Harrity & Harrity, LLP Announces Minority Firm Incubator 2.0

Harrity & Harrity, LLP Announces Minority Firm Incubator 2.0
Diversity Initiative Will Train & Launch Exceptional Minority-Owned Patent Firms 

WASHINGTON, DC (October 18, 2021) Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a leading patent preparation and prosecution law firm, is excited to announce the launch of the Minority Firm Incubator (MFI) 2.0 – a spin-off of a program developed to help women and minorities establish their own patent law firms in an effort to address the disparity of minority-owned firms in the patent field.  The MFI 2.0 is an integral part of Harrity’s ongoing diversity initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the patent field. The goal of this initiative is to improve and nurture diversity within firm ownership by helping existing minority-owned firms become remarkable in their practice.

“Our firm’s Diversity Mission is focused on fostering inclusion within the legal community and encouraging the growth and success of individuals from all backgrounds. The Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 is a service-oriented program intended to further this mission by helping underrepresented groups flourish in a field where diversity is lacking,” said John Harrity, Co-Chair of Harrity’s Diversity Committee, who is spearheading the program.

In early 2020, Harrity introduced James Bennin as the inaugural participant of the innovative Minority Firm Incubator 1.0, a four-part program consisting of patent drafting, patent prosecution, client development, and business operations training. James excelled and successfully launched his own minority-owned patent firm, Onyx IP Group, in June of 2021. He has already welcomed several new clients, including a Fortune 50 company, and continues to provide impeccable service and high-quality work using many of the skills he gained as a result of his participation in the Minority Firm Incubator 1.0.

While the Minority Firm Incubator 1.0 was successful, Harrity realized that it would be possible to have an even greater impact by working with many attorneys and firms rather than focusing on a single attorney and newly created firm. The MFI 2.0 will be a 100% virtual, 42-week program intended to help existing women and minority-owned patent law firms grow their business, increase efficiency and quality, and improve their overall operations. The expectation is that 6-8 firms will be selected to participate. One of the most exciting features of the MFI 2.0 is the opportunity for the participants to have face-to-face interactions with in-house attorneys at leading technology companies that have committed to the possibility of engaging with at least one of firms at the completion of the program.

The MFI 2.0 will provide extensive training that includes a variety of scheduled lessons, assignments, mentoring, and strategy classes, and will commence with the participants pitching their firms to a panel of in-house intellectual property counsel at leading technology companies.  MFI 2.0 program partners will have the opportunity to serve as guest speakers and mentors, providing a range of perspectives and insights to help guide the firms in their journeys.

Participants will learn how to implement processes to ensure their firm is consistently producing a high quality, uniform work product; how to provide an outstanding customer experience for clients; how to hire and train high-performing attorneys and support staff; how to maintain their diverse ownership and encourage innovation that promotes diversity; how to implement a culture of belonging and innovation; how to create a distinguished firm brand; and how to pitch prospective clients. Using feedback from an initial pitch to the panel and knowledge gained throughout the program, the participating firms will present a new, refined client pitch to the same panel at the conclusion of the program and may be selected to receive work from one or more of the companies based on the reception of their final pitches.

“We believe the immersive agenda of the MFI 2.0 will revolutionize the manner in which participating firms operate their business and showcase their brand, ultimately helping to create and nurture an exceptional business and land prominent clients, starting with our program partners,” says Harrity.

The firm is currently accepting applications from minority firms who wish to partake in the program, which is set to begin on January 11, 2022.  To learn more about the MFI 2.0, participate as a minority-owned firm, or volunteer as a partner, visit https://harrityllp.com/diversity/mfi2-0/.

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP:

Harrity & Harrity, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas. The firm has obtained more than 8,600 patents since its founding in 1999. 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 harrityllp.com.

 

Diversity is Just Good Business

(October 25, 2021) James Bennin, the inaugural participant of Harrity’s Minority Firm Incubator Program and Managing Partner of the Black-owned Onyx IP Group, explains why diversity is good business in a recent opinion piece for IPWatchdog.com.

“When you exclude alternative points of view, you are not getting the full picture of all the available options and the best possible solution to resolve an issue or matter. Additionally, clients and leadership do not just come from one particular group, they come from diverse groups and circumstances. By having legal counsel that is also diverse, you are better able to relate to a client. Diversity makes the firm and the general practice of law that much more resilient, relatable, and successful.

The article can be read in full on IPWatchdog.com

About Onyx IP Group

With combined experience (private practice and in-house) in the electrical, software and mechanical technology areas, the Onyx IP Group provides legal counseling for patent drafting, patent prosecution, trademark, and transactional matters. Visit us online at https://onyxipgroup.com

See more on Harrity’s diversity initiatives: https://harrityllp.com/diversity

Check out our Driving Diversity vlog:  https://harrityllp.com/thediversitychannel

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP:

Harrity & Harrity, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas. The firm has obtained more than 8,000 patents since its founding in 1999. 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 https://harrityllp.com

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Harrity Welcomes Four Outstanding Patent Professionals

Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm in the electrical and mechanical space, is excited to announce the addition of four experienced patent professionals. Over the last six months, Harrity has welcomed Jim Nuxoll, Thomas Hartin, Christopher Wen, and Christopher Dawson to the firm. With over five decades of combined experience across a variety of complex technologies, including semiconductors and 5G networks, each hire is a valuable addition to the team. “At Harrity, we handpick every single individual to join our firm. To say that we are excited to have these four superstars on our team is an understatement,” Managing Partner Paul Harrity says of the firm’s recent growth. 

Learn more about the new Harrity team members below.  

 

Jim Nuxoll | Working remotely from Idaho (Joined June 7, 2021) 

Jim Nuxoll is a registered patent agent has over twenty-five years of experience in the semiconductor industry, including having served on Micron Technology’s patent committee. He is a listed inventor on nine U.S. patents and has extensive experience in drafting and preparing patent applications covering various aspects in the field of semiconductors, as well as prosecuting patent applications in the U.S. as well as non-U.S. jurisdictions.   

Learn more about Jim Nuxoll here. 

 

Thomas Hartin | Working remotely from New York (Joined August 9, 2021) 

Thomas Hartin is a registered patent attorney and a member of the firm’s patent prosecution team with a focus on helping large technology companies build valuable, high-quality patent portfolios in an efficient manner. In this role, he develops and implements best practices for managing workflow and innovative, data-driven patent prosecution strategies for reaching favorable results at the USPTO. Thomas has 7 years of experience in the patent field, with experience in patent litigation, as well as preparing and prosecuting hundreds of patent applications related to telecommunications, computer software, consumer cable products and technologies, networking devices, data privacy, and the Internet of Things. 

Learn more about Thomas Hartin here. 

 

Christopher Wen | Working remotely from Michigan (Joined September 27, 2021) 

Chris Wen is a registered patent attorney with nearly a decade of experience whose practice includes assisting clients obtain patent rights in the U.S. and abroad.  His experience covers a variety of technologies, including various types of mechanical and electro-mechanical devices, among others. Prior to joining Harrity & Harrity, Chris was a partner at an intellectual property boutique firm in the metro-Detroit area where he worked on a wide array of patent and other intellectual property matters. 

Learn more about Chris Wen here. 

 

Christopher Dawson | Working remotely from Kansas (Joined October 11, 2021) 

Chris Dawson is a registered patent attorney with over a decade of experience in patent preparation and prosecution, intellectual property litigation, and technology transactions. He has extensive experience drafting patent applications directed to computer software, telecommunications, power generation and alternative energy, aerospace, LED and lighting, consumer electronics, and many other technologies. 

Prior to joining Harrity & Harrity, Chris was a partner in a Midwest-based intellectual property boutique firm, where he represented clients through all phases of intellectual property procurement and enforcement. 

Learn more about Chris Dawson here. 

 

Ask A Mentor: How Do I Negotiate Long-Term Flex Work?

 Ask A Mentor: How Do I Negotiate Long-Term Flex Work? 

By Elaine Spector (September 16, 2021) 

Experts answer questions on career and workplace conundrums in this Law360 Pulse guest column series. Have a question you’re afraid to ask your law firm chair, practice area leader or mentor? Submit it anonymously here. 

In this installment, Harrity & Harrity LLP’s Elaine Spector offers advice on how attorneys can negotiate a flexible work arrangement that preserves their opportunity to advance professionally at a firm and safeguards their partnership prospects.

Q: As a parent who has enjoyed better work-life balance when working from home, how can I negotiate a flexible work arrangement with my law firm, and ensure the arrangement doesn’t hinder my career advancement, as we plan returning to the office? —Associate at midsize firm 

Women have been advocating for change with regard to work-life flexibility for years. Prior to the pandemic, many law firms were reluctant to allow remote work. Often, law firms equate lawyers who want to work remotely with a lack of commitment. As such, if a law firm actually agreed to a remote work arrangement, the lawyer working remotely would often be taken off the partnership track. And then the pandemic hit. Employers, including law firms, were forced to allow their lawyers to work from home. And what did they discover? That lawyers, as professionals, were able to be just as efficient and effective at home. In fact, many firms discovered that billable hours actually increased, as the pandemic eliminated commuting time and other commitments. However, many law firms are still reluctant to embrace the flexibility that would allow working parents, especially women, to thrive both at home and in the office. As offices begin opening back up, here are five tips for negotiating a flexible work arrangement that does not hinder your career advancement.

1. Determine your firm’s revised COVID-19 remote work policy. Before you begin your negotiations, determine your firm’s current remote work policy. Some law firms have taken the initiative to revise these policies prior to opening offices back up. It could be that your law firm has a modified policy that allows for remote work due to health and safety reasons born out of the pandemic, particularly one that does not take you off the partnership track, that you are unaware of. If your firm has not revised its policy or does not formally allow a remote work option, that fact alone doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate one. I was able to negotiate a remote work schedule when my children were very young. It happened during a job transition. A partner that I worked for in the past wanted me to join his new firm. At our first discussion, I asked him if they allowed for a remote work schedule. I was living in Baltimore, and knew that commuting to the District of Columbia five days a week was a deal breaker for me. He said he didn’t know, but that he would find out. The next day he got back to me and indicated that they could accommodate a remote work schedule for my situation. However, if I had not asked, I would not have been offered the option to work from home. So, don’t be afraid to ask about a remote work schedule when it is not clearly offered. You won’t know what options you can negotiate if you do not try.

2. Do exceptional work — become indispensable. It might go without saying that doing exceptional work provides you with a negotiation advantage. Your negotiating power increases dramatically when you do exceptional work and become indispensable to your firm. Not only should your legal work be exceptional, but it is also important to spend time thinking about how you can be a contributor at your firm. Look for high-value, low-commitment opportunities to get involved. This might mean taking on a mentoring role, joining firm committees, planning firm activities, representing your firm in the legal community, participating in external events and more. Designating just 30 minutes per week, whenever possible, to contribute to your firm’s initiatives allows you to maintain work-life balance while making yourself more valuable. Firms are more willing to negotiate with lawyers that they want to keep.

3. Be clear with your intentions. It is imperative to make clear your intentions to stay on the partnership track despite wanting flexibility to work from home after offices reopen. Although I was able to negotiate a remote work schedule, I was not clear with my intention to stay on the partnership track at my previous firm. This led to challenges in my ability to climb the ladder, like many women on flexible schedules face. When I interviewed for my current firm, I explicitly asked how working a remote and reduced-hour schedule would affect my ability to become partner. This outlined my intentions for the interviewer and compelled them to provide a clear answer about whether I would be treated differently based on my flexible status, rather than on my skills. Fortunately, I was told that it would not affect my partnership track whatsoever — a response that held up when I made partner just two years later. Do make it clear in your negotiation that working remotely does not equal a lack of commitment or a desire to abandon the partnership track, or whichever other career goals you are working toward.

4. Stay connected virtually. Relationship-building is the core of culture, inclusion and, ultimately, success at your firm. It is critical to continue to build relationships in the remote work environment. If you plan to work remotely either a few days a week or full time, I recommend having weekly virtual video meetings with the members at your firm you would typically interact with in an office setting. This type of face-to-face interaction is so much more engaging than a telephone call, as we have all experienced during the pandemic, and can allow for better communication through gesture and expression. When holding the video call, put an emphasis on personal connection. You can talk about your life to whatever extent you feel comfortable sharing, whether it be your weekend, your family or a new TV show, just as you would in the office. This watercooler talk, untied to any pressing work matters, will transform your internal relationships.

5. Find a firm that supports your family values and career goals. I began working remotely a few years before the pandemic hit. My firm allows for any lawyer at the firm, regardless of the numbers of hours they work or whether they show the requisite face time in the office, to make partner. And I did — remotely. Many of my female colleagues at other firms have reached out to me to ask: How can we keep the remote work going? How do we continue to develop relationships and culture within our firm? And how can someone make partner while working remotely? It is wonderful to be at a firm that unequivocally supports remote, flexible work. If your firm does not support a remote work schedule and is unwilling to compromise after you have a candid conversation, it may be time to consider switching employers. Regardless of your stature at your current firm, if they do not respect your need for flexibility, it will be hard to be fulfilled. 

Be open about finding a law firm that supports you where you are and what you need to be happy. After all, happy workers are more productive workers. As a mom who just dropped off her first child at college, I know that the time you have with your children is limited. Don’t ever sacrifice that time for a rigid policy of your employer. So many law firms are embracing this new way of working. Why be stuck at firm that is living in the dark ages?

Conclusion It is far past time to shift perspectives from the old, rigid mindset of the traditional firm, to one that embraces a more diverse and flexible workforce — one where we, as parents, don’t have to give up the important job of raising our children, while also providing top-quality service to our clients. Lawyers should not be excluded from partnership because they work remotely or are on flexible schedules. An attorney can contribute just as much to the success and advancement of the firm, its culture and its future without physically being in the office. In fact, the benefits of working a flexible schedule may contribute to more growth and innovation in the firm. Flexibility is essential for advancing talented women and other lawyers seeking balance in their life and careers. Good luck with your negotiations! 

Read more at Law360.com.

 

 

Law360 Analysis: Retiring Federal Circuit Judge Kathleen O’Malley ft. Eli Mazour

In Praising O’Malley, Attys Call For District Judge To Fill Seat

By Ryan Davis

Harrity Partner Eli Mazour is featured in Law360’s recent analysis regarding retiring Federal Circuit Judge Kathleen O’Malley as an IP expert..

Law360 (July 28, 2021, 9:43 PM EDT) — Retiring Federal Circuit Judge Kathleen O’Malley is the only member of the court who has served as a district judge, a background that attorneys say provided a necessary perspective that informed her incisive decisions and that they hope to see in her eventual replacement…

“Judge O’Malley’s departure will likely be cause for concern among patent owners, said Eli Mazour of Harrity & Harrity LLP, because she was viewed as more pro-patent than other Federal Circuit judges, particularly on the issue of patent eligibility.”

Read more on what Eli and the other experts have to say at Law360.com.

 

 

Black-Owned IP Law Firm Emerges in Orlando via Minority Firm Incubator

(July 27, 2021) Dan Roe interviews James Bennin on the launch of the Onyx IP Group for Law.com.

James Bennin’s Onyx IP Group is the first minority-owned firm produced by the Minority Firm Incubator, which Harrity & Harrity launched in 2019 with the aim of increasing diversity in the legal profession.

“There’s a need to increase the amount of diversity in the legal field, especially in the patent field,” said Bennin, who is the first college graduate in his immediate family. “Looking at my career, I guess I’ve been fortunate to have the career I’ve had. I felt it was incumbent on me to give back.”

The article, by Dan Roe, can be read in full on Law.com.

About Onyx IP Group

With combined experience (private practice and in-house) in the electrical, software and mechanical technology areas, the Onyx IP Group provides legal counseling for patent drafting, patent prosecution, trademark, and transactional matters. Visit us online at https://onyxipgroup.com

See more on Harrity’s diversity initiatives: https://harrityllp.com/diversity

Check out our Driving Diversity vlog:  https://harrityllp.com/thediversitychannel

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP:

Harrity & Harrity, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas. The firm has obtained more than 8,000 patents since its founding in 1999. 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 https://harrityllp.com

Join the Conversation …

Like Us:  https://www.facebook.com/harrityllp

Follow Us:  https://twitter.com/harrityllp

Linked In:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/harrityllp

Harrity & Harrity Launches Black-Owned Firm Through Minority Incubator Program

Harrity & Harrity Launches Black-Owned Firm Through Minority Incubator Program

Florida-Based Onyx IP Group is the first Minority Owned Firm Specializing in IP Law to Come Out of Diversity-Focused Program

Fairfax, Va. — June 21, 2021 For Immediate Release:  Harrity 4 Charity (H4C), the giving-back initiative of Harrity & Harrity, LLP, one of the country’s preeminent patent law firms, is thrilled to announce the launch of the Onyx IP Group (OIPG), the first minority-owned firm to come out of the Harrity Minority Firm Incubator (MFI), a program initiated in 2019 to address the fact that the practice of law remains one of the least diverse professions in the U.S.

Based in Orlando, Florida, OIPG is a 100% Black-owned, Intellectual Property (IP) law firm launched by the MFI’s first graduate, James Bennin. Bennin has approximately 15 years of experience in the IP field, with an extensive background in counseling clients on various IP matters in the U.S. and other jurisdictions. Prior to joining Harrity’s MFI program, Bennin was an associate general counsel handling transactional matters (including IP matters) for the University of Central Florida, one of the largest universities in the country and formerly served as IP counsel at Caterpillar, a large multi-national company, where he counseled multiple business units on matters related to IP.

Raised by a single mother in a low-income household, Bennin was the first college graduate in his immediate family. With African-Americans making up just 1.94% of all equity partners in the U.S., Bennin’s launch of OIPG is making strides for a severely underrepresented group in the field of law.

“I understand the obstacles someone with my background needs to overcome to be successful in this profession and the importance of improving diversity in the legal field,” Bennin said.  “I want to use this program/platform as a means to give back and to help provide a blueprint or guide to success for members of underrepresented groups, so they can see that success in any professional field, more particularly in the legal field, is a realistic possibility in their future.“

Serving as Of Counsel for OIPG are Keri Sicard, who has more than 20 years of experience in the field of IP law and is experienced in a wide variety of technologies from the simple to the highly complex; and Michael Antone, who has over 20 years of experience in large law firm, corporate, and venture capital environments in the area of IP and business operations counseling.

Added Bennin, “I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to launch the Onyx IP Group and am well prepared to provide exceptional work to clients while also furthering my goal of making a positive impact – particularly for those, like myself, in minority groups.”

 

The Stats …  According to the 2019 Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey on overall law firm demographics, 82% of all lawyers and 89% of all partners are Caucasian. Just 2% of all partners are African-American, under 3% are Hispanic and under 4% are Asian. None of the statistics regarding specific minority percentages have changed over the past decade, despite the fact that those populations in the U.S. have increased during the same timeframe.

About the Minority Firm Incubator … Harrity—which has launched a variety of service-driven initiatives under its H4C philanthropic arm—is hoping to help be the change for diversity in the legal field with the MFI program, which supports the recruitment, retention and advancement of attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the legal field by launching minority-owned patent firms. A year-long, multi-phase program, Harrity’s MFI program works to train minority attorneys in patent law and help them overcome the barriers to launching their own patent law firms. The program encourages minorities to become leaders in the field for both quality and diversity and sets them up for success.

Commented Elaine Spector, a partner at Harrity, who co-chairs the firm’s diversity committee. “Having a diverse workforce leads to a more integrated practice. Women and diverse inventors want to consult capable attorneys who look like them and who understand them and the context of the goals they are working to achieve.”

Adds partner John Harrity, who co-chairs the diversity committee with Spector, “Diversity generates quality legal innovation. The benefits of differential skillsets, outlooks, approaches and ways of processing make a team stronger, bringing varied and valuable insights to cultures, systems and policies, which is what is required to be change leaders.”

More H4C News on ‘Driving Diversty’ … Visit us online to learn more about Harrity’s multi-faceted diversity initiatives, which, in addition to MFI, also include The Diversity Channel, The Harrity Academy and Harrity for Parity: A Women’s Patent Workshop. Visit the firm’s weekly vlog, Driving Diversity, which addresses such issues as hiring practices; how intersectionality relates to underrepresented groups falling into more than one community; implementing the Rooney Rule 2.0; how a firm’s culture affects diversity; flexibility; patents pathways for women of color; mentoring/tutoring programs; and more.

Harrity’s diversity initiatives: https://harrityllp.com/diversity

Driving Diversity vlog:  https://harrityllp.com/thediversitychannel

 

About Onyx IP Group:  

With combined experience (private practice and in-house) in the electrical, software and mechanical technology areas, the Onyx IP Group provides legal counseling for patent drafting, patent prosecution, trademark, and transactional matters. Visit us online at https://onyxipgroup.com

 

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP:

Harrity & Harrity, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., is a leading patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas. The firm has obtained more than 8,000 patents since its founding in 1999. 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 https://harrityllp.com

 

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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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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!

 

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.”

 

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!

 

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!