continue the program through the end of 2020.

“We all know people who are struggling tremendously,” says John Harrity, managing partner of Harrity & Harrity, “but when you hear the personal stories of what people are going through in every community in the country, it’s heart-wrenching. A freshly prepared meal is more than sustenance, it’s a very basic, down-home way to communicate that we care. And we are doing it in a way that also supports restaurant owners and staff whose businesses have been hit by this virus in those same communities.”

The first region to experience Harrity’s generosity was in their own backyard, in Fairfax County, Va, during the month of May. The firm has since expanded the program to offer the same help in other states, specifically in areas that are most vulnerable to economic devastation as a result of the pandemic.

Says Annie, a single grandmother raising her four grandsons, ages 14, 13, 11 and 2, “I never thought I’d have to go to a food bank ever in my life. I don’t like going, but for my grandsons I go, though not every week. If I don’t need it, I don’t go. I am grateful, but I don’t want to be greedy.”

Forced to accept a pay cut in 2017—when an injury sidelined her as an inspector for the housing authority and forced her to take a position as an administrative assistant—Annie has struggled to support her grandchildren and to put dinner on the table.  The COVID-19 pandemic created the added burden of assisting with home schooling the kids, three of whom have learning disabilities.

“In the state of Virginia, they won’t give me food stamps,” she shares. “They say I make too much money. Really, with four children? And there’s no stipend like there would be if they were in foster care. I take primary care of them financially and they are always outgrowing things. But I don’t regret having them. Yes, I get tired and frustrated … But not only did I save them, they saved me too.”

Annie says receiving the vouchers for a take-out family meal from Glory Days restaurant meant “a whole lot” to her.  “When I have extra money, I do take the boys. Monday is $6.99 burger specials. They are very good people and I want them to feel like they are just as important, not less than anyone else.

“It was a blessing and I’m thankful … Just one day I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to cook because I‘m rushing out at six o’clock in the morning and maybe forget to take something out for dinner. The food was delicious and the kids enjoyed it, which really made my day.”

“I was never the kind of person who had to ask for help,” she adds, “but with having the kids, it has really humbled me tremendously.  Things that were a big deal aren’t a big deal anymore.  Sometimes we go through things for a reason, but it’s okay … I don’t mind telling my story because it needs to be told.”

In another part of Virginia, Elsa, a stay-at-home mom, and Jose, a carpenter, are the parents of four sons, ages 10-19. Both Jose and their youngest boy contracted the coronavirus. Although they were thankfully asymptomatic, Jose was furloughed from his job as a carpenter, leaving his family without income. They felt very fortunate to be able to get food on the table through the Lorton Community Action Center and especially when they, too, were given the vouchers for a meal at Glory Days.

“Now that I’m home from work, I can see how exhausting it is for my mom to take care of my brothers,” shares their son, Erik, 19, an apprentice studying to be an electrician, but who is also currently on hiatus due to the pandemic. “We had not left the house in a week when we received the vouchers and we were running low on food.  We were just very thankful that we were able to eat and that Mom didn’t have to cook for us that day.”

For the month of June, the firm brought its COVID-19 relief program to the state of Alabama, where two food banks received grants to feed over 600 families. A new wave of recipients were selected for emergency financial relief and received checks. Some of their stories and more information about our initiatives can be found on our COVID-19 Relief Page.

 

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

 

Shawn Lillemo Co-Presents “The Tech-Enhanced Law Firm” at Legal Marketing Association (LMA) P3 – Virtual Experience

Harrity’s Software Product Manager Shawn Lillemo was recently featured in the Legal Marketing Association (LMA)’s P3 – The Virtual Experience. Shawn co-presented “The Tech-Enhanced Law Firm: Developing Custom Solutions to Supercharge Your Legal Professionals” with Amy Monaghan of Perkins Coie.

The session covered how to build an “unfair” competitive advantage, improve firm efficiency, and provide better client services using custom software solutions, such as Harrity’s proprietary patent drafting automation software, amongst other Harrity and Perkins Coie developments.

“The Tech Enhanced Law Firm” presentation included the following topics:

  1. Legal Innovation – What Asteroid?
  2. Rise of the Robots
  3. Making Legal Superheroes
  4. Sustainable Innovation

R. Amani Smathers, Senior Practice Innovations Specialist at Chapman and Cutler LLP, provided the following feedback regarding the presentation:

“Shawn, your anecdote about the US/European patent filing formats was one of the best examples I’ve heard of the importance of asking ‘why,’ reexamining assumptions, and that sometimes the best solution is ‘no-sourcing’—determining the work doesn’t need to be done by any resource (human or automated) at all.

I also appreciated that in mentioning being willing to fail, you both recognized that we operate in organizations that typically have a lower risk appetite.  So yes, be willing to fail fast—but fail ‘safe.’  Fail small and smart, and internalize your lessons learned.  I think those points often get lost in the popular ‘fail fast’ mantra, which originated in an industry with a higher risk tolerance.”

For more information regarding Harrity’s software, and to watch Shawn’s Automation Drafting Tools Presentation at IPO’s 2019 Annual Meeting, visit our Automation Page.

 

Harrity Ranks as a World Leading Patent Professional on IAM Patent 1000 List

Harrity & Harrity, LLP has been named a “Highly Recommended” firm in the field patent prosecution, according to the newly released 2020 edition of the IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Professionals.

The online publication of the IAM Patent 1000 stated the following in regard to Harrity’s accomplishments in the patent space:

“It is simply amazing what Harrity & Harrity has been able to achieve in the patent space by applying a carefully thought-out lean manufacturing style system to file vast numbers of patents while maintaining quality of the highest order. Clever use of automation and a uniform writing style play into its efficiency, while a rigorous second-attorney review system helps to set the quality bar high.”

The compact boutique has worked other magic, too: its dedicated patent analytics group, headed by Rocky Berndsen, has been delving into all sorts of statistics to bring a unique level of industry insight to clients.

None of this has gone unnoticed by competitors: “It is growing faster than any similarly sized peer and runs an impressive recruiting programme that precisely identifies people who will thrive in its system. The efficiency tools it has invested in are also excellent. Harrity & Harrity just gets prosecution and patents.”

From a client perspective, its “reasonable pricing and outstanding customer service” are major plus points, as is its nimbleness: “When an emergency project needs to be completed quickly and done right, it is the only firm to turn to.”

Another feather in the outfit’s cap is its admirable proactivity with respect to diversity in the IP profession. In 2019 it launched the Harrity Minority Firm Incubator, which trains attorneys from minority backgrounds in prep and pros and law firm management; at the end of the four-year programme, those schooled under it will establish their own patent boutiques. The genius architects of all this success are John HarrityPaul Harrity and Paul Gurzo.”

 

About the IAM Patent 1000
(source: IAM Media)

The IAM Patent 1000 is commonly regarded as the definitive ‘go-to’ resource for those seeking to identify world-class, private practice patent expertise and leading expert witnesses in the US. As with previous editions, to arrive at the 2020 rankings, IAM undertook an exhaustive qualitative research project to identify outstanding firms and individuals across multiple jurisdictions. When identifying the leading firms, factors such as depth of knowledge, market presence and the level of work on which they are typically instructed were all taken into account, as well as positive peer and client feedback.

Over five months, IAM conducted in the region of 1,800 interviews with numerous attorneys at law, patent attorneys and in-house counsel to gather market intelligence on the leading players in the field. Individuals qualify for a listing in the IAM Patent 1000 when they receive sufficient positive feedback from peers and clients with knowledge of their practice and the market within which they operate. In those markets in which practitioners have narrowed the focus of their work, we have presented tables highlighting the leaders in the respective areas of prosecution, transactions and litigation. Only those individuals identified by market sources for their exceptional skill sets and profound insights into patent matters feature in the IAM Patent 1000.

We have also identified the leading firms in the market – similarly listing them, where appropriate, in prosecution, transactions and litigation tables – as it is clear that the depth of expertise that a firm can offer beyond and in support of its star practitioners is an important factor in the decision to instruct. Firms qualify for a listing on the basis of their depth of expertise, market presence and the level of work on which they are typically engaged.

Our aim is to ensure that the IAM Patent 1000 is as accurate as possible. We seek to produce the definitive list of the world’s leading patent experts, on the basis of feedback received from those operating in the market. If you disagree with the opinions we have presented, we would like to hear from you. Our guarantee is that we will further research your input and so improve the list in the future.

All names and individual positions at firms are correct to the best of our knowledge as of 15 April 2020. In instances where a firm has merged or subsequently dissolved, or individuals have moved, these changes will be reflected in the next edition of the IAM Patent 1000.

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

 

Fairfax Lawyer Helps Fund Restaurants During COVID-19

Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WASHINGTON, DC (June 15th, 2020) A Fairfax attorney is using his charity organization to help community members suffering from the financial impacts of COVID-19.

In 2016, John Harrity, managing partner of Harrity & Harrity, nearly died at 49 from a “widowmaker” — a heart attack resulting in the complete closure of the left anterior coronary artery that often results in instant death. Given a million-to-one odds of survival, Harrity decided to turn such a negative experience into something good.

Soon after, Harrity 4 Charity, or H4C, was born.

“I thought, if I just get through this process and eventually go back to work and just go back as if nothing happened, then I will have wasted this entire experience,” Harrity said.

In the four years since its founding, H4C has worked as a tangential organization of Harrity’s firm to donate 5% of its profits to multiple causes, including the American Heart Association and Zero – the End of Prostate Cancer.

“Every employee of my firm gives a portion of their paycheck to our partner charities,” Harrity said. “We wouldn’t hire someone that wouldn’t be willing to make that commitment. That’s how important it is for us.”

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, H4C, now independent from Harrity’s firm, has “redesigned” its priorities to create a fund for individuals that are struggling financially during these times. In the past few months, Harrity has used his organization to create grants for struggling local restaurants — including Glory Days Grill in Fairfax.

“We thought, OK, we’ve been giving to charities, and that’s good, but I think we need to pivot and help people who have been financially impacted,” Harrity said.

Therefore last month, Harrity teamed up with the Glory Days Grill owners to create a system in which the restaurant provided 157 meal vouchers to local food banks that could be brought to the restaurant and exchanged for a meal for a family of four.

“The [community] response has been overwhelming. People are so grateful that we are helping them,” said Sandra Maxey, controller for H4C.

One Fairfax resident that benefited from a meal voucher is Elsa. Last month, the youngest of her four sons tested positive for COVID-19. Because her family has to stay home for at least two weeks following his diagnosis, they were unable to work and struggled to afford groceries.

“The Glory Days Grill donation came to us at the best time where we could sit down as a family and enjoy a meal together,” Elsa said.

Harrity said he wanted to make a charitable contribution directly connected to his firm, as well. Therefore, he had his 55 employees compile a list of all the individuals they knew of that are struggling financially during this time.

The firm has since sent a first round of checks to those individuals to help alleviate financial stress, with a second round being sent in the upcoming weeks.

“Our intention with that is that we will continue to do it for as long as there’s an issue,” Harrity said.

Maxey said that the organization is currently in the process of creating an additional program to help feed first responders.

Harrity said he wants to help those outside of Virginia, as well. Therefore, with two employees working remotely in Alabama, H4C has begun giving to food banks there.

“We’re going to continue to do this through the end of the year,” Harrity said.

 

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Product Success Can Show Nonobviousness

By Patrick Hansen, Associate

The U.S. Supreme Court’s KSR decision has left an impression that any claimed invention based on a combination of known, related features is likely obvious under 35 U.S.C. § 103.  The recent Fox Factory, Inc. v. SRAM, LLC (Fed. Cir. May 18, 2020) decision is a heartening reminder that is not always the case.  In Fox Factory, the Federal Circuit affirmed a Board holding that claims 1-26 of U.S. Patent 9,291,250 (‘250 patent) are not unpatentable as obvious under Section 103.  What makes this decision reassuring for patent owners and applicants is that the Federal Circuit upheld SRAM’s ‘250 patent based on objective indicia of nonobviousness (also known as secondary considerations).

Fox Factory and SRAM are bicycle competitors, and SRAM’s ‘250 patent is directed to a single chainring of a bicycle that does not switch a chain between multiple chainrings.  The single chainring has teeth that fit more snugly into chain link spaces, and the single chainring (marketed as “X-Sync”) has been praised for retaining the chain in poor cycling conditions.

As shown in Fig. 1 from the ‘250 patent, link spaces alternate in size (D1 or D2) due to the manner in which pieces of a chain are linked.Claim 1 of the ‘250 patent recites a chainring with wider teeth of a first size that alternates with teeth of a second size, in order to snugly fit into respective outer (D2) and inner (D1) link spaces.  In particular, claim 1 recites that a wider tooth is designed to fill, at the midpoint, at least 80% of an outer link space.

SRAM asserted the ‘250 patent against Fox Factory in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  In a corresponding inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, Fox Factory cited Japanese patent publication JP S56-42489 (“Shimano”) and U.S. Patent 3,375,022 (“Hattan”).  Shimano describes a chainring with widened teeth for wider link spaces, and Hattan describes filling link spaces between 74.6% and 96% of a space width at the bottom of a tooth.  Fox Factory argued that it would have been obvious to a skilled artisan to see the utility in designing a chainring with widened teeth to improve chain retention and to look to Hattan for filling the link space at least 80%.  However, the Board found that Hattan’s fill percentages applied to the bottom of a tooth rather than the midpoint of the tooth.  Notably, the Board found that SRAM’s evidence of secondary considerations rebutted Fox Factory’s argument that a skilled artisan would nevertheless find it obvious to modify Shimano’s chainring teeth to fill at least 80% of a wide link space at the middle of a tooth.  Judge Lourie, writing for the Federal Circuit panel that included Judges Mayer and Wallach, affirmed the Board’s decision.

As you may recall, the Graham v. John Deere Co., 383 U.S. 1 (1966) analysis includes four factors: (1) the scope and content of the prior art; (2) the differences between the prior art and the patent claims; (3) the level of ordinary skill in the art; and (4) secondary considerations (also known more favorably as objective indicia of nonobviousness).  All four factors are to be evaluated collectively before a conclusion on obviousness is reached, and the burden of proof remains with the patent challenger.  Fox Factory argued that the only difference at issue is the degree to which a wider link space is filled, measured halfway up the tooth.  Fox Factory also argued that the Board erred in presuming a nexus between the claimed invention and evidence of success, arguing that it is the tall hooked teeth that drove the X-Sync chainring to be successful.

While acknowledging that a mere change in proportion may not meet the level of invention required by Section 103, the Federal Circuit agreed with the Board that SRAM’s design of the X-Sync chainring teeth, as claimed, displayed significant invention.  The X-Sync chainring’s success surprised skilled artisans who were skeptical about it solving the long-felt need of chain retention.  In fact, the industry awarded the X-Sync chainring “Innovation of the Year.”

The Federal Circuit found that the X-Sync chainring and the ‘250 claims met the nexus requirement – that a product from which the secondary considerations arose is “co-extensive” with the claimed invention.  The Federal Circuit also stated that the unclaimed features, such as the hooks and protrusions of the teeth, are to some extent incorporated into the >80% fill requirement.  The Federal Circuit concluded that substantial evidence supports the Board’s determination that a nexus exists between the X-Sync chainring’s success and the teeth profile that is essentially the claimed invention.

While Fox Factory does not present any new rule, it is a reminder that patent owners and applicants should keep records indicating a long-felt need and any industry skepticism, as well as records of subsequent success of a product to which claims are directed.  Claim drafters should learn from inventors which features could contribute to a product’s commercial success or acclamation.  Fox Factory reassures us that objective indicia of nonobviousness can still be a meaningful consideration at the Board and the Federal Circuit, even over what may be argued to be routine optimization.

 

Sarah Tsou – Patent Litigation Funding: Clause 8, Episode 19

This episode features an interview with Sarah Tsou, who is an investment manager for patent litigation at the world’s leading litigation funder, Bentham IMF (now part of Omni Bridgeway Limited).

The playbook is simple for deep-pocketed defendants facing lawsuits from patent owners with limited resources. Even if a patent owner has a very strong case, the defendant can just drag the case out long enough until the patent owner and his lawyers run out of resources to continue. At best, the patent owners are forced to settle lawsuits for a fraction of what they think they are owed. Patent litigation funders have changed this calculus by providing select patent owners with enough resources.

During this episode, Sarah talks about:

  • becoming a patent litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis and working with John Desmarais before he started his firm focusing on patent monetization;
  • how patent litigation funding can help in-house attorneys who are facing shrinking patent litigation budgets due to the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • what 1% of cases have the rare mix of merits and economics to receive funding from top litigation funders, including a discussion of specific amounts of potential damages and legal fees;
  • how she finds the cases that she funds;
  • why having the right patent litigation attorneys who are willing to share the risk is crucial;
  • what a Chief IP Counsel should think about when building a patent portfolio if he’s interested in possibly taking advantage of patent litigation funding in the future;
  • the importance of curiosity for junior attorneys who want to enter the litigation funding field;
  • and much more!

Listen and subscribe on IPwatchdog.com or your favorite podcasting app!

 

Harrity Ranked #2 in Patent Bots Quality Scores

Harrity & Harrity has been listed as a top-ranking firm in Patent Bots’ recently released Quality Scores report.

Overall, Harrity ranked #2 out of 802 firms reviewed for the Patent Bots Quality Scores report, with an average score of 98.93/100 across 528 issued patents, which was also one of the largest sample sizes recorded. Patent Bots Quality Scores are based on the average number of errors found in issued patents. Scores are calculated using automated patent proofreading to process issued patents and included all issued patents for the year ending March 31, 2020.

Harrity ranked #1 in the following technology centers:

  • Computer Architecture and Software (99.38)
  • Networking, Multiplexing, Cable, and Security (99.92)
  • Transportation, Construction, Electronic Commerce, Agriculture, National Security and License and Review (99.41)

Harrity additionally ranked 2nd in Communications (99.91) and 9th in Semiconductors/Memory, Circuits/Measuring and Testing, Optics/Photocopying, Printing/Measuring and Testing (96.28).

To view the full rankings, visit https://www.patentbots.com/firms/.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas, and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™.  Their clients trust in their high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service.

 

Brian Pomper – The Innovation Alliance: Clause 8, Episode 18

This episode of Clause 8 features an interview with Brian Pomper of the Innovation Alliance.

Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, and Charles Goodyear are some of America’s best-known innovators. Instead of just making and selling the final products, they obtained patents and licensed their innovations to manufacturers. American companies like IBM, Qualcomm, and Dolby have followed this great American tradition of focusing on innovation.

However, the patent troll narrative has undermined the idea that innovators should be incentivized and rewarded for their efforts. A string of Supreme Court decisions and the passage of the American Invents Act were part of an effort to deal with the so-called “patent troll” problem.

Around the time that the AIA was being debated in Congress, a diverse group of technology companies that focus on research and development formed the Innovation Alliance to educate DC policymakers.

And, Brian – a registered patent attorney who worked for several years on Capitol Hill – became the executive director of Innovation Alliance shortly after it was started.

During this episode, Brian discusses:
• working in Congress and how he became the head of The Innovation Alliance;
• the #1 way to improve the patent system;
• what unites the Innovation Alliance;
• how the Innovation Alliance tried to improve the AIA;
• the Obama administration’s continued efforts to restrict patent rights;
• how DC became more patent friendly;
• the Senate IP subcommittee and why there’s still hope for legislative action to fix patent eligibility;
• importance of having grassroots support for legislative efforts;
• the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the patent policy debate and the Open Covid Pledge; and
• much more!

Listen and subscribe on IPwatchdog.com or your favorite podcasting app!

 

Harrity & Harrity’s First Virtual Women’s Workshop

By Elaine Spector

Harrity & Harrity just completed its 3nd Annual Women’s Workshop.  Due to the quarantine, we shifted gears to host our Women’s Workshop virtually for the first time, which allowed us to offer more women seats in our program.  The Women’s Workshop is part of Harrity’s Diversity Initiative, whose Diversity Mission is to “promote and nurture a respectful, highly engaged, family friendly, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of our talented team with diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, skills/talents, and capabilities.”  35 women, including recent law school graduates and current law students, participated in a 3 ½ day long workshop. The interactive programs included patent preparation and prosecution skills training, resume and interview preparation, and sessions with prominent women guest speakers in the intellectual property field.  Ed Good joined us this year to provide a ½ day seminar in effective legal writing.

The guest speakers ranged from IP partners at major law firms (both litigation and prosecution partners), former leaders at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Chief IP Counsel and IP Counsel at major corporations, and leaders within Diversity and Inclusion organizations. The speakers included Barbara Fiacco, a partner at Foley Hoag LLP and AIPLA’s President, Barbara Fisher, Assistant General Counsel, Intellectual Property and Technology Law for Lockheed Martin Corporation, Courtney Holohan, Accenture’s Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Mercedes Meyer, a Partner at the law firm Faegre Drinker, Sophia Piliouras, president of MCCA’s Advisory Practice at the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), Teresa ‘Terry’ Stanek Rea, a Partner at the law firm Cromwell & Moring and former acting and deputy director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and Ellen Smith, a Partner at the law firm Sughrue Mion.

A favorite session among the participants was the Drafting 101 session with Harrity attorney, Peter Glaser.  The participants were taken through the application drafting process. Another favorite session was led by Harrity attorney, Tim Hirzel, who instructed the participants on patent prosecution.  Both sessions included a hands-on training assignment, which was reviewed by their instructors to maximize learning opportunities.

The session also included two-hour Q & A with Harrity attorneys, which included partners John Harrity, Paul Harrity, and Paul Gurzo.  John and Paul Harrity both agreed that their best career advice includes reading as much as possible with a focus on continued learning.  We hope the participants had a great time, and we are looking forward to next year’s workshop!

Average Claims and Figures

Visualizing Patent Claims and Figures Over Time

How have the number of patent claims and patent figures changed over time?

Let’s let the numbers speak for themselves.  I recommend that you use the full screen mode for this visualization.  Click on the full screen icon on the right.

The interactive visualization above provides a clear indication that at a high level for US utility patents, the average number of claims have gone down over time, while the average number of figures have gone up.  In 2005, the average number of claims per patent was 18.83, while the average number of figures was 12.04.  Compare that to 2019, where the average number of claims per patent was 16.22, and the average number of figures was 14.84.

The reasons for these changes are open to interpretation but the data shows some very interesting outliers to the averages when you slice the data by art unit.  For example, when you look at the business method art units of 3621-3629, the data shows the exact opposite from the entire patent field as a whole.  In 2006, the average number of claims per patent was 24.83, and the average number of figures was 17.00.

The xml data powering the Power BI visualization above is automatically downloaded weekly by our patent analytics system from the USPTO using the Bulk Data Storage System.

To learn more about how you can use patent analytics to inform your practice, visit our Patent Analytics website HERE.

 

The Benefits of Incubator Programs for Minority-Owned Firms

The legal profession is making inroads in terms of diversity, but the National Association of Law Placement reports these gains as slow and incremental. The percentage of African-American associates, for instance, was 4.76% last year, finally breaching the previous milestone mark of 4.66% recorded in 2009. Unfortunately, women of color remain grossly under-represented, accounting for only 2.8% of associates last year — down from 2.93% in 2009. Clearly, the legal profession remains one of the least diverse industries, even with institutions like Harvard Law School reporting ever-increasing minority representation.

Invariably, this lack of diversity can only be addressed through change leadership and decisive action, like implementing diversity initiatives and offering incubator programs for minority-owned firms. This desire to make a difference compelled Harrity & Harrity managing partner John Harrity to incubate women- and minority-owned law firms. The legal industry needs more people like Harrity, with Maryville University noting that a change in society comes from those who have the courage to make a difference. This is why more people and industries need to grapple with social inequalities such as under-representation in various professions. But why are incubator programs important, and what are their benefits to minority-owned firms?

Giving necessary support

Incubator programs are vital because they can help jumpstart a firm in the same way venture capital funding helps startups level up their operations. This aid is the main benefit of incubator programs, which support up-and-coming law firms by providing a range of resources such as office space and professional services for a reasonable fee that is often paid out in installments or via negotiated arrangements. This support is invaluable to minority-owned firms, as they are more likely to have less capital and fewer resources to run a sustainable business.

Helping a firm focus on the core business

Crucially, being part of an incubator program can also help minority-owned law firms focus on their core business, which is to provide top legal services to their clientele. This is possible because the program already puts in place the necessary infrastructure to get the firm up and running. This gives all members the ability to fully focus on their cases, as they are freed up from having to accomplish mundane, day-to-day administrative tasks.

Expanding the network

Fast Company details how membership in an incubator program means gaining access to a strong professional network, including industry partners. This network expansion, in turn, opens up plenty of exciting possibilities, like collaborating with big firms, that are often non-existent for a firm in its infancy, especially if the firm is minority- or women-owned. Not to mention, being part of a growing network is also a public relations coup, as associations with bigger firms can help raise the profile of a smaller ones — without necessarily investing a fortune in marketing and PR.

Access to mentors

Another thing about being part of an incubator program is that it gives a firm access to mentors, who can then provide expert knowledge not only on the legal profession, but also on the best practices in terms of running a law firm. Take, for instance, the Minority Firm Incubator program, which is now accepting applicants for its second participant and whose goals include training, developing, and launching minority-owned patent law firms. As such, Harrity & Harrity’s finest get involved in the program and provide guidance to all participants — and by year 4, they already have the necessary knowledge to fully launch their firms.

A final word

We at Harrity & Harrity are committed to promoting diversity in the legal industry, and will continue to nurture our minority-focused programs and their participants to effect change. We hope that initiatives, like our Minority Firm Incubator, will not just begin to address the issue, but inspire others to be change leaders in diversity as well.

By Sharon Drew
Written exclusively for Harrityllp.com

Learn more and/or apply to the 2020 Minority Firm Incubator program HERE.

30 Day Challenge in Support of the Lawyers Have Heart 10K Race, 5K Run and Walk

By Roxana Hoveyda

Will you share your #RUNLHH? Run and walk with us from wherever you are!

30 Day Challenge in Support of the Lawyers Have Heart 10K Race, 5K Run and Walk has Kicked off!

Save the Date to #RUNLHH!

Thousands of people across America are participating in a month of physical activity, culminating in a virtual running and walking event on June 12-14.  The 30-day challenge is encouraging people to stay active and raising crucial funds for the American Heart Association.

Keeping active is central to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  The American Heart Association has embraced the new normal of social distancing, and created a month of challenges that can be undertaken whilst abiding by the current restrictions, designed to help people stay active during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The final challenge will be a virtual running and walking event, where participants will run the 10K or 5K or join a fun walk, completing their route individually and sharing their time on a virtual leader board.  Participants are encouraged to share their experience on social media by using the hashtag #RUNLHH and follow along on social media.

The run and the 30-day challenge are all part of AHA’s annual Lawyers Have Heart event.  Lawyers Have Heart began in 1991 as a running and walking event for the legal community, and has evolved into a staple on DC’s running calendar attracting runners and walkers of all levels of experience and from all walks of life.

Event Co-Chair, John Harrity of Harrity & Harrity, LLP said, “This event has always been about encouraging heart-healthy lifestyles and raising vital funds for education and research.  Now faced with new challenges, here’s a great way to keep active for a month, and for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities to “virtually” come together in support of the American Heart Association.  By going virtual, we look forward to welcoming teams and families from around the world!”

The 30-day challenge has a new challenge each day to keep people active, and keep them motivated to live healthier lives whilst living under stay at home orders.  Whether it’s walking 10,000 steps, doing a 30 second plank or preparing a new healthy recipe for dinner, there are new ideas each day leading up to the virtual run.  In addition, there are tips to help raise money for AHA’s life-saving research and education programs.

Harrity adds, “As a survivor myself, the AHA’s mission is more important now than ever. Millions of people are counting on them for science-based information, health resources, community programs and patient support. We need to rally together to raise money for this critical cause.”

Since 1991, the event has raised over $15 million, with this year’s event aiming to raise $1.4 million.  Co-Chairs of the event are Harrity & Harrity LLP’s  Managing Partner, John Harrity, and Controller, Sandra Maxey.

To register for the 30-day challenge, donate, and find out more information, check out the event’s website for all the details www.lawyershaveheartdc.org.

Join Team Harrity! Click here to register!

Follow along through the Facebook page, on Twitter, and on Instagram.  Share your experience using #RUNLHH and #MoveMore!

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity partners pledge to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Paul Harrity Consecutively Named a Global IP Star

Harrity & Harrity is pleased to announce that Partner Paul Harrity was recently selected by Managing Intellectual Property, the leading specialist guide to IP law firms and practitioners worldwide, as a 2020/2021 “Patent Star.”  Paul was recognized as a Virginia practitioner in the areas of patent prosecution, patent strategy and counseling for the third year in a row. The annual “IP Stars” list recognizes leading lawyers and law firms for intellectual property work in more than 125 jurisdictions.

Paul is a patent attorney in the firm’s Fairfax, Virginia, office, where he focuses on preparing and prosecuting patent applications.  He began his career in 1991 as a patent agent at the United States Patent and Trade Office.  Since leaving the USPTO, Paul has prepared hundreds of patent applications and thousands of Patent Office responses.

Frank Jakes, Legendary Trial Attorney – Clause 8 – Episode 16

This episode of Clause 8 features an interview with trial attorney Frank Jakes – the founder of the Intellectual Property Group at the firm of Johnson Pope in Tampa, FL. There’s a good chance that you have recently seen him questioning Joe Exotic in the Netflix documentary Tiger King. However, even before successfully representing Carole Baskin and Big Cat Rescue, Frank Jakes was already a legendary trial attorney in Tampa who handled lots of cases involving high-profile parties and interesting personalities and won many millions of dollars in verdicts. Many of those cases involved a wide variety of IP rights.

Listen and subscribe on IPwatchdog.com.

 

This week in Amazon Patents – 4/21/2020

Amazon innovates in a wide range of technology areas including e-commerce, logistics, uavs, robotics, networking, cybersecurity, cloud technology and more.  This week, I review the patents obtained by Amazon and summarize the technology areas covered by their patents, as well as, highlight one or two interesting technologies.

Weekly Summary

Amazon obtained 43 US utility patents and 3 US design patents.  Networking technology is the largest area with 9 patents, followed by virtual machines with 3.  There are several patents in the areas of uav/robot delivery and warehouse robots.  See table for a summary of the technologies where Amazon obtained patents.

Interesting Patent

One interesting patent this week is patent 10,628,790 titled “Automated floor expansion using an unmanned fiducial marker placement unit”.  This invention describes how an unmanned robot can expand the floor of a warehouse by placing fiducial markers on the floor instead of a human being having to place the markers on the floor.

Amazon continues to innovate by introducing automation and unmanned robots throughout the inventory management and logistics.

For more information about any of these technology areas or for a patent analysis on Amazon’s patent portfolio, please reach out to me via email at rberndsen@harrityllp.com.

Harrity’s Third Annual Women’s Workshop

With COVID-19 sending everyone into lockdown, you may find yourself looking for something productive to do.  Now is a great time to learn something new.  Particularly since many events that would not typically be found online are now offering free virtual versions via live streaming and video conferencing.  The ability to get online provides access to innumerable resources to stay entertained and learn new skills.  It is the ideal time to reconnect with your goals and start achieving them.  For those interested in patent law, IP firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP is one of those resources.

Harrity’s Women’s Workshop

In response to the current climate, Harrity will host its third annual Women’s Workshop as an online program.  The workshop is a rare opportunity to learn basic patent preparation and prosecution skills, interact with some of the most prominent female patent lawyers in the industry, network with a diverse group of participants, meet with a writing coach, have live Q&A’s with practicing patent attorneys, access free career mentoring, and more.  The four-day program will take place May 18-21 and will be held live through online video conferencing.  It is entirely free and is available to engineers and law students or recent graduates with technical backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a future in intellectual property.  The program will allow participants to explore the lucrative opportunities provided by a career in patent law and learn what it takes to succeed, specifically as a female, in the patent field.

Why Attend the Program?

Obtaining a patent can be a complex process and requires several steps, including searching prior art, determining patentability, preparing and filing a patent application, and corresponding with the patent office through patent prosecution.  It can be a particular struggle to determine whether an invention is a new, non-obvious invention and how it differs from existing patented concepts when attempting to obtain a patent.

In Harrity’s Women’s Workshop, you will learn how to effectively draft and prosecute patent applications in order to get the patents allowed by the USPTO, an action that will officially patent an invention.  The skills to do so will be learned through a series of presentations, discussions, and practice assignments throughout the immersive program.

Speakers for the 2020 Women’s Workshop include female partners at top patent firms, the American Intellectual Property Law  Association’s (AIPLA) President Elect, IP Counsel for leading technology companies, the President of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s (MCCA) Advisory Practice, and the former acting director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Each speaker will provide guidance on best practices in patent law and exclusive advice on how to succeed as a woman in this underrepresented industry.

For the first time, the 2020 Women’s Workshop will also include writing skills training by writing expert, Ed Good.  Ed is a globally recognized trainer in corporate writing skills with specific expertise in legal writing.  The program will also include resume and interview preparation and career mentoring for success in the patent field.

Upon completion of this workshop, participants will have a thorough understanding of what a career in patent law entails and have the tools required to pursue one.

Our Mission

At Harrity, We believe that the ‘practice of law’ is advanced by a more diverse legal team – with diversity of background, upbringing, education, and perspective comes quality legal innovation.  Our mission is to promote and nurture a respectful, highly engaged, family friendly, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of our talented team with diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, skills/talents, and capabilities.

The Annual Women’s Workshop is part of our ongoing diversity initiative aimed to increase the number of women practicing in the IP legal field and climbing the ladder to success.  Harrity’s previous workshops are highly rated and recommended by past participants.

The virtual workshop will take place from May 18-21st and is completely free. Whether you are a science or engineering major, current student at a law school, or practicing attorney interested in intellectual property, the Harrity Women’s Workshop is a can’t-miss opportunity.  The application deadline to participate is April 30th, so don’t delay- Apply Now!

Sara Stesney Offers Management Advice in “Leadership Freak” Blog

DEAR DAN: I HAVE AN EMPLOYEE WHO MAKES REPEATED MISTAKES

As published in the “Leadership Freak” blog by Dan Rockwell (April 16, 2020)

Dear Dan,

I have an employee who rushes through her work. I’ve tried to get her to slow down, but she is always worried about getting in trouble for not getting work done. She has never gotten into trouble for not getting work done while working for me.

When she rushes, she makes mistakes on things that she has done correctly, in the past, for years. How do you help this sort of employee? I know she has anxiety and in reading this I am now wondering if there is a correlation. Any advice?

Seeking Advice

Dear Seeking,

Sometimes we cause our own frustrations.

Self-inflicted frustration:

Don’t blame your employee for a situation you’ve been tolerating. We cause our own frustration when we:

  1. Respond the same way to repeated mistakes.
  2. Hope patience will resolve issues without intervention.
  3. Delegate tasks to people who consistently drop the ball.

An employee’s repeated mistakes reflect on the person who manages them.

Boredom:

What if it’s boredom? If she’s done things correctly for years, maybe she needs new responsibilities.

  1. How might you redesign her job?
  2. Who might be able to assume some of her current responsibilities so she can focus on something new?
  3. How satisfied is she with her current job on a scale of 1:10? If she is dissatisfied, but is reluctant to speak up, how might you begin crafting a new future for/with her?

Suggestions from Sara:

I reached out to Sara Stesney for her suggestions. I’ve worked with Sara and know that she manages in an area that requires precision.

Sara shared an illustration that might help your employee grasp the importance of quality.

Sara said, “If you went to McDonalds and ordered food, would you rather have the food come out REALLY FAST and be completely wrong or would you rather the food come out in a reasonable amount of time and be perfect?”

Sara added two more suggestions.

  1. Ask your employee to compete her work, set it aside, and review it for mistakes later.
  2. Help your employee learn by finding and correcting her own mistakes. Don’t point out mistakes. Say, “This work has mistakes. I need to know you can find your own mistakes. Please find and correct them.”

You have my best,

Dan

Read more advice from Dan Rockwell on his blog, Leadership Freak.

 

Your Licensees’ Patent Marking Program is Also Your Concern

By McCord Rayburn, Associate

As an in-house IP attorney, you may take comfort in knowing that your patent marking program is thorough, well-established, and properly executed. You have standardized procedures to determine which patents cover which products. You monitor product release dates to ensure appropriate marking. You have set up a “virtual marking” website to take advantage of this form of marking established by the America Invents Act (AIA). You regularly update the virtual marking website to remove expired patents and add newly granted patents. Your patent marking program is a well-oiled machine. But what about your licensees’ programs? Do you know anything about your licensees’ programs? Do you even care about your licensees’ programs? Well, you should, and the Federal Circuit recently provided another opinion to remind patent licensors that a licensee’s failure to mark can be costly.

Continue Reading on IPWatchdog.com.

Counsel Who Care: How Attys Are Helping During Virus Crisis

Law360 (April 7, 2020) — As coronavirus cases have spiked, law firms across the nation have been stepping up to help, from providing pro bono legal assistance to fundraisers and donations. Here, Law360 rounds up some of the latest charity efforts from the legal community in response to the pandemic.

 

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Donations, Funds Established By Firms

Virginia-based patent boutique Harrity & Harrity LLP has redirected its charity initiative, Harrity 4 Charity, to help those affected by the pandemic.

While the firm has not yet announced the recipients of the fund, it said in an announcement last week that the initiative will focus on helping families and individuals who have been laid off or lost their jobs and single parents or families struggling to provide for their children as a result of COVID-19.

“As a result of the current pandemic, we have decided to pause our contributions to our partner charities and instead get our Harrity 4 Charity dollars out into the communities to help people who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus,” managing partner John Harrity said in a statement.

The firm had been donating 5% of its profits to four charitable organizations: American Heart Association, Inova Children’s Hospital, ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer, and No More Stolen Childhoods, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the public perception of childhood sexual abuse.

The law firm also plans to establish restaurant-run food banks to help businesses who are suffering from a lack of customers, while providing free meals to people who cannot afford them.

 

Read the full article on Law360 here.

 

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Concerns as Non-coronavirus Emergency Room Visits Fall Across DC Region

As the number of Coronavirus cases climb, there are new concerns that non-COVID19 medical emergencies are being ignored, not by doctors but by patients themselves.

 

 

“There is a large number of patients who have health emergencies and we’re concerned that those individuals may be avoiding medical care and trying to manage their symptoms at home when they’d be best served getting help at a hospital, and these conditions could worsen and be very harmful in the long term,” said Dr. Deborah Vinton, Emergency Medicine Director at the University of Virginia health system.

ER doctors across the DC region are seeing a drastic decrease in their non-coronavirus ER cases in the past month. At the University of Virginia health system, health officials have seen more than a 50% drop, and they believe it’s directly tied to the fact that people are so afraid they’ll get coronavirus that they’re ignoring their symptoms and not going into the ER, which could have dire consequences

“I’ve been in the house. My kids are in the house. My wife is in the house yes there’s a fear of going out, I just don’t want based on my underlying condition of heart disease to develop this….the front line is at those hospitals, and that’s the last place you want to go,” said John Harrity of Virginia.

Harrity is one of thousands of people across the DMV with underlying conditions who are doing everything they can to stay at home and not expose themselves to coronavirus.

But Harrity said he’s fearful. Four years ago in 2016 when he was 49 years old, Harrity was playing basketball when he had a major heart attack that almost took his life. And while he’s scared of stepping foot into a hospital right now in this world of Covid19, he says if he didn’t get the medical care he needed, and as quickly as he did, his outcome could have been a lot different.

“I had the worst heart attack you could have, it’s called the widow-maker. My friends acted very quickly, they called 9-1-1 and that’s the reason I’m here today,” said Harrity.

“If patients are experiencing symptoms that could be early appendicitis or chest pains related to heart problems we absolutely want them to come in and be assessed early, waiting on those type of symptoms can lead to catastrophic outcomes and be life threatening,” said Dr. Vinton.

“It is not a time for them to stay at home because what we fear is that people will stay at home have a stroke or a heart attack and then they become more disabled,” said Pat Lane, VP of Neuroscience with INOVA health system.

Doctors and health experts are urging everyone to look out for some key symptoms including:

  • Loss of Balance
  • Eye sight issues
  • Facial drooping
  • Tingling down your arm
  • Having trouble with your speech
  • Chest pain
  • Severe Abdominal pain/ inability to eat

Dr. Vinton and Pat Lane are reassuring patients that coming into the hospital is safe and that their hospitals are prepared to keep patients protected from Covid19.

“We can reassure them that we use a lot of protective equipment excellent, cleaning measures and we actually separate our population of patients based on the symptoms that they have so they don’t have to intermingle with those who’ve contracted coronavirus,” said Dr. Vinton.

Even though healthcare systems are stressed, you are urged to go to the ER if you have symptoms. Most hospitals are screening patients right outside the ER entrance.

 

In Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak, USPTO Extends Certain Patent Deadlines

By Ted Nissly, Associate

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it has exercised its authority under section 12004 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to make 30-day extensions available to certain patent and trademark-related deadlines.  Prior to the enactment of the CARES Act, the USPTO did not have authority to extend deadlines because most patent and trademark-related deadlines are defined by statute.

Rather than take a uniform approach to extending deadlines for all filings and payments, such as other patent offices have taken across the world, the USPTO has focused on allowing extensions to only certain filings and payments.  Patent application extensions apply to, for example, responses to office actions, issue fee payments, and certain appeal filings that are due between March 27 and April 30, 2020.  Notably, the USPTO has excluded replies to pre-examination notices and maintenance fee payments to most applicants, unless an applicant is a small entity or micro entity.  The USPTO also granted extensions for certain filings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), including requests for rehearing of a PTAB decision.  Any qualifying filing or payment due between March 27 and April 30, 2020, will be extended 30 days from the initial date that it was due.

To qualify for an extension, a delayed filing or payment must be accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to a practitioner, applicant, patent owner, petitioner, third party requester, inventor, or other person associated with the filing or payment being personally affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including through office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files or other materials, travel delays, personal or family illness, or similar circumstances.

The USPTO has clarified, in a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section of its website that the statement that the delay was due to the COVID-19 outbreak should be a separate statement (e.g., not as part of a response to an Office action) but does not need to be verified or provided in an affidavit or declaration form.  However, the COVID-19 outbreak must materially interfere with a filing or payment to qualify as a delay due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The USPTO’s extension of deadlines under the CARES act is just the latest relief that the USPTO has granted due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Last month, the USPTO waived fees for reviving applications that became abandoned because of failure to meet a deadline for responding to an Office communication due to the COVID-19 outbreak and waived requirements for an original handwritten signature for certain correspondence with the Office of Enrollment and Discipline and certain payments by credit card.

As of the date of this posting, the USPTO’s extension of deadlines under the CARES act applies to deadlines through April 30, 2020, but the USPTO may extend the time window based on the continuing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The USPTO’s Notice of Waiver of Patent-Related Timing Deadlines under the CARES ACT can be found here.

The USPTO’s FAQs concerning the Extension of Deadlines under the CARES ACT can be found here.

 

Obvious to Use Common Sense (If You Can Prove It)

By Jafar Ali, Associate

In KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex, Inc., 550 U.S. 398 (2007), the Supreme Court recalibrated the obviousness analysis to (re-)emphasize the relevance of “the background knowledge posted by a person having ordinary skill in the art” when determining whether there would have been an apparent reason to combine and/or modify prior art to arrive at the claimed invention.  Before KSR, the Federal Circuit and lower courts had regularly been applying the so-called “teaching, suggestion, motivation” (TSM) test, which generally required some “teaching, suggestion, or motivation” to combine and/or modify the prior art to support a conclusion of obviousness.  Critically, the Supreme Court held that the TSM test as-applied was a rigid and mandatory rule that improperly limited the obviousness inquiry by denying factfinders (e.g., examiners and juries) recourse to common sense.  KSR changed the obviousness landscape by rejecting the rigidity and formalism of the TSM test and setting forth “an expansive and flexible approach” in which the factual determinations underlying the obviousness analysis could consider “the inferences and creative steps that a person of ordinary skill in the art would employ.”

One question that was not fully resolved in KSR itself, however, was the extent to which a claimed invention could be rendered obvious based on general knowledge or common sense.  Instead, the Court simply stated that the fact-finding supporting an obviousness analysis “should be made explicit” to facilitate review while favorably citing earlier Federal Circuit decisions holding that “there must be some articulated reasoning with some rational underpinning to support the legal conclusion of obviousness.”  In Koninklijke Philips N.V. v. Google LLC, 2019-1177 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 30, 2020), the Federal Circuit clarified that the “general knowledge” of a person having ordinary skill in the art can indeed be relied upon to render a claimed invention obvious, even to supply an admittedly missing claim limitation, provided that the record contains a reasoned analysis and evidentiary support for such general knowledge.

In Philips, the Federal Circuit upheld an inter partes decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) finding claims 1-11 in U.S. Patent No. 7,529,806 (“the ’806 patent”) to be invalid as obvious over a single prior art reference.  The representative claim at issue generally related to a method for delivering digital content for playback on a client device.  In particular, the claimed method recited steps to retrieve a next portion of a media presentation during playback of a previous portion, thus reducing delays relative to traditional downloading approaches in which playback cannot begin until the entire media presentation has finished downloading.  Google, in challenging the validity of the ’806 patent, referred to a publication explaining a conventional pipelining scheme to divide a media presentation into multiple segments and play a current segment (Sn) while a next segment (Sn+1) is downloading.  Citing the pipelining scheme and an expert declaration, Google argued, and the Board agreed, that the claimed method was invalid as obvious because the features admitted to be missing from the prior art were within the general knowledge of a person having ordinary skill in the art.

On appeal, the Federal Circuit held that “the skilled artisan’s knowledge [can be considered] when determining whether it would have been obvious to modify the prior art” regardless of the tribunal.  Indeed, citing KSR, the court stated that the obviousness analysis requires an assessment of the “background knowledge possessed by a person having ordinary skill in the art.”  However, reliance on general knowledge or common sense would be improper if based solely upon “conclusory statements and unspecific expert testimony,” and using background knowledge to supply a missing claim limitation should be reserved to cases where the missing limitation is “unusually simple and the technology particularly straightforward.”  In this case, the background knowledge was sufficient to supply the missing claim features because the Board relied upon expert evidence that was corroborated by the literature establishing that pipelining was within the general knowledge of a skilled artisan.

This case provides important context to further refine the impact that general knowledge has on patentability.  One noteworthy aspect is that, in Philips, the party asserting obviousness presented an expert declaration and supporting documentary evidence rather than simply making conclusory statements that a person having ordinary skill in the art would have known about the missing claim features.  Accordingly, if a patent applicant is faced with an obviousness rejection relying upon general knowledge during prosecution, the applicant can challenge the Examiner to produce supporting documentary evidence.  Furthermore, this case reaffirms the importance of having robust backup positions in a patent application, including dependent claims.  Features of independent claims believed to overcome the prior art might be alleged to be within the general knowledge of a skilled artisan in adversarial proceedings when parties asserting invalidity typically devote more resources to finding evidentiary support.  Strong dependent claims provide an avenue for at least some claims surviving in that situation.

 

Harrity Gives Back with COVID-19 Relief

WASHINGTON, DC (April 2, 2020) Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a boutique IP firm specializing in patent preparation and prosecution, is taking action to help those who have been affected by the severe outbreak of COVID-19.  While the firm says it is fortunate to be in an industry that is minimally impacted by the devastation of the virus, it recognizes all of those who have lost their jobs, shuttered their businesses, and/or are struggling to make ends meet during this period of uncertainty.

“Look, we are blessed to be in an industry where many, if not most, make six or seven figures.  Most lawyers will make it through this pandemic relatively unscathed,” said John Harrity, Managing Partner. “We are in an unprecedented time, with a virus that is spreading throughout the world at an exponential rate and the global economy being devastated.  This is a great opportunity for our legal industry to act.”

The government’s stimulus package is certainly a step in the right direction to help those that have been financially impacted by the coronavirus, but it is clear that more needs to be done.  Accordingly, John said his firm has made the decision to temporarily reallocate its giving back initiative, Harrity 4 Charity, to help those suffering from the many adverse effects of COVID-19.

“As a result of the current pandemic, we have decided to pause our contributions to our partner charities and instead get our Harrity 4 Charity dollars out into the communities to help people who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus,” stated John.

Currently, the firm commits 5% of its profits to four charity organizations.  Impressively, every one of the firm’s 53 employees also donates a portion of their paychecks to the Harrity 4 Charity non-profits.  While these charities are still incredibly important to the firm, the current economic climate calls for immediate attention.  Suggestions and nominations of where to donate the Harrity 4 Charity dollars have flooded in from the firm’s employees, many with heartfelt accounts of families that they know personally who are struggling to get by.

While Harrity & Harrity has not yet announced the recipients of the COVID-19 relief fund, the initiative will focus on helping families and individuals who have been laid off or lost their jobs, single parents or families struggling to provide for their children as a result of COVID-19, and those with underlying health conditions that prevent them from obtaining household essentials on their own.

The firm additionally plans on establishing restaurant-run food banks throughout the nation with the goal of helping businesses who are suffering from a lack of customers, while providing free meals to people who cannot afford them.  Harrity 4 Charity will purchase meals from local restaurants and donate the food to those in need.

John hopes these programs will not only aid those suffering from the effects of the outbreak, but inspire others, specifically in less impacted industries like the legal field, to act.

“If you are in the position to, please also consider donating to one of the many organizations currently supporting COVID-19 relief, or offering to help someone you know in need,” John urges.

 

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

 

COVID-19 Shifts Law Firms’ Hiring, Onboarding Process Online—To a Limit

Law.com (March 31, 2020) — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more law firms are heavily relying on technology and videoconferencing to hire and onboard attorneys and staff during the COVID-19 crisis. However, many wont be able to achieve 100% remote onboarding.

Recently, law firms said they’ve shifted any in-person interviews to video and phone chats. Likewise, once a lawyer or staffer is hired, their laptops and other equipment are shipped to them, and orientation and other new hire protocols are made on the phone or through video conference platforms.

Some in-person requirements have also been relaxed. On March 20, the Department of Homeland Security gave law firms and other employers some flexibility when it eased its in-person review requirement for I-9 documentation to verify an employee’s identity and employment authorization.

But there are still some barriers to going fully remote. Take, for example, getting a new partner’s book of business.

“Typically that lateral would get releases from their client [for] both physical and electronic files to the firm they’re leaving and joining,” said Fox Rothschild chief talent officer Jean Durling.

She noted that if the lawyer’s former firm doesn’t have remote access capabilities, accessing physical files could be a challenge. “It would be out of our hands; we can’t control what goes on in another firm.”

To be sure, moving to remote onboarding isn’t a huge change for some.

Boutique patent firm Harrity & Harrity, for instance, said it will replace its in-person final meeting before making a hiring decision with a video conference, said partner Paul Harrity. Still, that exception isn’t unique to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrity noted that the firm previously onboarded a new staffer who was working remotely after the birth of a child.

Remote onboarding also doesn’t just extend to interviews and formal HR and IT communication needs. New hires need to build camaraderie with lawyers they’ve never personally met. To this end, law firms are looking to encourage more phone calls and video conferencing.

“Laterals that are in the [hiring] process with us we’ve already scheduled follow-up calls that would typically take place in an office to keep them engaged,” said Fox Rothschild’s Durling. She said the firm plans to schedule more frequent video and phone conference meetings held by department chairs for their practice members.

Eve Howard, regional managing partner of Hogan Lovells’ Washington, D.C., office, has seen a similar change. “Meeting people in person that’s always preferred, [but] now those meetings are happening through video technology. We call that internal profile raising, we are now doing that with Skype and other video conferencing.”

While fostering introductions and building networking opportunities between new lawyers must take place via phone conferences and video chats, they can be done in a “fun” way to maintain engagement, noted Crowell & Moring chief human resources officer Marguerite Eastwood.

She described a conference call two weeks ago where lawyers discussed their puppies and kids to foster lighthearted discussions and connections with colleagues who would usually work in an office together.

Written by Victoria Hudgins

 

Addressing the Lack of Diversity in the Legal Field

Promoting the culture of diversity is important for all professions, but it is especially lacking in the legal field. In fact, the legal profession is among the least diverse professions in the United States.  Diversity and inclusion in the workplace help to identify and embrace different backgrounds and contribute to the overall advancement of the business.

There are several factors that impede the prevalence of diversity in the legal field.  At Harrity, we are dedicated to overcoming these obstacles by providing opportunities for minorities and developing tools for diverse candidates to succeed.  Although the disparity of minorities practicing law, and especially minorities in equity positions, will take time to overcome, it is an obtainable goal if all firms work to address the problem.

Statistics Talk

The industry needs to recognize the importance of creating an unbiased, equal, and harmonious working environment for all legal professionals.  Unfortunately, the lack of diversity is widespread in the legal field, and the numbers show the industry is moving at a slow pace to address the issue.

In 2018, 85% of lawyers in the U.S. were Caucasian, according to the American Bar Association.  Another report on diversity in U.S. law firms found that racially diverse women are the most underrepresented group in the legal profession.  Other diverse groups underrepresented include LGBTQ2+ lawyers, lawyers with disabilities, and Black/African lawyers.

The Challenges in Recruiting Diverse Workforce

While corporate legal departments and law firms are working on more inclusive recruitment and hiring practices, there is still a need to address the lack of diversity.  Many barriers impede the advancement and retention of diverse lawyers in the legal profession.  Some of the factors that contribute to the lack of diversity include in-group favoritism, stereotyping, unconscious biases, and diversity fatigue.

Law firms should regularly participate in diversity training, utilize a diversity consultant, and review their own Diversity & Inclusion policies.  Firms should also consider concepts such as implicit bias, i.e., attributing certain attitudes or associating stereotypes with a person or group of people without our conscious knowledge, and self-assessment bias, in which females and minority groups tend to rate themselves lower on skill-related surveys than white males.

Other factors that contribute to the lack of diversity in the legal field are the socio-economic circumstances that often hinder minority groups, including limited access to quality education and other resources, and the high cost of pursuing a legal degree.  Outreach programs, financial aid, and internal training opportunities targeting low-income families can help legal professionals address this and ensure all demographics have the same access to a legal career path.

Importance of Diversity in the Legal Field

Law firms must welcome a diverse workforce as it promotes mutual respect, acceptance, and co-existence.  It is crucial to formulate new strategies when working in the legal world.  A diverse group of lawyers, with different backgrounds, ethnicities, and skills, can help each other in building strengths and overcoming weaknesses.

Diversity leads to innovative ideas, opinions, and strategies.  It improves the quality of service and ensures that the voice of marginalized groups is also heard.  A female lawyer or black lawyer can highlight the issues of their respective groups better than others.  Diversity helps law firms to adapt accordingly to unprecedented or less familiar situations.  It allows them to respond to diverse clients more effectively.

Above all, diversity and inclusion in the legal field prevent discrimination against skilled and qualified lawyers.  Many reports and studies show that diverse workplaces are more productive and that they have lower turnover compared to non-inclusive workplaces.

Final Word

Harrity & Harrity strongly believes that the practice of law can advance only when there is a diverse legal team.  Our Diversity Mission is to promote a respectful, family-friendly, and diverse culture that recognizes and values the diverse backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, skills, and talents of each member on our team.

In order to provide equal opportunity to all candidates, Harrity developed the Rooney Rule 2.0 with regard to hiring, which is based off of The Rooney Rule.  The Rooney Rule is a National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview one minority candidate for each head coaching and senior football operation job.  According to The Rooney Rule, only one diverse candidate needs to be interviewed, while there could be hundreds or thousands of non-diverse candidates.  The Rooney Rule 2.0 changes that rule to commit to interviewing a female or minority candidate for every male or non-minority candidate we interview for any position at our firm.

The Harrity Diversity Committee has implemented several other initiatives in order to grow and nurture diversity in the IP legal field.  The Minority Firm Incubator helps train, develop, and launch minority-owned patent law firms in an effort to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the patent field.  The annual Women’s Workshop is a free program that introduces female engineers and law students or recent graduates to the practice of patent law with guest speakers, patent skills training, career mentoring, and more.  The Harrity Academy provides minority candidates with exclusive training and practice materials for drafting high-quality patent applications.

The goal of these programs is to help increase the number of diverse candidates applying to positions within Harrity and the legal field, help improve skillsets and the likelihood that these candidates will succeed in the interview process, and encourage upward movement for minorities within their firms.

If more firms commit to implementing a comprehensive diversity plan, together, we can help bridge the gap by eliminating biases and encouraging diversity within the legal community.  It is vital that the hiring process focuses only on required skillsets and qualifications, regardless of gender, color, race, or religion, and that steps are taken to reduce discrimination and give minorities the opportunity to succeed.

If you are interested in reading the 2018/2019 Harrity Annual Diversity Report, it can be found here.  For more information regarding Harrity’s diversity initiatives, visit harrityllp.com/diversity.

 

Elaine Spector
AUTHOR

Elaine Spector

Elaine Spector is a Partner at Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a boutique firm specializing in intellectual property law. Her practice focuses primarily on the prosecution of patent applications, specifically within electromechanical technologies. Elaine is a driving force in the firm’s diversity and charity initiatives and serves on several committees and boards in relation, including AIPLA’s Women in IP Law’s Global Networking Event & Outreach Subcommittee, IPO’S Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and the non-profit No More Stolen Childhoods.

Agile But Vulnerable, Smaller Firms Fight To Weather Virus

Law360 (March 27, 2020) — This summer, John Harrity, a name partner of patent boutique Harrity & Harrity LLP, planned to send an emergency drill text message to all his staffers requesting that they work remotely. It was supposed to be a simulation for what to do if a disaster struck. He planned not to give partners a heads-up that the text message was coming.

With many attorneys forced to work remotely because of the coronavirus outbreak, experts say small and midsize firms may be able to adapt to changes more readily than BigLaw. Above, a lone commuter crosses the street outside New York City’s Grand Central Terminal during the normally busy morning rush hour. (AP)

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, forcing him to recommend that most of his attorneys and staff start working remotely in mid-March.

When Harrity first spoke with Law360 on March 10, he felt the Virginia-based firm, which had already been liberally using video conferencing for internal communication, was relatively well prepared for the potential scenario of going fully remote. Five years ago, the firm had started offering more flexibility to attorneys, largely to appeal to potential recruits. The firm went cloud-based and paperless.

“The bigger firms are going to struggle during this time period way more because we’re already ready for this,” Harrity said.

Many midsize and smaller firms like Harrity & Harrity have had an edge over BigLaw when it comes to transitioning to remote work, whether because they had already started doing it or because their smaller size allowed them to be more nimble in putting together new response plans, according to experts. For many, however, the longer-term potential impact on business development is weighing heavily on smaller firms.

Harrity is steeling for the hit to the firm’s work if the larger economic dip results in fewer patent applications. Other firms focused on such hard-hit practice areas, including litigation and deals, are already feeling significant pressures, and some small firms have begun to slash staff in response, according to John Remsen of The Remsen Group, a law firm management consultancy that often works with smaller and midsize firms.

“It’s a very uncertain period,” said Remsen, who has been holding regular calls with midsize and small firm managing partners.

In these early stages of the pandemic, the focus for many midsize and small law firm leaders has been simply working to stay connected to clients and either testing or adding technology to prepare for their offices to go remote.

“From a business continuity standpoint, you can never take a wait-and-see approach,” Alan Tarter of midsize New York firm Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP said in early March.

Before New York City’s lockdown measures went into effect, Tarter’s firm had done a “full business continuity program” that included testing how phones, operations and administrative processes might work in the event the entire office had to work remotely.

“This way, if there are any gaps in our business continuity program, we can seal them now before we find ourselves in a crisis,”  Tarter said. “As a midsized firm, our clients rely on us to be their solution, not add to their problems. Likewise, our employees look to us to provide reassurances and support.”

Mike Arias of California litigation boutique Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos LLP, which also has offices in Las Vegas and Montreal, started limiting client face-to-face meetings several weeks ago and moving toward more virtual or phone connections to protect attorneys and staff from the coronavirus.

“There is an understanding that you’re dealing with a finite group of people, but not just the people in your office. You’re dealing with them and their families,” Arias said.

For many midsize and smaller firms, their size has meant fewer decision-makers in the mix and the ability to make policy changes and decisions quickly, according to Remsen. Smaller firms have often had the advantage of not needing to keep track of a patchwork of lockdown measures for offices across the country.

“If you’re a large firm with offices scattered in different cities, states, you have different scenarios in each one of those offices,” said James Cotterman, a principal at professional services consulting firm Altman Weil Inc.

A number of midsize and smaller firms — especially those that had already invested in connecting their workforce through technology — have been able to communicate well with lawyers and staff in these uncertain times. At many firms, managing partners and executive committee members are dividing up staff lists to check in one-on-one with people who are working remotely, according to Remsen.

The economic pressures and uncertainty that have come with the COVID-19 outbreak, however, are also putting many midsize and small-law leaders in a tough spot when it comes to staffing and financial decisions.

Many law firm leaders expect the pandemic to have a four-to-six-month immediate effect on their operations, which edges to where many could see significant bottom line issues, according to experts.

“There will be a lot of firms who don’t get through this,” Remsen said.

Part of the problem for many midsize and smaller firms is that they don’t have the cash stash that BigLaw does. Some firm partners are already passing on their draws as cash flow tightens, while others are using their credit lines to cover partner draws, Remsen said. Still others are starting to — or thinking about — making staffing cuts.

“Most firms seem to be taking a blended approach,” Remsen said.

So far, many firms are trying to hold onto staffers who have been loyal, according to Remsen. But he has also heard from one firm that cut its support staff by 75% in response to the pressures.

Remsen said he expects that more midsize and small firms will be forced to make cuts as well and that firms should use the situation as an opportunity to deal with chronic underperformers.

For many leaders of such firms, how they handle this crisis could mold their legacies, according to Remsen.

“It’s time for you as a managing partner to step up,” he said. “Your tenure will be largely dependent on how you handle this.”

Written by Natalie Rodriguez

Editing by Jill Coffey and Michael Watanabe

 

5 Tips for Attorneys Working from Home During the COVID-19 Crisis

Attorney at Law Magazine (March 18, 2020)– In a matter of days, COVID-19 has completely changed how we operate our day to day lives. For lawyers who have worked full-time in the office, the change to being fully remote may be challenging. I especially empathize with lawyers with small children, who are trying to adapt to a work from home arrangement, as well as care for their young children. I can imagine that it is not easy. I can say for the first time that I am thankful that my kids are teenagers. (Did I just say I was happy to have teenagers?!?) These are desperate times. With that being said, here are a few pointers that I hope will help you transition to a fully remote position, albeit, temporarily!

No. 1: Designate your space for working only.

Whether you have kids, are married, are single, whatever it may be, I recommend finding a place in your house/apartment/condo, if you have the space, that is designated as your office. When I first started working from home, I isolated myself in the basement. In fact, on my first day working remotely in my home, my husband saw me packing a bag of food, and he asked me incredulously “Where are you going?” “To my office, thank you.” It is important that you have a separate space as your office, so that you are not distracted by the domestic duties of the home. If a designated space is not possible, designate set work hours and stick to a schedule. If you have a family, designate a set work schedule and childcare schedule between you and your significant other. If you have kids and no significant other, you will have to be more creative. Remember, this arrangement is only temporary, and we will soon get back to normal.

No. 2: Set boundaries.

When I started working from home, my kids were 10, 12, and 14. It was in the summer, and my 12-year-old kept peeking in and wanting to tell me the latest, greatest thing. After the fifth interruption, I reminded him that I was at work and really to treat it like I was not at home when my door was shut. It was a beautiful summer day, and I had my window open for fresh air. My son went outside and dragged a chair by the window to talk to me. Failure! But a few days later, my son was used to the fact that I was home, and it was no longer novel. Eventually, with consistent reinforcement, my boundaries were respected and I was able to work uninterrupted.

No. 3: Get dressed.

By sticking to your normal morning routine, it will feel more like a regular workday. Shower, get dressed, have your coffee, and sit at a desk or table rather than the couch. This will help you maintain the mindset that you are at work, even though you are at home, and will aid your ability to focus on work-related tasks.

No. 4: Connect with your colleagues via video conference.

I can’t reiterate how important connecting with your colleagues via video is, especially during this time. At our firm, more than half of our employees work from home. When we need to speak to someone, we video call rather than calling on the phone. What a difference video makes. You will still feel connected with your colleagues despite the distance. If you are accustomed to an office setting, scheduling a daily or weekly call with your team or having a video lunch meeting will help things run smoothly, keep everyone on the same page, and make you feel less remote. I would encourage every company and law firm to have a video conferencing capability either through Teams, Zoom, Skype, whatever platform works for you.

No. 5: Read and implement “Fair Play,” by Eve Rodsky.

I can’t say enough about this book. Essentially, this book lays out some 100 household and childrearing tasks we do. The author, who is a lawyer and mediator, lays out a foundation on how to divide up tasks between partners. Typically, women will bear the brunt of the domestic tasks, and often, will ask their partners to execute a task without proper context.

Rodsky lays out a simple strategy. First, eliminate the tasks that don’t apply to you and your family. Second, divide up tasks, so the person who is responsible for the task is in charge of conception, planning, and execution of the task, or as Rodsky coins “CPEing” a task. Every week, you and your partner can meet to redistribute the cards if one person feels overwhelmed or is not suited for that particular task. My husband and I implemented this book a few weeks ago. He is still responsible for the morning routine (including breakfast), and he also took the laundry and dishes. He is very grateful to be absolved of cooking dinner, handling the finances, and grocery shopping. Please do read the entire book. There are a few important steps that need to be considered before you divide up the tasks; once you do, balancing family and home life with working remotely will become much less daunting.

These tips have been vital in acclimating to my work from home lifestyle. I hope they help you adjust to remote work and I wish everyone the best as they set up their new offices. I pray that you and your families stay safe and healthy during this uncertain time. This too shall pass.


 

Elaine Spector
AUTHOR

Elaine Spector

Elaine Spector is a Partner at Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a boutique firm specializing in intellectual property law. Her practice focuses primarily on the prosecution of patent applications, specifically within electromechanical technologies. Elaine is a driving force in the firm’s diversity and charity initiatives and serves on several committees and boards in relation, including AIPLA’s Women in IP Law’s Global Networking Event & Outreach Subcommittee, IPO’S Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and the non-profit No More Stolen Childhoods.