Confronting AI Bias and Enhancing Diversity

In the dynamic landscape of technology, diversity and inclusion have never been more essential. As the Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Annual Meeting in Chicago approaches this September, these themes will be a central focus. Harrity & Harrity is proud to present a special program titled “Making Room for Diversity,” which will explore pressing issues in artificial intelligence (AI), including the significant impact of biased training data on AI models.

Elaine Spector recently shared a personal experience that highlights the importance of this issue. Her daughter, inspired by Elaine, is pursuing a career in engineering and took an online AI class over the summer. The course concluded with group presentations, which Elaine and other parents were invited to attend. Elaine was particularly impressed by her daughter’s presentation, which, unsurprisingly, was outstanding.

One presentation that caught Elaine’s attention focused on the analysis of how biased training data can affect AI models. The students emphasized a crucial point: biased data leads to biased outcomes. This problem is especially concerning in the context of face recognition software, where such biases can result in significant inaccuracies and unfair treatment of specific groups.

Addressing AI bias is not merely an academic challenge but a real-world issue with far-reaching implications. Ensuring fairness and equity in AI systems is vital. This is why Harrity & Harrity is bringing this critical discussion to the IPO Annual Meeting. The “Making Room for Diversity” program will feature a networking lunch and workshop dedicated to addressing these challenging issues within our profession.

Scheduled for Sunday, just before the afternoon committee meetings, this event is designed to be both informative and engaging. It will provide a unique opportunity for attendees to connect with peers and discuss strategies for enhancing diversity and inclusion in the field of technology and intellectual property.

We encourage all attendees of the IPO Annual Meeting to participate in this important event. By coming together, we can drive meaningful change and foster a more inclusive technological future.

Link to registration for the IPO Annual Meeting can be found here: IPO Annual Meeting Registration.

We look forward to seeing you in September!

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Rediscovering Your Work Passion: Overcoming the Mid-Career Slump

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

Starting a new job often comes with a burst of excitement and ambition. However, as time passes, it’s not uncommon to find yourself feeling unmotivated and stuck in a routine. If this sounds familiar, you’re certainly not alone. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to reignite that initial passion and make your work life feel fulfilling once again. Let’s dive into a recent reader’s question about feeling stuck in their job and explore some actionable advice on how to get back on track.

Dear Sandy,

I’ve been with the firm for a couple of years now, and initially, I was very excited about my role and the impact I could have. Lately, however, I’ve been feeling increasingly unmotivated. Every day feels the same, and I’m struggling to find the passion I once had for my work. I still want to contribute meaningfully, but I’m not sure how to shake this slump. What advice can you give to someone feeling stuck in their job?

Dear Stuck in a Slump,

Firstly, it’s important to recognize that what you’re experiencing is quite common, and it’s okay to feel this way. Motivation can ebb and flow, and it’s natural for enthusiasm to wane after the initial excitement wears off. Here are a few steps you can take to reignite your passion:

Seek New Challenges
Sometimes, a lack of motivation stems from feeling unchallenged or routine-bound. Talk to your supervisor about taking on a new project or learning a new skill that aligns with your interests. This can bring a fresh sense of purpose to your role.

Set Personal Goals
Personal development goals can significantly enhance your professional life. Whether it’s improving a skill, learning a new area in your field, or aiming for a promotion, having clear objectives can give you something to strive towards.

Connect with Your Colleagues
Often, a sense of community at work can enhance your job satisfaction. Participate in firm activities, or simply spend more time connecting with colleagues. Sharing ideas and challenges can provide new perspectives and rekindle your enthusiasm.

Reflect on Your Impact
Remind yourself of the reasons you chose this career path. Consider the impact your work has on others, including how it supports the broader goals of your organization. Recognizing the value of your work can renew your sense of purpose.

Consider Professional Help
If your lack of motivation is deep and persistent, it might help to talk to a professional counselor. They can provide strategies to manage your feelings more effectively.

Remember, it’s perfectly normal to seek change and growth. Use this time to explore what truly motivates you and how you can align those drivers with your career at the firm. You’re not alone in this journey, and there are many resources within our firm to support you.

Wishing you the best,

Sandy

Rainmaking for Introverted Lawyers: Harnessing Your Strengths for Success

Rainmaking, or the art of generating business, is essential for career progression in law firms. However, for many introverted lawyers, traditional networking can be daunting. In the latest ‘Driving Diversity’ episode, Elaine Spector shares her personal strategies on how introverts can successfully navigate rainmaking by leveraging their strengths and building trust through meaningful engagement in professional organizations.

Rethinking Traditional Networking

Elaine opens by acknowledging the vital role rainmaking plays in career advancement within law firms. She empathizes with introverts who find traditional networking challenging but reassures that there are subtler and equally effective methods to achieve success. The focus is on finding approaches that align with an introvert’s natural tendencies, making the process more comfortable and effective.

Effective Strategies for Introverts

A powerful strategy Elaine recommends is joining and actively participating in professional organizations. This involvement allows introverted lawyers to contribute without the pressure of traditional networking settings. Volunteering for committees, collaborating on projects, or helping organize events are excellent ways to build connections.

Although these activities require time and effort, they are immensely beneficial. They provide a platform to showcase dedication and expertise, gradually building trust and forming strong professional relationships. Over time, these connections often lead to business opportunities as colleagues and peers recognize the individual’s reliability and commitment.

Building Trust Through Consistency

Elaine shares personal anecdotes to highlight how her volunteer work within organizations has led to significant business opportunities. The relationships she formed were rooted in trust and mutual respect, essential components for successful rainmaking. This trust is built over time through consistent and reliable performance.

By consistently delivering results and maintaining a high level of professionalism, introverted lawyers can demonstrate their value to potential clients and colleagues. This approach not only aids in business development but also fosters a supportive professional network for ongoing career growth.

Rainmaking doesn’t have to be synonymous with extroversion. For introverted lawyers, finding alternative methods to build relationships and generate business is crucial. By engaging in organizational activities and consistently proving their capabilities, introverts can successfully navigate the rainmaking process without stepping too far out of their comfort zone. The key lies in dedication, trust-building, and leveraging one’s strengths. Do you have any rainmaking tips for introverts? Share your thoughts and continue the conversation on making rain in the legal profession.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Mastering the Art of Deep Work: Essential Reads to Elevate Your Focus

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

In our fast-paced, distraction-laden world, the ability to concentrate deeply and produce high-quality work is becoming a rare and valuable skill. Whether you’re looking to enhance your productivity, achieve your goals, or simply make the most out of every day, embracing the concept of “deep work” can be transformative. Today, we explore some essential reads that can guide you on your journey to mastering this powerful skill.


Dear Sandy,

I’ve been trying to improve my focus and depth, aiming to make the most out of every day. I’ve heard a lot about “deep work” and its benefits, and I’d like to dive deeper into this concept. Could you recommend some books that would help me become more proficient in deep work?

Eager to Focus


Dear Eager to Focus,

It’s wonderful to hear that you’re keen on enhancing your ability to focus deeply! Deep work is indeed a powerful skill. Here are a few books that can guide you on your journey to mastering deep work:

  1. “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport This book is a cornerstone when it comes to understanding and implementing deep work. Newport defines deep work as the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. The book provides actionable advice on how to integrate deep work into your daily routine, making it a must-read for anyone serious about improving their focus.
  2. “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Although not exclusively about deep work, this book explores the state of ‘Flow,’ which is closely related. It describes how people can achieve great satisfaction and productivity by engaging in activities that challenge their skills and concentration. Understanding flow can help you create conditions for deep work in your life.
  3. “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield Suitable for creative professionals and anyone facing regular resistance in their tasks, this book addresses the challenges of procrastination and resistance. It’s very useful for learning to sit down and focus on deep work, offering inspiration and practical advice to overcome obstacles.
  4. “Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day” by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky This practical guide offers strategies to create a more focused environment and beat distractions. It provides insights on how to redesign your day to prioritize important tasks that require deep work. With its user-friendly approach, “Make Time” can help you make consistent progress on your most significant goals.
  5. “Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life” by Jon Kabat-Zinn While not directly related to deep work, mastering mindfulness can greatly enhance your ability to concentrate deeply. This book is a great start for anyone looking to be more present and less distracted, laying a solid foundation for deep work practices.

By delving into these books, you’ll gain insights and techniques that can not only boost your productivity but also your satisfaction with your work. Remember, the ability to do deep work is not just about managing time but also about managing your attention.

Keep focusing,

Sandy

Unleashing Potential: Harnessing AI for Personal and Professional Growth

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) stands at the forefront of technological innovation, promising to transform our professional capabilities and personal productivity. As businesses increasingly integrate AI into their operations, individuals are also exploring how this powerful tool can elevate their own skill sets and efficiency. This week, we address a compelling question from a reader eager to embark on their AI journey. Join us as we delve into practical strategies for leveraging AI to unlock your full potential.


Dear Sandy,

I’m intrigued by the potential of artificial intelligence and how it might enhance my skills and productivity. I’m eager to start using AI tools for personal development but am unsure how to begin. What’s the best way to approach this personal learning journey?

Eagerly Awaiting Advice


Dear Eagerly Awaiting Advice,

Your enthusiasm for artificial intelligence is inspiring. AI indeed offers remarkable opportunities for personal and professional enhancement. To help you embark on your AI journey, here are some structured steps to guide you:

1. Educate Yourself

Start with the Basics: Begin by building a strong foundation in AI. Focus on areas that spark your interest or hold the most relevance to your career. Online resources such as Coursera, edX, and LinkedIn Learning provide excellent introductory courses that can help you get started.

2. Define Personal Goals

Set Clear Objectives: Determine what you aim to achieve with AI. Whether it’s automating routine tasks, enhancing your analytical skills, or improving overall efficiency, having clear goals will help you stay focused and motivated on your learning path.

3. Experiment with Tools

Hands-On Experience: Experiment with various AI tools and software that align with your goals. Platforms like TensorFlow, H2O.ai, and IBM Watson offer free trials or open-source versions, enabling you to gain practical experience without financial constraints.

4. Join Communities

Engage with Enthusiasts: Participate in online communities and forums where AI professionals and enthusiasts gather. Websites like Reddit’s r/MachineLearning, Stack Overflow, and LinkedIn groups provide valuable support, answer questions, and share insights that can enhance your learning experience.

5. Apply Your Knowledge

Start Small: Apply AI solutions to specific tasks to gain hands-on experience. This practical approach will help you understand the real-world implications of AI and how it can improve your daily activities. Whether it’s using AI for data analysis, automating responses, or optimizing workflows, practical application is crucial.

6. Stay Updated

Continuous Learning: The AI field is constantly evolving. Stay informed about the latest developments by following industry leaders on social media, subscribing to newsletters like AI Weekly, and attending relevant webinars and conferences. Keeping up-to-date ensures your skills remain relevant and cutting-edge.

By following these steps, you’ll be well-equipped to integrate AI into your personal and professional toolkit, enhancing your skills and productivity. Embrace this exciting journey with curiosity and confidence, and you’ll find yourself on the path to significant growth and achievement.

Best wishes,

Sandy

Breaking IP Barriers: Law 360 Q&A With Harrity’s Elaine Spector

In a refreshing Q&A with Law360, Elaine Spector, a partner at Harrity & Harrity LLP, shares her journey in patent law, shedding light on the challenges and triumphs of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Spector, who specializes in electromechanical technologies, has been instrumental in shaping leave policies at multiple firms, including Harrity, to better support parents in the legal profession.

Spector shares that she’s just as proud to be a mother of three children as she is to be an attorney, going so far as to list “Wife and Mom” as a two-decade-long career on LinkedIn.

“She says she wants to normalize the fact that parents can speak openly about their families and the effort they take, without coming off as lacking dedication to their legal work — something that has not always been possible.”

Spector’s interest in patent law began at a family party when she expressed her dual passion for engineering and law. This led her to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland, where she was one of only a few women in her class. Despite facing gender biases, Spector excelled and passed the patent bar exam in her second year of law school at the University of Baltimore.

Spector recounts her early career experiences, including an uncomfortable lunch at an elite country club where she was the only woman. Despite such challenges, she remained determined and focused on her career. Her tenacity paid off as she moved through various prestigious firms, eventually joining Harrity & Harrity in 2017.

A significant part of Spector’s story revolves around her efforts to balance a demanding career with motherhood. She and a colleague successfully advocated for a 12-week maternity leave policy at their firm, a significant improvement over the existing two-week leave. However, Spector still faced obstacles, such as a denied request for additional unpaid leave after her second child, leading her to seek more flexible opportunities elsewhere.

At Harrity & Harrity, Spector has continued to champion for parental leave policies, ensuring that all parents, including support staff, receive the leave they need. The firm now offers 12-16 weeks of paid leave for birthing parents and four weeks of bonding leave for non-birthing parents.

Spector’s journey is a testament to the importance of inclusivity and support for parents in the legal profession. Her story highlights the need for firms to adapt and provide flexible working conditions to retain talented professionals, especially women who are often forced to choose between career and family.

Spector’s efforts have not only impacted her own career but have also paved the way for future generations of attorneys. By normalizing discussions about family and advocating for better leave policies, she has contributed significantly to making the IP law field more inclusive.

Elaine Spector’s story is part of an ongoing series by Law360, highlighting the experiences of attorneys who are breaking barriers in the IP law field. Read her full interview here.

Transforming Setbacks into Stepping Stones: Handling Workplace Mistakes with Confidence

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

In the legal profession, precision is paramount, and errors can feel like the end of the world—especially for those just starting out. This week, we’re exploring the experience of a junior attorney facing a significant mistake and how to navigate the aftermath with poise and professionalism. This isn’t just about damage control; it’s about turning a misstep into a major learning opportunity.


Dear Sandy,

I’m a junior attorney at a law firm and I’ve just realized that I made a significant error in one of my cases. I inadvertently missed a filing deadline, and this might be costly to the firm. I’m terrified of the repercussions and am unsure how to approach this with my supervisors. How should I communicate this mistake?

Worried in Washington


Dear Worried in Washington,

First and foremost, it’s important to address the issue promptly and directly. Here’s how you can handle it:

1. Get the Facts Straight

Collect all the details about the mistake: what happened, why it happened, and the potential fallout. Think about some possible solutions to minimize the impact.

2. Request a Private Meeting

Speak to your supervisor as soon as possible and ask for a private meeting. Discussing this face-to-face shows maturity and a willingness to confront the issue head-on.

3. Be Transparent

In your meeting, be completely honest about the mistake. Explain clearly what went wrong and the implications. Taking ownership of the error is crucial—avoid making excuses.

4. Offer Solutions

After explaining the situation, present the solutions you’ve prepared. Demonstrating a proactive approach to fixing the problem shows initiative and responsibility.

5. Ask for Advice

Seek guidance on how to prevent similar errors in the future. Showing that you want to learn and improve from this experience can help rebuild trust.

6. Follow Up Professionally

After your meeting, send a follow-up email summarizing the discussion and the agreed-upon steps. This not only reinforces your professionalism but also ensures clarity on the next actions.

Remember, everyone makes mistakes, but how you handle them can define your career. By addressing the issue responsibly, you can earn respect and trust even in difficult situations.


Embracing Growth Through Challenges

Mistakes are part of the journey, but they don’t have to derail your career. Handling errors with integrity and a proactive mindset not only mitigates the immediate problem but also positions you as a professional who is dedicated to growth and excellence.

Stay strong, learn from the experience, and turn this moment into a stepping stone for future success.

Stay committed and resilient,

Sandy

Maximizing Productivity and Earnings for Attorneys: Essential Strategies

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

In the fast-paced legal world, efficiency is a key driver of success. For attorneys, mastering time management and leveraging the right tools can significantly enhance both productivity and earning potential. Whether you’re handling case files, staying updated on legal developments, or maintaining timely communication with clients, there’s always room for improvement. This week we’re exploring some strategies and tools that can help attorneys streamline their workflows and boost their income.


Dear Sandy,

As an attorney at our firm, I’m always looking for ways to enhance my performance and increase my earnings. Managing case files, keeping up with legal developments, and maintaining timely communication with clients are all areas where I feel I could improve my efficiency. I’d love to know what tools or methods you recommend for someone looking to maximize their productivity and ultimately, their earning potential.

Eager for Efficiency


Dear Eager for Efficiency,

You’re not alone in aiming to boost efficiency and earnings; many attorneys seek ways to enhance their financial success through better time management. Here are a few strategies and tools that can help you streamline your workflow and potentially increase your income:

  1. Leverage Technology:
    • Utilize Automation Tools Developed by the Firm: Embrace the automation tools that our firm has developed. These tools are tailored to our operations and can significantly reduce the time you spend on routine tasks, allowing you to handle more cases or complex matters that might lead to higher earnings.
  2. Interview and Collaborate:
    • Learn from Efficient Colleagues: Interview and work with the firm’s attorneys and agents who are known for their efficiency. Understand their processes and techniques, and consider how you can apply similar strategies in your own practice.
  3. Prioritize and Plan:
    • Task Management Systems: Using software like Trello, Asana, or Monday.com can help keep your tasks organized and prioritized. These platforms allow you to visualize your workload and deadlines, making it easier to manage time effectively and focus on high-value tasks.
    • The Pomodoro Technique: Employing this time management method, which involves working in focused sprints followed by short breaks, can improve your concentration and stamina, helping you accomplish more in less time.
  4. Delegate When Possible:
    • Delegate lower-level tasks to support staff or juniors. This will free up your time to focus on more complex and lucrative legal work.
  5. Regular Review:
    • Regularly evaluate your workflow and identify any inefficiencies. Make adjustments to your tools and processes to continue improving your efficiency and enhancing your earning potential.

By integrating these tools and techniques into your daily routine, you can manage your time more effectively, increase your productivity, and potentially see an increase in your earnings without compromising the quality of your work.

Stay efficient,
Sandy

Don’t forget to check back next week for more practical advice from Sandy on how to thrive in the legal profession.

Mastering the Art of Gaining Trust: How to Navigate Limited Delegation at Work

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations. This week’s ‘Dear Sandy’ tackles a common workplace dilemma, offering sage advice for those looking to expand their roles and increase their impact within their teams.

In the fast-paced world of professional careers, feeling stuck due to limited delegation by your manager can be particularly disheartening. Many employees find themselves eager to take on more responsibilities, only to be hemmed in by a manager who holds the reins too tightly. This not only stifles personal growth but can dampen morale and productivity.

Dear Sandy,

I’m caught in a frustrating situation at work where I feel underutilized. My manager appears reluctant to delegate significant tasks, preferring instead to manage the most important responsibilities themselves. This approach leaves me feeling undervalued and stifled in my professional growth. I’m eager to prove my capabilities and take on more, but I want to do so without overstepping boundaries or offending. How can I encourage my manager to trust me with more substantial responsibilities?

Eager for More

Sandy’s Response:

Dear Eager for More,

Feeling undervalued because a manager won’t delegate significant tasks is a challenge, but it’s one that can be navigated with thoughtful strategy and communication. Here’s how you can approach this delicate situation to both prove your capabilities and enhance your role within your team.

Step 1: Initiate a Constructive Conversation

Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your manager to discuss your role and aspirations. When you speak, focus on your enthusiasm for your job and your desire to contribute more significantly to team objectives. Frame your conversation positively, showing your eagerness to grow, rather than as criticism of their management style. For example, you might say, “I’ve really been enjoying my role and am looking to increase my contributions. Are there opportunities for me to take on more responsibility in upcoming projects?”

Step 2: Demonstrate Your Reliability

Before and after your conversation, make sure to excel in your current responsibilities. Consistency in delivering high-quality work on time builds trust and establishes a track record of reliability, showing your manager that you’re ready for more.

Step 3: Suggest a Trial Period

Propose a trial period where you can handle more complex tasks or oversee a portion of a project. This can be framed as a low-risk way for you to demonstrate your capability to manage larger responsibilities while also easing your manager’s workload.

Step 4: Request Regular Feedback

Regularly seek feedback on your performance. This shows your commitment to continual improvement and success, while also giving you insight into your manager’s expectations and any hesitations they may have about increasing your responsibilities.

Adopting a strategic approach to communication and demonstrating your capabilities can significantly alter your career trajectory. Remember, the goal is to not only secure more significant tasks but also to foster an environment where growth and trust are paramount. If you’ve found this advice helpful, or if you have your own experiences and tips to share, join the conversation on our LinkedIn. Let’s discuss how we can all work towards a more empowering and productive workplace. Here’s to your continued success and growth!

Thriving at the Intersection of Motherhood and Law: A Journey of Empowerment

Mother’s Day serves as a poignant reminder of the unique challenges faced by working mothers, especially those in demanding professions like law. As we celebrate the dedication and resilience of mothers everywhere, Elaine Spector’s story offers a beacon of hope and a testament to what is possible when workplaces evolve to meet the needs of their employees.

The journey of a working mother often entails a delicate balancing act between professional obligations and family responsibilities. For Elaine, the struggle was all too familiar until a pivotal career move in 2017 changed everything. After joining Harrity & Harrity, a law firm that breaks away from traditional molds, she found a supportive environment that truly values work-life balance. Harrity offered flexible work options, including the ability to work remotely before it became a necessity during the pandemic, and even provided a clear path to partnership on a reduced-hour schedule.

The support Elaine received from Harrity & Harrity proved to be a game-changer, enabling her to flourish in her dual roles as a lawyer and a mother. Now in her 29th year of practice, she celebrates the fact that she is not just surviving in her career; she is thriving. The transition to a home office has become her preferred setup, enhancing her productivity and satisfaction. Harrity’s progressive stance, further cements her contentment with her work arrangement.

Elaine’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of workplace flexibility and support for working mothers. It reflects a growing acknowledgment that supporting motherhood in the workplace is not just about providing flexibility but also about fostering an environment where women can advance in their careers without sacrificing their family life.

As we reflect on the stories shared this Mother’s Day, it’s clear that the path to supporting working mothers is not just about individual resilience but also about institutional change. Firms like Harrity & Harrity are leading the way in creating environments where mothers do not have to choose between their careers and their families. Let’s take inspiration from these success stories to advocate for more family-friendly policies across all sectors. To all the hardworking mothers out there, your strength inspires change, and your achievements pave the way for future generations of working women.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Pioneering Balance: Elaine Spector’s Path to Equity Partnership and Beyond

Last week, we explored Elaine Spector’s strategic move from the high-pressure world of patent litigation to a role that prioritized intellectual collaboration and family proximity at Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures. Her journey underscored the necessity for a role that could accommodate her as a professional and a parent. Despite achieving proximity, the role lacked the flexibility she required, setting the stage for her next career leap.

Finding Flexibility and Making History

Upon joining Harrity & Harrity, Elaine found the elusive balance she had been seeking. The firm offered remote positions with adaptable working hours, a radical shift that allowed her more time with her family without compromising her career ambitions. This was not merely a job change but a complete transformation of her professional identity.

At Harrity, Elaine championed flexibility and innovation in her work arrangement. Her journey to becoming the firm’s first female equity partner is a testament to Harrity & Harrity’s commitment to diversity and work-life balance. This achievement marks a significant milestone not only for Elaine but also for the firm, highlighting its progressive stance in a traditionally rigid field.

Elaine’s Top Five Recommendations for Career Advancement

In her current role, Elaine generously shares her insights, offering five key recommendations to aid other legal professionals, particularly working mothers, in their career trajectories:

  1. Embrace Flexibility: Seek roles that offer flexible hours and remote work possibilities.
  2. Carve Out Time for Business Development: Use accessible tools like LinkedIn to build and maintain client relationships from home.
  3. Advocate for Yourself: Don’t shy away from negotiating for what you need, whether it’s a reduced schedule or extended leave.
  4. Cultivate Your Network: Build a supportive network of mentors and colleagues who understand and support your dual aspirations of family and work.
  5. Hold on to Your Aspirations: Maintain your professional goals alongside your personal responsibilities; it is possible to excel at both.

Elaine Spector’s journey from a high-stakes litigation environment to becoming a pioneering female equity partner illustrates a broader narrative within the legal landscape. Her story provides practical strategies and hope, proving that legal professionals—especially working mothers—can sculpt a successful career that harmonizes professional growth with personal life. As we continue to explore practical tips for navigating patent law with familial responsibilities, Elaine’s principles offer a roadmap for those seeking to achieve similar success.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Navigating Negativity in the Workplace

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with “Dear Sandy.” Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations. This time, we tackle a common but taxing problem—dealing with a perpetually pessimistic coworker. How do you keep your spirits up when someone else is always bringing them down? Let’s explore this week’s reader’s query and Sandy’s insightful response.

“Dear Sandy,

I work with a coworker who seems to always dwell on the negative side of things. Not only do they constantly complain about our work, management, and other colleagues, but they also try to pull me into their negative conversations. I find myself feeling drained and even starting to view things more negatively after our interactions. How can I handle this situation without creating workplace tension or appearing unsympathetic?”

Dear Reader,

It’s an issue many of us face: a colleague whose negative outlook begins to affect our own. Dealing with a perpetually negative coworker can be challenging and emotionally exhausting. It’s important to protect your own mental space while maintaining a professional relationship. Here are a few strategies you might consider:

Five Strategies to Shield Your Positivity

Set Boundaries: Begin by firmly setting conversational boundaries. A simple redirection like, “I find it helpful to focus on the positive aspects, so let’s think about what we can do to improve the situation,” can subtly change the conversation’s course without causing friction.

Limit Interaction: Keep your interactions with the pessimistic coworker to necessary professional exchanges. Avoid getting too personal or engaging in lengthy discussions that could lead to negativity.

Express Your Feelings: If you feel at ease doing so, express the impact their negativity has on you. Phrasing it gently can help, for instance, “I’ve noticed I feel more stressed after our conversations that focus a lot on the negatives. Maybe we could try to balance it with some positive points?”

Seek Support: If the behavior becomes disruptive to your productivity, discussing it with a supervisor or HR may be appropriate. Approach this sensitively, focusing on the need for a positive working environment.

Lead by Example: Continue to embody positivity in your own actions and words. Positivity can be contagious, and your approach may eventually influence your coworker.

While it’s challenging to change someone else’s outlook, Sandy reminds us of the importance of focusing on our own reactions and maintaining a positive mindset. Protecting your mental space is crucial in a professional setting.

Have you ever faced a similar challenge with a negative coworker? How did you handle it? Share your stories and strategies with us on LinkedIn to continue the conversation. Don’t forget to join us next week for more invaluable advice from “Dear Sandy” on navigating the intricacies of office relationships!

Pioneering Balance: Elaine Spector’s Journey from Litigation to Leadership

In the ongoing “Navigating New Horizons” series of the Driving Diversity Blog, we delve deeper into Elaine Spector’s transformative journey through the realms of patent law. Following last week’s gripping narrative, “Navigating the High Stakes: A Patent Litigator’s Journey from Trials to Tech Transfer,” we now explore how Elaine’s intense experiences in a high-stakes trial environment catalyzed her transition to a more balanced role at Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures, and eventually to Harrity & Harrity, where she achieved a groundbreaking flexible work arrangement.

Transition to Tech Transfer and Beyond

Elaine’s intense involvement in a grueling month-long patent litigation trial in the Eastern District of Texas was a pivotal moment, testing her limits and shaping her career trajectory. The demanding nature of the trial, characterized by long hours and high pressure, illuminated the stark realities of balancing professional obligations with personal life—particularly as a mother. The professional isolation she felt during this time, exacerbated by a poignant moment of connecting with her children via Skype, underscored her need for change.

Realizing the necessity for a shift, Elaine transitioned to an in-house role at Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures. Here, she sought a part-time position but accepted full-time work, prioritizing proximity to family over her preferred work arrangement. This role, while closer to home and filled with intellectual collaboration, still lacked the flexibility Elaine needed as her children grew older.

Finding Flexibility and Making History

Elaine’s pursuit of a better work-life balance led her here, to Harrity & Harrity, where she found the flexibility she had long sought in a remote position with adaptable work hours. This move was not just about changing jobs; it was about reshaping her professional identity. At Harrity, she not only embraced a reduced hours schedule but also ascended to become the first female partner, a testament to the firm’s progressive stance on work-life balance and diversity.

Elaine’s journey from the intensity of the war room to achieving partnership at Harrity & Harrity encapsulates a broader narrative prevalent in today’s legal landscape. Her story offers hope and actionable insights for legal professionals, especially working mothers, demonstrating that it is indeed possible to craft a fulfilling career that accommodates both professional aspirations and personal responsibilities. As we anticipate next week’s discussion on practical tips for working mothers in law, Elaine’s experiences continue to inspire and guide those navigating the patent law field towards more inclusive and adaptable career paths.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Mastering Difficult Client Relationships: Essential Tips for Patent Attorneys

Handling challenging clients is part and parcel of any service-oriented profession, especially in the intricate world of patent law. In this week’s Dear Sandy, our esteemed Controller, Sandy Maxey, responds to an attorney at a mid-sized firm who shares a common yet taxing dilemma: managing a new client whose communication style is not only challenging but sometimes downright disrespectful. From disregarding advice to setting unrealistic deadlines and maintaining a condescending tone, this scenario puts professional skills and patience to the test.

Dear Sandy,

I am a patent attorney at a mid-sized firm, and I have recently been tasked with managing the portfolio of a new client. While I am excited about the opportunities this assignment presents, I am finding the client’s communication style to be particularly challenging and at times, disrespectful. They frequently disregard my professional advice, impose unrealistic deadlines, and their overall tone can be quite condescending. I am committed to maintaining professionalism and ensuring the quality of my work remains unaffected, but I am struggling. How can I effectively manage this situation without causing friction or appearing uncooperative?

Troubled by the Tone

Sandy’s Response:

Navigating a professional relationship with a challenging client can indeed be difficult, but it also presents an opportunity to hone your communication and boundary-setting skills.

  1. Keep a Detailed Record: Documenting all communications is essential. This record can be invaluable in resolving disputes or misunderstandings regarding what has been communicated.
  2. Establish Clear Boundaries: Organizing a meeting to set clear expectations and timelines can be instrumental. It’s an opportunity to assert the reasoning behind your professional decisions and to establish yourself as an authority.
  3. Confront Disrespect Directly: If the client’s disrespect persists, it should be addressed directly, yet diplomatically. Articulate the need for respectful communication to maintain a productive working relationship.
  4. Leverage Firm Support: Should the problem continue, involve a supervisor or partner. They can offer additional support, mediate the situation, or potentially reassign the client to another attorney better suited to handle the dynamic.
  5. Value Your Professional Well-being: It’s crucial to remember that while clients are important, they should not undermine your professional integrity or well-being. If necessary, seek adjustments within your firm to protect these.

Why This Is Important

Dealing with difficult clients not only tests professional mettle but also provides an opportunity to strengthen communication and negotiation skills. Sandy’s advice underscores the need for strategic thinking and personal resilience in these situations. Whether printed in a newspaper or shared online, these insights can help any attorney navigate the complexities of client relationships in the legal field.

This guide serves as a roadmap for patent attorneys and other professionals who may find themselves in similar situations, offering both strategic advice and reassurance that they are not alone in facing these challenges. By maintaining professionalism and setting clear boundaries, attorneys can manage difficult client relationships effectively, ensuring that their careers remain on a positive trajectory.

We Want to Hear from You

Do you have experiences with challenging clients? How have you managed these relationships without sacrificing your professional standards? Share your stories and strategies with us on LinkedIn to continue the conversation.

Navigating the High Stakes: A Patent Litigator’s Journey from Trials to Tech Transfer

In the latest entry of the “Navigating New Horizons” series and the Driving Diversity Blog, we continue to follow Elaine Spector’s riveting journey. This installment transitions from a hopeful equilibrium of work-life balance to an intense legal battle that tested her commitments and catalyzed a significant career shift. Elaine’s experiences illuminate the challenges faced by patent attorneys striving to align professional aspirations with personal responsibilities.

Elaine’s innovative work arrangement was an exemplar of work-life balance, blending remote work with time at home and at the office. However, her well-structured life was upended by an urgent summons to a high-stakes patent litigation case. Drawn into the vortex of a month-long trial in the Eastern District of Texas, Elaine found herself in the throes of a legal battle that demanded her presence far beyond the typical professional commitment.

The war room, a rented hotel space devoid of its original furnishings and repurposed with desks and strategic planning areas, became the epicenter of the trial’s operations. Here, Elaine and her colleagues engaged in intense collaborative sessions, sometimes stretching up to 20 hours a day. This environment, while energizing for some, was a crucible of stress for Elaine, who had to manage her professional duties while grappling with the emotional strain of being separated from her young children. The physical setup of the war room facilitated a high level of collaboration, but it also underscored the relentless pressure and isolation from normal life, including a poignant moment when she used Skype to connect with her children, briefly bridging the gap between her two worlds.

The climax of Elaine’s trial experience came when she was unexpectedly excluded from the trial table. Initially hopeful when her boss had to leave due to a family emergency, Elaine anticipated taking his place at the table. Yet, this expectation was abruptly dashed by a pile of books and an uncomfortable conversation with the lead associate who insisted the space be kept open for the jurors. This incident was not just a professional setback but a deeply humiliating moment, highlighting the opaque and perhaps biased decision-making processes within her team.

Elaine Spector’s story from the war room to the trial table captures more than just the challenges of a patent litigation trial; it encapsulates the emotional and professional trials faced by many in high-stakes legal environments. Her subsequent decision to leave big law for a tech transfer role at Johns Hopkins University was driven by the need for a career that accommodated her professional skills and personal life. Elaine’s experiences offer a raw, unfiltered look into the conflicts that can arise when professional demands collide with personal needs, serving as a powerful narrative for those navigating similar paths in demanding fields.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

The Strategic Dilemma: Overcoming Double Patenting with Terminal Disclaimers

Navigating the labyrinthine world of patent law can be as complex as the innovations it protects. Among the myriad challenges faced by patent practitioners, double patenting rejections and the judicious use of terminal disclaimers stand out. These issues require not only legal acumen but also strategic foresight. This detailed exploration sheds light on the intricate dance between securing robust patent protection and maximizing the commercial lifespan of your intellectual assets.

Deciphering Double Patenting

Double patenting involves the risk of granting several patents for the same invention, potentially extending monopoly rights beyond the intended term. This scenario is particularly problematic as it can lead to a thicket of overlapping rights that are difficult to navigate for both the patent holder and potential competitors. Understanding the nuances of double patenting is essential for anyone looking to navigate the patent landscape successfully.

Terminal Disclaimers: A Strategic Tool

Filing a terminal disclaimer is a common tactic to overcome double patenting objections. This maneuver effectively synchronizes the expiry of the involved patents, thus aligning them within the legally permissible patent term. However, this resolution is not without its trade-offs:

  1. Integration of Patent Lifecycles: Terminal disclaimers bind the destinies of multiple patents, potentially complicating future adjustments to a portfolio.
  2. Reduction in Patent Term: They may unintentionally shorten the effective patent term, potentially undercutting the commercial advantage they provide.

Strategic Considerations for Managing Patent Portfolios

When facing a double patenting dilemma, thoughtful consideration is paramount:

  1. Evaluating Business Impact: Consider the broader business implications of linking patents. How might this influence your company’s strategy in terms of market presence or competitive edge?
  2. Analyzing Patent Family Relationships: Determine the relationship between the patent families involved and assess the potential long-term impacts of tying these families together through a terminal disclaimer.
  3. Exploring Claim Adjustments: Before resorting to a terminal disclaimer, exhaust all options to differentiate the claims of the current application from those of the related patent. Amending claims or arguing distinctiveness can sometimes circumvent the need for a disclaimer.
  4. Optimal Timing of Filing: Delay the decision to file a terminal disclaimer until it is absolutely necessary, which allows for a complete assessment of the prosecution landscape and might reveal alternative strategies.

The decision to file a terminal disclaimer in response to a double patenting rejection intertwines legal strategy with business foresight. A well-considered approach can not only navigate through the immediate legal hurdles but also set the stage for long-term innovation management and commercial success.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Navigating New Horizons: Elaine’s Journey Through High-Stakes Litigation to Family-Centric Career Choices

In our latest installment of the Driving Diversity “Navigating New Horizons” series, we continue to explore Elaine Spector’s dynamic journey as a patent attorney caught between the rigorous demands of her career and the personal commitment to her family. This chapter picks up after Elaine has seemingly found the perfect work-life arrangement, only to have it upended by an intense legal battle that challenges her priorities and career trajectory.

Elaine’s innovative work schedule was a pioneering model before remote work gained traction. It allowed her a balanced division between her professional responsibilities and her family life, with two days in the office, one from home, and two days off to be with her three young children. This arrangement seemed ideal until she was drawn into a complex patent litigation case in the Eastern District of Texas.

The case was far from straightforward; it was a high-stakes, unyielding trial that refused to settle and demanded her presence for an extended period, significantly more than her usual commitment. Elaine found herself in Texas for a whole month, a stark contrast to the family-centric routine she had cultivated. This shift not only placed a strain on her familial relationships but also on her mental and emotional well-being, as she grappled with the professional demands of being a key player in a relentless legal struggle.

During this trial, Elaine’s dedication to her craft was evident, but the personal cost of such dedication became increasingly clear. The separation from her young children during critical developmental years caused her to deeply question whether her career in private practice was sustainable in the long term. Her internal conflict and the toll of the trial became a catalyst for reevaluating her career path.

Post-trial, Elaine sought a position that could offer both professional fulfillment and proximity to her family. She transitioned to a role in technology transfer at Johns Hopkins University. This role, while full-time, promised a significant reduction in travel and more regular hours, factors that were crucial in her decision. The move was strategic, aligning her professional skills with her personal need to be available for her children.

Elaine’s story is a powerful narrative about the challenges of maintaining work-life balance in the high-pressure world of patent law. It illustrates the tough decisions many legal professionals face when personal priorities clash with professional opportunities. Elaine’s shift from a high-stakes litigation environment to an in-house role at a major research institution symbolizes a broader conversation about the evolving demands and expectations of work in the legal sector.

As we anticipate further developments in Elaine’s career, her experiences serve as a valuable case study for other professionals navigating similar paths. Her journey underscores the importance of aligning career choices with personal values and the continuous search for balance in a demanding professional landscape.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Unlocking the Potential of AFCP 2.0: A Game-Changer in Patent Prosecution

In the intricate dance of patent prosecution, making the right moves after receiving a Final Office Action (FOA) from the USPTO is paramount. In this week’s The Precise  George Howarah sheds light on a strategic tool that is transforming the landscape for applicants and attorneys: the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0).

The Turning Point: Beyond Traditional Responses

Traditionally, the response to an FOA often leads down the path of filing a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). However, this route can be both time-consuming and costly, potentially slowing down the journey to patent issuance. George introduces AFCP 2.0 as a compelling alternative, aiming to streamline the prosecution process with a more nuanced approach.

Delving Into AFCP 2.0

AFCP 2.0 emerges as a beacon of efficiency, offering a pathway to advance prosecution without the need for an RCE. The program allows for the consideration of a response to an FOA that includes a non-broadening amendment to at least one independent claim. This key provision paves the way for a more dynamic interaction between applicants and the USPTO.

The USPTO allocates additional time under AFCP 2.0 for examiners to review applications, creating an environment conducive to thorough evaluation and discussion. The goal? To reach an allowance or to facilitate a productive dialogue through an interview with the applicant, addressing any hurdles that stand in the way.

Why AFCP 2.0 Matters

George emphasizes several advantages of AFCP 2.0 that make it an invaluable tool in the patent prosecution toolkit:

  1. Speed: By potentially bypassing the RCE cycle, AFCP 2.0 can significantly reduce the time to patent issuance.
  2. Cost Effectiveness: The program is free to use, offering a budget-friendly option for advancing prosecution.
  3. Enhanced Engagement: The opportunity for an examiner interview under AFCP 2.0 is a strategic advantage, allowing for direct negotiation and clarification, thereby enhancing the prospects of allowance.

Strategic Application of AFCP 2.0

Despite its benefits, George notes the importance of meeting AFCP 2.0’s specific criteria to qualify for the program. Examiners have sole discretion in this regard, making it essential for applicants to craft their responses carefully.

In practice, George recommends always exploring the possibility of AFCP 2.0 when crafting a response to an FOA, especially when it involves a non-broadening amendment to an independent claim. This approach not only leverages the program’s benefits but also offers a proactive stance in navigating the prosecution process.

A Paradigm Shift in Prosecution Strategy

George’s insight into AFCP 2.0 heralds a shift towards a more efficient, cost-effective, and interactive patent prosecution process. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, embracing such innovative programs will be key to navigating the complexities of securing patent rights successfully.

In a world where time is of the essence, and every detail matters, AFCP 2.0 stands out as a pivotal tool, reshaping the strategy behind patent prosecution. George’s advocacy for its use underscores its potential to significantly impact how we approach the final stages of patent application.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Navigating New Horizons: Elaine’s Quest for Work-Life Harmony in IP Law Continues

 

Last week, we embarked on an insightful exploration into Elaine’s transformative journey within the Intellectual Property (IP) law landscape—a narrative that resonated deeply with many in our community. As we continue with the second installment of “Navigating New Horizons,” Elaine’s quest for work-life harmony in the demanding world of IP law gains new depth and dimension.

Elaine’s transformation from a full-time associate to a part-time employee in the wake of motherhood marked the beginning of her unique journey through the world of IP law—a journey characterized by its challenges, learning curves, and triumphs. Her bold request for additional leave, following the birth of her second child, was met with refusal, highlighting the rigidities still present within some corners of the legal profession. This pivotal moment spurred Elaine to seek out opportunities that aligned more closely with her values and vision for a balanced life.

The serendipitous offer from a larger general practice firm, ready to embrace her on terms that respected her need for flexibility, represented a turning point. Here was a chance to engage in patent preparation, prosecution, and opinion work while also being present for her family—a blend of professional and personal fulfillment that had previously seemed elusive.

Yet, as Elaine settled into this new chapter, the unforeseen complexities of litigation emerged, threatening the delicate balance she had worked so hard to achieve. Faced with potentially career-altering decisions, Elaine’s narrative encapsulates the ongoing struggle for work-life harmony that many legal professionals, especially parents, confront.

As we continue to follow Elaine’s journey, her story encourages a reflection on the broader implications for the legal industry. It serves as a reminder of the critical importance of fostering workplaces that are truly inclusive and adaptable, capable of supporting diverse talents and life circumstances.

Elaine’s narrative is more than just a personal story; it’s a call to action for the legal profession to prioritize diversity, inclusion, and flexibility. As she navigates the complexities of IP law and motherhood, her experiences illuminate the path toward a more equitable and supportive industry. By championing professionals like Elaine, who seek to balance the scales of career and family, the legal community can take meaningful steps towards creating environments where every lawyer has the opportunity to thrive, irrespective of their personal responsibilities.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Decoding the Signature: The Influence of Patent Examiner Authority on Patent Outcomes

Navigating the patent application process can feel like a complex chess game, where understanding the moves of patent examiners plays a critical role in strategy. In this week’s ‘The Precise Prosecutor’, George Howarah provides a deep dive into a less discussed but highly impactful aspect of the patent examination process: the significance of a patent examiner’s ability to sign their own office actions and what it means for applicants.

The Significance of Examiner Levels

At the heart of the patent examination process is the General Schedule (GS) pay scale, which ranges from GS-5 for junior examiners to GS-15 for the most senior. This scale is not just a measure of experience but also a reflection of authority within the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

A key transition occurs when examiners reach the GS-13 level, granting them partial signatory authority. This allows them to independently sign all non-final office actions, a significant marker of trust and responsibility within the USPTO. The journey from a junior GS-5 examiner to a GS-13 with this level of autonomy involves a rigorous evaluation of job performance, emphasizing the quality of work.

From Junior to Primary: The Path to Full Authority

Achieving primary examiner status, where one can sign all types of office actions including final ones, requires even more. Examiners must successfully complete a specialized program designed to evaluate their readiness for this level of independence. This designation as a primary examiner signifies a level of expertise and authority that directly impacts the patent application process.

Why It Matters to Patent Applicants

For patent applicants, the distinction between junior and primary examiners is crucial. An office action signed by a junior examiner who lacks the authority to issue final decisions might not have undergone the same level of scrutiny as those reviewed by a primary examiner. This is especially critical in complex technological areas or in nuanced legal scenarios, where experienced oversight is paramount.

George emphasizes the practical step of examining the examiner’s signature on office actions. This isn’t about undermining the capability of junior examiners but rather about understanding the depth of review and expertise your patent application is receiving. A signature from a primary examiner indicates a thorough vetting process, reflecting a higher degree of reliability and authority.

The level of authority a patent examiner holds can significantly influence the patent examination process. By understanding the implications of examiner signatures, applicants can gain insights into the level of scrutiny their application has undergone, informing their responses and strategies. George’s expert insights offer a critical lens through which applicants can navigate the patent process more effectively, especially in fields where the complexity of technology and law intersect.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Navigating New Horizons: The Journey of a Lawyer Mom in the World of IP Law

April brings not just the promise of spring but also stories of resilience and determination that inspire and empower. In this week’s #DrivingDiversity, Elaine Spector opens up about her odyssey in the legal field—a journey punctuated by trials and tribulations but also by immense growth and learning.

Starting in 1996 at a small firm in Bethesda, Elaine plunged into the vast ocean of IP law, where she had the fortune of exploring every facet of the discipline. This initial foray was not just a job; it was a crucible that honed her skills and shaped her into a formidable associate.

The leap from a small firm to a larger IP boutique marked a significant phase in Elaine’s career. Here, she became the go-to associate for those unpredictable Friday 4 PM calls, a testament to her reliability and dedication. Her days, stretching from 7 AM to 7 PM, including weekends, epitomized the commitment required in the high-stakes world of IP law.

However, the arrival of Elaine’s first child marked a pivotal moment, compelling her to confront the reality many women in law face—the daunting challenge of balancing a demanding career with motherhood. The decision to reduce her hours from 1800 to 1200 annually was a bold step towards seeking balance, yet it was met with a compromise that barely skimmed the surface of her needs. The agreement to work from home on Fridays, while maintaining this arrangement under wraps —presented its own set of challenges, highlighting the complexities of navigating career and family life in silence.

This untenable situation eventually led Elaine to a crossroads, prompting her to leave the firm in search of a more accommodating work-life balance. Her story leaves us on the edge of our seats, wondering if the utopia of balance exists within the legal profession.

Elaine’s journey underscores a broader dialogue on the need for structural changes within the legal industry to support women. It’s a call to action for firms to not only accommodate but embrace flexible working arrangements, fostering an environment where talent thrives alongside parenthood. As we await the next chapter in Elaine’s story, her experiences serve as a catalyst for conversation and action, inspiring both individuals and organizations to advocate for policies and cultures that empower women in law to thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Unveiling the USPTO’s Examiner Production System: Strategic Insights for Patent Prosecutors

Navigating the patent examination process at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires more than just a deep understanding of law and technology—it demands insight into the operational metrics that drive examiner behaviors, notably the production system.

Understanding the Examiner Production System

At the core of the USPTO’s operational efficiency is a metric system known as “counts,” a performance evaluation tool that transcends traditional hour-based assessments. Examiners are evaluated based on their ability to meet specific count quotas within each bi-weekly period. These quotas are influenced by several factors: the examiner’s seniority, the technological complexity of the art unit assigned, and the total examining hours available in the pay period.

This system necessitates that senior examiners, due to their experience, are expected to meet higher count quotas. Meanwhile, examiners handling applications in technologically advanced or complex art units are allotted fewer counts, acknowledging the intricate nature of their examination tasks.

How Counts Are Earned

The allocation of counts is strategically set to ensure efficiency and productivity:

  • A first Office Action on the merits awards an examiner 1.25 counts.
  • Completing a final Office Action earns 0.5 counts.
  • If an application is abandoned or an RCE (Request for Continued Examination) is filed, the examiner receives 0.5 counts.
  • After an RCE is submitted, any subsequent Office Action, typically non-final, yields one count, with an additional 0.5 counts for a final Office Action, another RCE, or abandonment.

It’s critical to understand that the earning of counts is not directly correlated with the time spent on each Office Action, underscoring the USPTO’s emphasis on results over time spent.

Strategic Considerations for Patent Prosecutors

The examiner production system significantly impacts patent prosecution strategies. Examiners are under a structured time constraint to review applications, especially during final Office Actions. This makes it imperative for attorneys to submit clear, concise, and strategically focused amendments and arguments. Ensuring that your submissions are easily understandable can facilitate the examiner’s review process, potentially speeding up the examination process and improving the chances of patent grant.

A thorough comprehension of the USPTO’s examiner production system is invaluable for patent prosecutors. By aligning submission strategies with the nuances of the system, attorneys can navigate the patent application process more effectively, improving outcomes for their clients. Understanding how examiners are motivated and measured can transform a potentially opaque process into a more predictable and navigable path to patent approval.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Bridging the Gap: Empowering Women in STEM to Explore Careers in Patent Law

In a world where career paths are as diverse as the individuals pursuing them, the journey of discovering one’s true calling can be filled with unexpected turns and revelations. This holds particularly true in the intersecting realms of STEM and law, where the unique profession of patent law resides—a field that marries the precision of science and engineering with the intricacies of legal expertise. As we reflect on Women’s History Month, it’s essential to spotlight the opportunities that exist for women in STEM to venture into the lesser-known territories of patent law, embodying the potential to innovate, protect, and advocate for groundbreaking inventions.

The inspiration to bridge the divide between STEM and patent law often starts with a personal narrative—a story of discovery, influence, and ambition. Take, for instance, the journey of a child fascinated by mathematics, whose early inclinations were nurtured by a mechanical engineer father. This innate curiosity to solve and fix, combined with an unexpected prowess in debate, laid the groundwork for an unforeseen career prospect: becoming a patent attorney.

The revelation that a career in patent law does not require one to choose between a love for science and a passion for law, but rather, celebrates the combination of both, is a turning point. It’s the story of realizing that with a background in hard sciences, such as mechanical engineering, one could embark on a legal career specialized in protecting intellectual property.

Yet, this realization brings to light a significant challenge: the lack of awareness among many students about the viability of patent law as a career path. This gap in knowledge is especially pronounced among women in STEM, who, despite their growing numbers in technical fields, remain underrepresented in patent law. The importance of role models, mentors, and informative networks cannot be overstated in bridging this gap, highlighting the need for initiatives that introduce women to the profession.

As we close Women’s History Month, the call to action becomes clear: to spread the word about the opportunities within patent law for women with STEM backgrounds. The upcoming “Harrity for Parity: Women’s Patent Workshop” is more than an event; it’s a stepping stone for undergraduate women in STEM to explore a career that not only needs their expertise but desperately seeks their perspective and innovation.

The journey from a child’s curiosity in math and science to a professional career in patent law exemplifies the importance of information, guidance, and encouragement in navigating one’s career path. It underscores the critical role that awareness plays in opening doors to diverse career opportunities for women in STEM. By becoming the bridge for others, we can ensure that more women not only become aware of careers in patent law but are also empowered to pursue them. Let us all be part of this movement to diversify the field of patent law, ensuring it benefits from the brilliant minds of women in STEM. Join the conversation, spread the word, and let’s pave the way for future generations of women patent attorneys.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Navigating Allowable Subject Matter in Patent Applications: Strategies for Success

Navigating the patent process is a nuanced journey, especially when responding to first office actions that indicate allowable subject matter alongside dependent claims. In this week’s #ThePreciseProsecutor, George Howarah provides a strategic blueprint to approach this scenario, ensuring that patent applicants can make informed decisions that enhance the value of their applications.

The Foundation of Analysis
Upon receiving a first office action that identifies allowable subject matter, it’s critical not to rush into incorporating these suggestions or, conversely, dismissing them out of hand. George advocates for a deliberate approach that scrutinizes the office action with fresh eyes.

1. Unbiased Analysis: The First Step
Begin your evaluation as though the office action did not specify allowable subject matter. This involves a deep dive into the inventive concept of your application and its encapsulation within the claims, ensuring you fully grasp the innovation at hand without any preconceptions.

2. Assessing the Strategic Scope
How does the allowable subject matter’s scope compare to related applications or patents? A close similarity, especially with the independent claims of a parent application, might diminish its strategic value, suggesting that the new allowable matter may not substantially enhance your patent portfolio.

3. Business Value: A Key Consideration
The commercial impact of the allowable subject matter is paramount. If it fails to encompass a critical standard or product feature your business targets, its utility may be limited. This assessment helps prioritize modifications that align with your strategic business objectives.

4. Balancing Scope and Substance
Evaluate whether the allowable subject matter presents a reasonable scope and if it’s merely ancillary to your application’s core invention. Sometimes, what’s allowed is too narrow to warrant incorporation in its initial form. Instead, look for opportunities to negotiate or amend claims for a broader, more impactful scope.

Beyond the Initial Action: A Proactive Stance
Exploring broader subject matter than what is initially indicated as allowable can be a wise strategy. Engaging in a dialogue with the patent office or preparing amendments can often lead to securing more comprehensive protection, potentially at a more opportune time.

Addressing a first office action with a strategic mindset can transform a routine step in the patent process into a pivotal opportunity for enhancing your intellectual property portfolio. By adopting George Hawara’s methodical approach, applicants can not only navigate the complexities of office actions but also position their inventions for maximum impact and protection.

Navigating through the patent application process, particularly in responding to office actions, demands a strategic outlook that evaluates the invention’s core, its market relevance, and the tactical deployment of allowable subject matter. Following George’s strategic framework provides a pathway not just to patentability but to securing valuable, enforceable patent rights.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Navigating the Legal Landscape: The Supreme Court and the Future of Diversity in Education

Amidst the turbulence stirred by last year’s landmark affirmative action decision and subsequent legal challenges, the Supreme Court’s recent inaction regarding a high-profile lawsuit has cast a ray of hope across the landscape of educational diversity. This moment serves as a critical juncture for proponents of diversity in the legal field, where the balance between meritocracy and inclusivity stands in stark relief. The refusal to review the lawsuit against the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) in Northern Virginia offers not just clarity but also an affirmation of innovative approaches to admissions policies. This week’s #DrivingDiversity blog post ventures into this pivotal development, unraveling its significance for the evolution of diversity in educational admissions and the broader implications for equitable access to education.

From Concern to Clarity

The legal challenges mounted by the American Alliance for Equal Rights against several notable law firms had cast a shadow of apprehension over diversity efforts within the legal community. At the heart of this anxiety was the fear of a domino effect that might erode admissions policies designed to uplift economically disadvantaged applicants. The backdrop of this unease was a landscape fraught with uncertainty about the sustainability of diversity initiatives.

A Turning Point

Yet, as the dust settles, the Supreme Court’s decision to sidestep the lawsuit against TJ marks a watershed moment. In revising its admissions policies in 2021 to align with a merit-based approach pioneered in Texas in 1997, TJ has not only preserved but enhanced its commitment to diversity. By selecting the top 1.5% of students from each public middle school in the area, the school dramatically broadened its demographic and socioeconomic diversity, steering clear of explicit racial criteria. This strategy represents a significant victory for advocates of inclusivity, illustrating a viable pathway to enriching educational diversity through merit-based practices.

The Path Forward

The case of TJ serves as a compelling example of how educational institutions can navigate the challenging waters of admissions policies in a post-affirmative action era. It underscores the potential for creating environments that are both diverse and inclusive, without sacrificing the principles of merit and excellence. The Supreme Court’s stance offers a glimmer of hope and a blueprint for the future, highlighting that progress towards equitable education is both possible and necessary.

While we celebrate these victories, we also acknowledge the long road ahead. The dream of universal access to quality education remains just that—a dream for many. However, the advancements at TJ remind us of the power of resilience, innovation, and the collective pursuit of a more inclusive future.

The journey towards diversity and inclusion in the legal and educational sectors is fraught with challenges, yet it is imbued with the potential for profound societal impact. The Supreme Court’s recent actions serve not only as a testament to the resilience of diversity initiatives but also as a guiding light for the future. As we continue to navigate this complex landscape, let us draw inspiration from the successes and remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that all children, irrespective of their background, have access to the quality education they rightfully deserve. Together, we can make this vision a reality, one step at a time.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Streamlining Patent Prosecution: A Proven Strategy for Navigating Office Actions

The journey toward patent approval is often complex, marked by the critical juncture of responding to an office action. George Howarah offers a strategic blueprint for addressing these challenges, providing a systematic approach to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of patent prosecution efforts.

Step One: Claim Analysis

The journey begins with a comprehensive analysis of the claims, particularly focusing on the independent claims. George underscores the importance of grasping the full scope of these claims as they encapsulate the essence of the inventive concept. This step is foundational, setting the stage for a targeted and informed response.

Step Two: Office Action Review

The next phase involves a meticulous review of the office action, paying close attention to the nature of the rejections and the specifics of the cited prior art. George points out the potential to challenge the relevance of prior art based on its date or ownership. This critical evaluation is pivotal for developing a strategic plan of attack.

Step Three: Specification Examination

Central to George’s approach is a thorough examination of the patent’s specification. This in-depth review ensures a profound understanding of how the invention is described and claimed, facilitating a more accurate alignment between the invention and the claims. This deep comprehension is vital for identifying the strongest possible position in response to the office action.

Step Four: Developing the Response Strategy

Finally, George focuses on crafting a tailored response strategy. This involves identifying the core inventive concept within the independent claims and evaluating the examiner’s cited references for their applicability and interpretation. Depending on the examiner’s rationale, George suggests either proposing strategic amendments to the claims or preparing cogent arguments to underscore the invention’s novelty and non-obviousness.

George’s structured approach demystifies the process of responding to office actions, offering patent practitioners a clear, step-by-step guide to navigating these waters. By adopting this methodical strategy, inventors and attorneys alike can improve their chances of advancing through the patent prosecution process successfully, ensuring their innovations receive the protection they deserve.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Beyond the Marker: Equal Pay Day and the Legal Sector’s Call for Action

In the landscape of modern justice, the battle for equal pay remains a glaring contradiction. Equal Pay Day, observed on March 12th, underscores a reality we can no longer ignore – the persistent wage gap between genders. It’s a day that forces us to reckon with the fact that women have to work significantly longer into the next year to earn what men did in the previous one. This revelation comes not from the fringes of our society but straight from the legal sector, a realm dedicated to upholding fairness and justice.

The irony is not lost on us. The legal profession, built on the principles of equity and justice, finds itself at the heart of this ongoing struggle for wage parity. The call for action is clear and unequivocal: it’s time to disrupt the status quo. The message is a rallying cry for everyone, urging them to amplify their voices using #equalpay, share personal stories, and engage in conversations that matter. The goal is to create a groundswell of support that cannot be ignored, pushing for systemic changes that ensure equal pay is not just an ideal but a reality.

Moreover, the emphasis on male allies participating in this movement is crucial. Equal pay is not solely a women’s issue; it’s a societal one that affects us all. When women are paid fairly, the benefits ripple through families, communities, and economies. Thus, the call to action extends beyond gender lines, inviting everyone to play a part in rectifying this injustice.

As we reflect on Equal Pay Day, let’s recognize it not just as a marker of how far we’ve come, but more importantly, how far we still have to go. The fight for equal pay in the legal profession and beyond is a testament to the broader struggle for gender equality and justice. It’s a call to action for all of us to engage, advocate, and push for change. The path to equality requires relentless effort, solidarity, and a commitment to justice for all. Let’s make equal pay a reality, not just for the sake of fairness, but for the future we all share.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Transforming Examiner Interviews into Opportunities: A Practical Guide

Navigating the patent prosecution landscape requires more than just legal expertise; it demands a nuanced understanding of the human elements that influence the process. Examiner interviews are a pivotal aspect of this journey, offering unique opportunities to directly influence the outcome of a patent application. George Howarah shares his refined approach to these interviews, combining technical acumen with strategic interpersonal engagement.

The Importance of Personal Connection

George begins by emphasizing the importance of establishing a personal connection with the examiner. Before diving into the technicalities, he spends a few minutes asking about the examiner’s wellbeing and any updates from the patent office. This approach is not just about pleasantries; it’s a strategic move to make the interview less contentious and foster a collaborative atmosphere. Such a rapport encourages the examiner to be more open to discussion, laying the groundwork for a productive conversation.

Presenting the Invention and Claims

Another crucial part of George’s strategy is how he presents the invention and the claims. He carefully selects drawings that directly support his arguments and articulates the essence of the invention in his own words, steering clear of the complex language often found in claims. This approach not only aids in mutual understanding but also allows the examiner to view the invention from the attorney’s perspective, facilitating a more meaningful discussion about the application’s merits.

The Path to Agreement

The goal of any examiner interview is to reach some form of agreement that advances the patent application towards allowance. George shares his structured method for negotiating claim amendments, starting with the ideal outcome and gradually addressing more specific concerns. This step-by-step negotiation is designed to find common ground, however small, which can be crucial for prosecution estoppel and avoiding future legal hurdles.

George’s approach to examiner interviews is a testament to the power of preparation, personal connection, and precise argumentation. By adopting these strategies, patent attorneys can enhance their chances of success, transforming a daunting process into a manageable and even rewarding experience.

So, How Do You Conduct Examiner Interviews?

George’s methods are a blend of art and science, offering a proven framework for engaging with patent examiners effectively. But the field is wide open for discussion: How do you approach examiner interviews?

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Inspiring Inclusion in Patent Law: Celebrating International Women’s Day with Heart

As we approach International Women’s Day on March 8th, the theme of #inspireinclusion resonates profoundly within the patent law community, particularly among those with a background in mechanical engineering. The journey towards inclusion is a personal and collective endeavor, often marked by moments of feeling out of place. Yet, it’s through these experiences that the importance of fostering an inclusive environment becomes undeniably clear. This year, we are invited to embody the spirit of inclusion in a unique and heartwarming way, symbolizing our commitment to building a more welcoming and diverse field.

Holding a degree in mechanical engineering and navigating the intricate world of patent law, experiences of feeling excluded are not uncommon. These moments, though challenging, shine a light on the vital need for inclusivity within our professional spheres. As we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day this Friday, March 8th, the patent law community is rallying around a powerful theme: #inspireinclusion. This initiative isn’t just a call to action; it’s a movement towards embracing diversity and fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and included.

This year’s International Women’s Day is more than a celebration; it’s a declaration of unity and understanding. The #inspireinclusion theme encourages us to adopt a stance that is as meaningful as it is symbolic—a heart. This gesture is far from arbitrary. It represents the core of where inclusion begins: our hearts. It’s a poignant reminder that at the heart of inclusion lies empathy, understanding, and the willingness to embrace diversity in all its forms.

The invitation to strike the #inspireinclusion pose this Friday is open to everyone, men included, highlighting that inclusion is not the responsibility of a single gender but a collective effort that requires the participation and support of all. The gesture of forming a heart is a powerful symbol of solidarity, unity, and the shared commitment to fostering an inclusive environment within the patent law community and beyond.

As we stand together, adopting the #inspireinclusion stance, we’re not just participating in a symbolic act. We’re pledging to make inclusivity a cornerstone of our professional and personal lives. This International Women’s Day, let’s inspire inclusion by showing the world that the patent law community stands united in its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The call to inspire inclusion this International Women’s Day is more than a theme; it’s a reflection of our collective aspiration to create a more inclusive and equitable world. By participating in the #inspireinclusion pose, we are making a statement about the values we hold dear in the patent law community. This gesture, rooted in the simplicity and universality of a heart, serves as a powerful reminder of the impact of our actions and the importance of leading with empathy and understanding. Let’s embrace this opportunity to celebrate diversity and inclusion, not just on International Women’s Day but every day. Join us in striking the #inspireinclusion pose this Friday and be a part of a movement that champions equality, unity, and the power of inclusion.

 

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Enhancing Patent Prosecution Efficiency: A Strategic Approach to Examiner Interview Agendas

The path to securing a patent is intricate, with examiner interviews marking a critical juncture where direct dialogue can significantly influence the outcome. In this week’s The Precise Prosecutor, George Howarah leverages his extensive experience in patent law, unveiling a strategic method for preparing examiner interview agendas. This approach not only facilitates effective communication but also navigates the nuances of patent prosecution estoppel.

 

Crafting an Effective Agenda
The agenda for an examiner interview is more than a mere list; it’s a strategic tool that shapes the direction of the discussion. George emphasizes the importance of this document, which also becomes a part of the official record, potentially influencing future legal interpretations.

 

Key Elements of a Successful Agenda
George’s strategy for agenda preparation encompasses several critical steps:

Issue Prioritization: Identifying and ordering relevant issues and rejections according to their significance ensures comprehensive coverage without overwhelming the examiner.

Claim Amendments and Arguments: Proposing claim amendments and providing concise arguments or specification references in the agenda can preemptively address potential objections, setting the stage for a constructive conversation.

Flexibility in Discussion: The order of discussing issues might differ from their listing, allowing for tactical adjustments based on the complexity of issues and the time available.

Preparation of Backup Options: George advocates for the readiness of alternative amendments or arguments, offering flexibility in addressing examiner concerns and enhancing the likelihood of overcoming objections.

Clarity and Organization: A bullet-pointed, well-structured agenda respects the examiner’s limited preparation time, ensuring the discussion focuses on substantive issues rather than navigational confusion.

 

Leveraging the Agenda for Success
The preparation of an examiner interview agenda, as outlined by George, is a meticulous process that requires insight into the legal and procedural nuances of patent prosecution. By emphasizing clarity, strategic issue presentation, and the anticipation of potential objections, patent practitioners can engage more effectively with examiners. This approach not only addresses the immediate challenges of a particular patent application but also fosters a collaborative environment conducive to achieving a favorable resolution.

 

The strategic preparation of examiner interview agendas is pivotal in the patent prosecution process, offering a pathway to clearer communication and more efficient resolution of issues. George’s guidelines provide a blueprint for patent attorneys and agents striving to optimize their engagement with USPTO examiners, enhancing the prospects for patent grant success.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Stella Ennals: A Legacy of Innovation and Independence

As we commemorate the end of Black History Month, it is crucial to celebrate the stories that highlight the intersection of diversity, innovation, and resilience. Stella Ennals, a black female inventor, embodies this convergence through her journey to overcome personal and systemic barriers with her groundbreaking invention. This Driving Diversity blog post aims to shine a light on Stella’s invention, a device designed to empower individuals with disabilities, showcasing her perseverance and the impact of her work on fostering independence.

In Bethesda, Maryland, Stella Ennals embarked on a journey that would not only challenge her physical limitations but also the systemic obstacles that often hinder black female inventors. Her invention, a device enabling those with disabilities to transport their own trays, was born out of a necessity for independence after a personal physical injury left her desiring more autonomy.

Stella’s path to innovation was marked by a relentless pursuit of self-sufficiency and a desire to contribute a solution that would assist others facing similar challenges. Her invention is not just a testament to her engineering ingenuity but also to her deep understanding of the everyday hurdles faced by people with disabilities. By addressing a specific need, Stella’s device offers a broader message of empowerment and inclusion, underscoring the importance of accessibility in all aspects of life.

Reflecting on Stella’s journey, it’s evident that her fortitude and persistence were her greatest assets. Her ability to navigate the patent process and bring her invention to fruition is inspiring, particularly when considering the additional layers of challenge presented by systemic biases. Stella’s story is a powerful reminder of the impact one individual can have on improving the lives of many, driven by the simple yet profound goal of enhancing independence.

Stella Ennals stands as a beacon of innovation, resilience, and independence, her story resonating deeply as we celebrate Black History Month. Her invention transcends its practical application, symbolizing the broader struggles and triumphs of black female inventors against systemic barriers. Stella’s legacy encourages current and future generations to persevere in the face of adversity, innovate for the greater good, and strive for a more inclusive and accessible world for all.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

The Art of Examiner Interviews: A Strategic Approach for Success

In the complex and nuanced world of patent prosecution, examiner interviews stand out as a crucial element in navigating the approval process efficiently. George Howarah shares his invaluable insights on how to leverage examiner interviews to their full potential. This blog post delves into the strategic preparation necessary for conducting successful examiner interviews, highlighting George’s expert perspective.

Understanding the Client’s Goals

The first step in preparing for an examiner interview involves a clear understanding of the client’s objectives. Whether the aim is to expedite claim approval within a reasonable scope or ensure the claims align with a specific product or standard, identifying these goals upfront is critical. This initial clarity guides the strategy throughout the interview process, ensuring that the direction pursued aligns with the client’s expectations.

Analyzing the Prosecution History

A thorough examination of the application’s prosecution history is essential. This involves distinguishing whether the application is original, a continuation, or a divisional. Understanding the nuances between the current claims and those in previous applications helps tailor the approach to the interview. Additionally, recognizing the stage of prosecution is key. An aggressive stance might be more suitable at the beginning, whereas a more conciliatory approach could be beneficial in later stages, aiming for a middle ground that maintains the claims’ integrity.

Evaluating the Examiner’s Position

Assessing the examiner’s posture towards the application and the specifics of any rejections is another critical step. This includes reviewing past interactions for any precedents of overcoming objections and scrutinizing the current office action for potential misunderstandings or oversights by the examiner. Such an evaluation helps in anticipating the examiner’s concerns and preparing a more effective response.

Assessing the Strength of the Rejection

Finally, George emphasizes the importance of analyzing the strength of the rejection. Whether dealing with a 102 (novelty) or a 103 (non-obviousness) rejection, it’s vital to give the examiner the benefit of the doubt while also firmly advocating for the patent’s validity. This may involve deciding on the necessity of claim amendments to navigate around the rejection.

The preparation for an examiner interview is a multifaceted process that requires a deep understanding of the client’s goals, the application’s history, the examiner’s perspective, and the nature of the rejection. George’s approach showcases the importance of meticulous preparation and strategic planning in achieving successful outcomes in patent prosecution. By adopting these strategies, patent practitioners can enhance their effectiveness in examiner interviews, leading to more favorable results for their clients.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Unlocking Genius: Empowering Black Innovators in the World of Patents

In the tapestry of American history, Black innovators have woven a rich legacy of ingenuity and resilience, yet their contributions often remain underrecognized in the annals of patent law. Dr. Charles Richard Drew, a surgeon and medical researcher renowned for pioneering blood plasma storage methods, exemplifies this legacy of innovation. As we delve into his story and the broader narrative of Black excellence, a pressing question emerges: How many potential Einsteins are we overlooking in our Black communities? During Black History Month, it’s imperative to confront the stark underrepresentation of Black professionals in the patent field—a reflection of a wider systemic disparity that limits the realization of Black potential in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The story of Dr. Charles Richard Drew is not just one of historical significance but also a beacon of inspiration, highlighting the transformative impact that individuals from underrepresented backgrounds can have on society. Despite such monumental contributions, the patent field reveals a disheartening disparity: while 14% of Americans identify as Black, a mere 1% of patent holders are African American. This is in stark contrast to the 7% of STEM jobs held by African Americans, underscoring a significant gap between potential and realized opportunities for innovation.

This discrepancy not only dims the prospects of individual Black innovators but also deprives society of diverse perspectives and solutions. Addressing this gap requires a multifaceted approach, focusing on foundational issues such as access to education and resources. Enhancing STEM education, providing mentorship, and ensuring access to necessary resources are critical steps towards empowering Black individuals to invent, patent, and lead in the realm of technology and innovation.

Organizations like Invent Together are leading the charge by creating accessible educational resources, such as the Inventor’s Patent Academy, that aim to demystify the patenting process and make it more inclusive. By leveraging these resources and fostering a supportive community, we can start to bridge the gap for Black innovators.

The underrepresentation of Black professionals in patent law is a glaring issue that requires immediate and sustained action. By addressing systemic barriers and providing targeted support, we can pave the way for a new generation of Black inventors and innovators who will shape the future of technology and society. Let us commit to being part of this transformative journey, recognizing and uplifting the contributions of Black innovators not just during Black History Month, but all year round. As we reflect on the legacy of pioneers like Dr. Charles Richard Drew, let’s ask ourselves how we can contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable patent field, where every potential Einstein has the opportunity to thrive.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Harrity Ascends to 27th on the Top Patent Firms List, Showcasing Unprecedented Growth

Washington, D.C.: Harrity & Harrity, LLP has marked a significant milestone in its journey towards excellence in patent law, securing the 27th spot on the esteemed Top Patent Firms List, an annual ranking of the leading firms obtaining US utility patents each year. This remarkable ascent is not only a testament to the firm’s unwavering dedication to innovation and quality but also highlights the exceptional growth trajectory it has maintained over the past five years in the highly competitive patent legal landscape.

From its 87th rank with 306 patents in 2018 to its current standing, Harrity & Harrity has not only advanced in rank year after year but has also more than quadrupled its patent output. In 2023 alone, the firm outperformed its previous year’s achievement by almost 60%, securing 1458 patents compared to 923 in 2022. This remarkable upward momentum is reflective of Harrity & Harrity’s robust strategic focus and the high-caliber proficiency of its team.

Harrity & Harrity’s progression in the rankings is particularly impressive given its focus on primarily domestic work in the electrical, mechanical, software, and business methods patent spaces— areas that exclude the life sciences spaces and the high volume of foreign-originated work that many of its competitors handle. In fact, when you consider strictly electrical, mechanical, software, and business methods patent work, Harrity jumps to the 19th spot on the Top Patent Firms List. Furthermore, Harrity achieved its 2023 number with a comparably small team of 40 professionals, while the majority of other firms in the Top 30 have well into the hundreds.

This data-driven success narrative exemplifies the firm’s “small firm, big impact” philosophy, illustrating how a concentrated team can deliver exceptional results that rival and even surpass those of much larger firms. Harrity & Harrity’s rise in the rankings is a testament to their strategic problem-solving approach, and a clear indicator that the firm is achieving the seemingly impossible through diligence, innovation, and a commitment to quality.

Harrity & Harrity’s unique story is one of a forward-thinking firm that thrives on real-world applications of advanced patent analytics and automation technologies, setting a new standard for what a specialized patent practice can accomplish.

For more insights into Harrity & Harrity’s remarkable growth and to explore their contributions to the patent field, please contact Samantha Sullivan and we would be happy to set up an interview with one of our partners.

About Harrity & Harrity:

Harrity & Harrity is a forward-thinking patent law firm in the Washington, D.C. area, specializing in electrical and mechanical technologies. Known for its innovative approach to patent law, the firm is committed to increasing diversity in the patent field and to giving back through its various charitable initiatives. For more information, please visit www.harrityllp.com.

The Underrated Key to Patent Prosecution Success: Examiner Interviews

In the realm of patent prosecution, there’s a tool that often goes underutilized, yet holds the potential to significantly streamline the patenting process, ensuring clarity, efficiency, and a stronger patent position. In this week’s Precise Prosecutor vlog, George Howarah brings to light the importance of examiner interviews, a strategy that can pivot the usual course of patent prosecution towards more favorable outcomes.

George points out a common pitfall in patent prosecution where practitioners might lean heavily on written responses to office actions. This method, while traditional, might not always capture the examiner’s perspective accurately, potentially leading to miscommunications, unaddressed rejections, or, in some cases, creating estoppel issues that could weaken the patent’s enforceability.

Examiner interviews stand out as a solution to these challenges. Engaging in a dialogue with the examiner post-office action not only clarifies the examiner’s stance but also opens the door for direct feedback on proposed arguments or amendments. This proactive approach can lead to more precise adjustments, avoiding the back-and-forth that often characterizes patent prosecution.

George advocates for scheduling an examiner interview after every office action, highlighting the benefits he has observed in his practice. These benefits include demonstrating a commitment to the patent application, reducing the time and cost associated with obtaining a patent, and minimizing the risk of prosecution estoppel.

George’s advice to fellow practitioners is clear: leverage examiner interviews as a standard step in your prosecution strategy to foster a more efficient, transparent, and successful patent prosecution process.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Bridging the Gap: Elevating Black Inventors in the Patent System

This February, as we observe Black History Month, we turn our focus to an often-overlooked arena where black excellence continues to fight for recognition and equity: the patent system. The underrepresentation of black inventors is not just a statistical oversight; it’s a reflection of systemic barriers that have persisted for far too long. These barriers not only hinder individual aspirations but also deprive our society of diverse innovations and contributions.

The systemic challenges faced by black inventors in navigating the patent system are multifaceted. From limited access to resources and networks to the financial burdens of patenting, the obstacles are significant. However, the tide is beginning to turn, thanks to the efforts of organizations committed to fostering diversity in innovation.

Invent Together stands out as a beacon of hope, offering free online programs designed to guide first-time patent applicants through the intricate process. By demystifying the patent application process, Invent Together is breaking down one of the significant barriers to entry for underrepresented inventors.

Moreover, educational institutions across the country are beginning to recognize the importance of supporting diversity in innovation. By adopting resources like those offered by Invent Together, universities, colleges, and institutes are laying the groundwork for what we hope will be a new era of inclusivity and diversity in the field of invention and innovation.

The path toward a more inclusive patent system is long and fraught with challenges, but it’s a journey worth embarking on. By supporting initiatives like Invent Together and encouraging educational institutions to play their part, we can begin to dismantle the systemic barriers that have sidelined black inventors for too long.

As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s commit to making a difference, not just this month but every month. The contributions of black inventors, both past and present, deserve recognition and support. By working together, we can ensure that the future of innovation is as diverse as the society it aims to serve.

Visit TIPA’s site to learn more and help us empower the next generation of inventors. Your support can change the course of history.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Harrity Wins ‘Patents Law Firm of the Year in Virginia – 2024′

Harrity & Harrity, LLP and John Harrity Awarded Patents Law Firm & Patents Lawyer of the Year in Virginia – 2024 by Corporate International

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is honored to announce that John Harrity has been named the ‘Patents Lawyer of the Year in Virginia – 2024,’ with the firm winning ‘Patents Law Firm of the Year in Virginia – 2024’ by Corporate International, a prestigious recognition as part of their 17th Global Awards. This award celebrates our commitment to excellence in the patent law field and underscores our dedication to innovation, quality, and diversity in our practices.

The Corporate International Global Awards mark a significant achievement in the legal industry, highlighting firms and individuals who have demonstrated outstanding merit and competence in their respective fields. The selection process is comprehensive, involving nominations from peers, evaluation of our work, consideration of our firm’s rankings, the expertise of our partners and directors, our previous awards and recognitions, network affiliations, reputation in the legal community, contributions to publications, and participation in speaking engagements.

This year’s awards were the most competitive to date, with a record number of nominations received. Being chosen as a winner from such a distinguished pool of nominees not only reflects the high caliber of our team’s expertise but also our consistent ability to exceed the expectations of our clients and peers.

This recognition is a testament to our firm’s unwavering commitment to fostering diversity, driving innovation, and delivering high-quality patent services. It is also a reflection of our dedication to supporting our clients in protecting their intellectual property in the computer, electrical, and mechanical fields.

We thank Corporate International for this honor, to our clients for their trust and collaboration, and to our dedicated team for their hard work and commitment to excellence. This award motivates us to continue our efforts in making significant contributions to the patent field, pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and maintaining our status as a leader in the legal community.

We look forward to continuing to serve our clients with the highest standards of quality and professionalism and to furthering our contributions to the legal field through our innovative practices and dedication to diversity and charity.

Harrity & Harrity, LLP remains committed to improving the patent field and creating a progressive, innovative workplace. We are proud of this recognition and excited about the opportunities it brings to further elevate our firm and the services we provide to our clients around the globe.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is a boutique patent law firm specializing in electrical, mechanical, and computer technologies. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, the firm is committed to fostering an innovative, progressive, and inclusive workplace. With a nationally dispersed remote team of skilled patent attorneys, patent agents, and support staff, Harrity & Harrity is at the forefront of providing high-quality, efficient, and automated patent services.

 

Maximizing Patent Value: A Strategic Approach to Claim Management

In the intricate world of patent filings, understanding how to leverage the structure of your patent application can significantly impact its value. One area that often goes underutilized is the strategic management of claims within an application. As Neil Kardos highlights in this week’s Practical Patents series, a nuanced approach to claim management can not only streamline the patent prosecution process but also ensure clients receive maximum value for their investments.

In the United States, the initial patent application filing fee covers the inclusion of up to 3 independent claims and a total of 20 claims. It’s a common misconception that the quantity of claims within a patent directly correlates with its strength or value. However, the strategic composition and management of these claims can significantly enhance a patent’s effectiveness and its potential to protect innovative technology comprehensively.

During the patent prosecution phase, it’s not uncommon to amend claims to align with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requirements for patentability. This often involves consolidating the concepts of multiple dependent claims into fewer, broader independent claims to facilitate application approval. Yet, this consolidation presents a unique opportunity for strategic claim management.

Neil emphasizes the importance of adding a new dependent claim for every claim that is canceled. This practice ensures that the final patent utilizes the full quota of claims that the filing fee entitles, thus maximizing the patent’s breadth and flexibility without incurring additional costs. It’s a practice that, surprisingly, not all patent practitioners follow, as evidenced by numerous patents issuing with fewer than the allotted 20 claims.

The implications of this strategy extend far beyond mere numerical optimization. Each claim in a patent application can be viewed as a unique tool for protecting different facets of the invention. By ensuring that each patent utilizes its full complement of claims, inventors can secure a more robust and nuanced protection. This not only enhances the patent’s defensive capabilities but also its value in potential licensing discussions or infringement disputes.

Furthermore, this approach demonstrates to clients a meticulous and value-driven management of their intellectual property. In a landscape where every detail counts, the strategic addition and adjustment of claims can significantly differentiate a patent’s quality and its potential for commercial success.

Neil’s insights into claim management offer a valuable perspective for anyone involved in the patent filing process. By understanding the strategic potential of claims adjustment and ensuring that patents utilize their full entitlement, practitioners can deliver enhanced value to their clients, reinforcing the importance of detail-oriented strategies in patent law.

Stay tuned for more insightful tips and tricks from Neil Kardos in our Practical Patents series! Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Elevating Patent Clarity: The Strategic Use of ‘Threshold’ in Patent Drafting

In this edition of the Practical Patents series, we delve into the nuanced use of the term ‘threshold’ in patent language, guided by Neil Kardos. This exploration highlights the importance of precision in patent drafting, a critical skill in the art of protecting intellectual property.

In the meticulous realm of patent drafting, every word counts. The term ‘threshold’ might appear straightforward, yet its application in patents is anything but. Neil explains this with two insightful examples.

1. Achieving Precision Over Vagueness

Clarity is the cornerstone of effective patent drafting. Generic terms like ‘high’ and ‘low’ are laden with ambiguity, often leading to Section 112 rejections. Neil’s advice is to opt for phrases such as ‘satisfies’ or ‘does not satisfy a threshold.’ This method enhances clarity and strengthens the enforceability of the patent.

2. Broadening Patent Scope Through ‘Threshold’

In instances where an inventor provides a specific number or range, the term ‘threshold’ can be used to expand the invention’s scope. By defining these figures as examples of satisfying a ‘threshold,’ a patent can encompass a broader range of applications, enhancing its protective coverage.

Neil emphasizes caution in using ‘threshold.’ He advises against framing claims based solely on a value being ‘greater than’ or ‘less than’ a threshold. Such language can inadvertently open doors for competitive workarounds.

Instead, Neil recommends a more comprehensive approach: asserting that a value ‘satisfies the threshold’ or ‘satisfies a condition.’ This strategy, when combined with a detailed specification, provides a stronger, more defensible patent.

As we conclude this discussion, we’re reminded of the critical role precise language plays in patent law. Neil’s insights into the use of ‘threshold’ underscore the importance of thoughtful and strategic patent drafting.

Stay tuned for more insightful tips and tricks from Neil in our Practical Patents series! Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Enhancing Patent Drafting: The Essential Role of Claim-Figure Mapping

Welcome back to another edition of the Practical Patents series. This week Neil Kardos brings his seasoned perspective to an often-overlooked yet pivotal aspect of drafting: the strategic alignment of claims with figures in patent applications.

Neil emphasizes the importance of creating a mapping between the figures and claims in a patent application. This step, often overlooked, is crucial in ensuring a coherent and comprehensive patent specification. By mapping each figure to the claims they support, patent drafters can establish a clear connection, laying the groundwork for a well-structured specification.

The beauty of this approach lies in its simplicity and efficacy. When you start working on your figures, Neil advises, make it a point to identify which claims each figure relates to. This mapping acts as a guide, ensuring every claim has a corresponding figure where it can be effectively described. If you find a claim that doesn’t neatly align with any of the figures, it’s a clear sign that you need to either introduce a new figure or revise an existing one.

This proactive strategy offers two significant benefits. Firstly, it eliminates the risk of ending up with unsupported claims in your patent application – a common pitfall that can lead to lengthy revisions or, worse, a weakened patent. Secondly, it serves as a remedy for writer’s block. Knowing exactly what to write for each figure can streamline the drafting process, making it more efficient and less daunting.

Neil warns of the pitfalls of neglecting this step. Without pre-mapping your claims to figures, you might find yourself with a draft specification and unsupported claims. At this juncture, the options are limited and unappealing: either retrofit your figures (and consequently, the specification) to accommodate the orphaned claims or force them into sections where they don’t quite belong. Both scenarios lead to a disjointed and potentially weaker patent application.

In summary, Neil’s advice is straightforward yet powerful: map your claims to your figures before diving into the specification. This method not only saves time but also ensures that each element of your patent application is well-supported and clearly articulated.

Stay tuned for more insightful tips and tricks from Neil in our Practical Patents series! Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Elevating Patent Application Efficiency: The Case for a Claims-First Approach

Welcome to another installment of the Practical Patents series, where we delve into the art and science of patent drafting. Today, we’re exploring a provocative statement by Neil Kardos, an experienced patent attorney and advocate for strategic patenting: “If you’re not drafting claims, then figures, then the specification in that order, you’re doing it wrong.”

At first glance, this assertion seems to challenge conventional wisdom. Traditionally, many practitioners draft the figures and specifications first, leaving the claims for last. However, Neil’s approach, honed through experimentation and practice, suggests a radical departure from this norm.

Traditionally, the process begins with drafting detailed figures and a comprehensive specification. The rationale? It’s believed that having a clear visual and descriptive foundation paves the way for more precise claims. However, Neil’s experience tells a different story.

Neil discovered that this traditional method often necessitated significant rework. Terminology used in the specification might not align with the nuanced language of claim drafting. Questions arise: should it be “one or more” or “at least one”? “Multiple” or “a plurality”? Furthermore, naming conventions in the specification might not resonate with the intricate requirements of claim language, leading to a laborious cycle of revision and alignment between the claims, figures, and specification.

Advantages of a Claims-First Approach

  1. Clarity in Novelty and Non-Obviousness: Drafting claims first forces a focus on the invention’s novel aspects. It lays bare the innovative heart of the patent, guiding the subsequent detailing in figures and specifications.
  2. Efficiency in Drafting: By starting with claims, Neil found that subsequent steps became more streamlined. The figures and specification could be tailored to support the claims, reducing the need for iterative revisions.
  3. Strategic Focus: This approach ensures that the specification and figures emphasize the invention’s most crucial aspects, enhancing the patent’s overall strength.

Neil’s method turns traditional patent drafting on its head, emphasizing a strategic, claims-first approach. While it may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, it certainly provides food for thought for anyone involved in the patenting process.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Elevating the Craft of Inventor Interviews

Navigating inventor interviews without a robust disclosure document can be a daunting task for even the most experienced patent professionals. In this week’s Practical Patent series, Neil Kardos shares invaluable tips for transforming these challenges into opportunities for deeper understanding and more comprehensive patent applications.

Tip #1: Record the Call

Recording inventor interviews is a game-changer. It allows patent professionals to immerse themselves in the conversation, fully absorbing the inventor’s insights without the distraction of note-taking. This approach ensures no crucial detail is overlooked, capturing the essence of the invention in its entirety.

Tip #2: Use a Structured Question Checklist

Neil emphasizes the importance of a structured approach, beginning with high-level questions to grasp the overall concept before delving into the finer details. This technique not only clarifies the invention’s framework but also reveals its unique aspects and potential improvements.

The Kardos Questionnaire: Your Blueprint for Success

  1. Identifying the Problem: Understanding the specific issue the invention aims to solve sets the stage for assessing its significance and market relevance.
  2. Summarizing the Solution: This helps in evaluating the innovation’s practicality and its effectiveness in addressing the identified problem.
  3. Exploring Existing Solutions: Knowing what’s already out there highlights the invention’s unique selling points and potential competitive advantages.
  4. Comparing the Invention: This comparison sheds light on why and how the new invention stands out in the existing market landscape.
  5. Uncovering Additional Benefits: Often, inventions have secondary advantages that can broaden their appeal and marketability.
  6. Identifying Novelty: Pinpointing the novel aspects of an invention is crucial for determining its patentability.
  7. Assessing Business Value: Understanding which elements of the invention hold the most commercial potential can guide strategic patent drafting.

For process inventions, a step-by-step walkthrough reveals the intricacies of the method, while mechanical inventions benefit from a detailed analysis of component interrelations. Brainstorming sessions about enhancements and alternatives further refine the invention’s scope and applicability.

Neil’s approach culminates with an open-ended query, inviting any additional insights or overlooked aspects, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the invention.

By adopting these strategies, patent professionals can adeptly navigate inventor interviews, laying a solid foundation for robust and defensible patent applications.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

AI Prompts Do Not Compromise Attorney Confidentiality Obligations

In a detailed article on IPWatchdog, Harrity attorney Alexander Zajac provides a nuanced analysis of how the use of large language models (LLMs) aligns with the confidentiality obligations of attorneys. Addressing the concerns of IP attorneys about the remote storage of LLM queries, he compares this to the routine use of web search engines and cloud storage, which also involve sharing queries with third-party servers.

Alex scrutinizes the data retention policies of Google and OpenAI, explaining how they collect and use data, and how users can opt for more privacy. He emphasizes that if standard digital tools like email and cloud storage are trusted for confidential information, then the robust security measures of Google and OpenAI should be equally reliable. He suggests that attorneys can adjust settings on these platforms to enhance privacy, rather than avoiding LLMs altogether.

This thoughtful exploration by Alex sheds light on the intersection of technology and legal ethics, urging the legal community to adapt to technological advancements while maintaining client confidentiality. To delve into the specifics of these policies and comprehensive perspectives on AI as a legal resource, read the full article on IPWatchdog HERE.

Decoding the Patent Puzzle: Key Tips to Crystal-Clear Patent Applications

In the intricate and often bewildering terrain of patent applications, achieving clarity is both an art and a science. This is particularly true for software or process-based inventions, where conveying complex ideas in a comprehensible manner is crucial. Neil Kardos offers his expert advice, sharing pivotal strategies to demystify these often perplexing documents. In this blog post, we’ll delve into two of Neil’s key tips, which promise to bring much-needed lucidity to your patent applications.

Tip #1: The Power of Descriptive Naming

Neil’s first tip revolves around the strategic use of descriptive names for devices in patent applications. This approach goes beyond mere labeling; it’s about creating an intuitive understanding of each device’s role. For example, naming a device that handles user verification as an “Authentication Device” instantly reveals its function. This practice ensures that every mention of the device within the document not only identifies it but also reminds the reader of its purpose, thus maintaining a clear focus on the invention’s core functionalities.

Tip #2: Artful Separation of Function and Form

In his second tip, Neil highlights the importance of distinguishing between what devices do and what they are. He recommends that the narrative in the “Invention Detail Figures” should concentrate on the devices’ roles in the invention’s process. For example, describing a user device transmitting credentials to an authentication device should be about this process, not about the possible physical forms of the user device. The comprehensive description of the devices’ physical forms and variations should be allocated to the “Device Environment Figure.” This methodical separation ensures the patent application remains streamlined and focused, facilitating a smoother reading experience.

By implementing these tips, inventors and patent drafters can significantly enhance the readability and clarity of their patent applications. Neil’s guidance is not just about simplifying content; it’s about structuring it in a way that guides the reader through the invention’s narrative with ease and understanding.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Mastering the Art of Clarity in Patent Applications

The world of patent applications is intricate and demanding. Among the numerous challenges faced by inventors and patent practitioners, one that stands paramount is the art of drafting a clear and engaging patent specification. Neil Kardos offers profound insights into enhancing the readability of patent applications.

The heart of Neil’s advice lies in the organization of the patent specification. The traditional approach of hopping between figures can be disorienting, leading to confusion. Neil advocates for a more linear, structured approach. This entails starting with an introductory paragraph for each figure, detailing its contents thoroughly, and concluding with a summary. Such an approach doesn’t just enhance readability; it builds a narrative, making the invention’s journey through its various stages more comprehensible and compelling.

Neil delves into two scenarios frequently encountered in patent drafting:

  1. Sequential Storytelling with Figures: Often, a series of figures (e.g., Figs. 1a to 1c) is used to unfold the invention step-by-step. Neil suggests employing a single introductory and concluding paragraph for the entire series. This technique ensures a seamless narrative flow, making the progression of the invention easier to follow and understand.
  2. Balancing Overview and Detail: When one figure presents an overarching view (e.g., Fig. 1) and another dives into granular details (e.g., Fig. 2), Neil recommends a delicate balancing act. Mention Fig. 2 while discussing Fig. 1, but save the in-depth discussion for later. This approach keeps the reader anchored in the broader context before delving into specifics, thereby maintaining engagement and understanding.

Neil’s methodology extends beyond mere structural organization. It embraces the art of storytelling within the technical confines of patent law. By treating each figure not just as a visual representation but as a chapter in the story of the invention, the drafter can create a more immersive and understandable narrative. This approach resonates with examiners and potential licensees, making the invention not just a list of technical features but a compelling innovation journey.

In the realm of patents, clarity is not just about compliance; it’s about captivating the reader, be it an examiner, a judge, or a potential investor. By adopting these strategies, patent practitioners can transform their applications from mere technical documents to engaging narratives that effectively communicate the essence of their inventions.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Crafting the Narrative in Patent Applications

In the realm of patent applications, the art of storytelling is often overshadowed by the complexity of technical details. However, Neil Kardos brings a refreshing approach to structuring patent applications, emphasizing not just the technicalities but the story of the invention itself. His method improves readability and enhances the experience for inventors and in-house counsel alike.

1. Setting the Stage with Background
Neil begins by advising the inclusion of a background section. This part introduces the technology behind the invention. Depending on the familiarity and complexity of the technology, this section can vary in length. For well-known concepts, a few sentences suffice, but for more intricate technologies, a detailed exposition might be necessary.

2. Identifying the Technical Problem
Following the background, Neil emphasizes the importance of clearly outlining the technical problem addressed by the invention. This step is crucial as it sets the stage for the solution and helps the reader understand the necessity of the invention.

3. Introducing the Technical Solution
Next, a high-level explanation of the technical solution is presented. This part showcases how the invention solves the identified problem. It’s a strategic move to keep this explanation at a high level, ensuring clarity and engagement.

4. Highlighting the Technical Benefits
Neil suggests elucidating the technical benefits of the invention. This section reinforces the value of the invention and its contribution to the field.

5. Diving into the Details
The fifth part of the structure delves into the specifics of the invention, including various options, alternatives, and detailed benefits. This comprehensive exploration allows for a deeper understanding of the invention’s potential.

6. Standardized Figures and Descriptions
Finally, standardized figures and descriptive language, particularly important for hardware supporting process-based inventions, are placed towards the end of the application. Neil’s rationale for this arrangement is to captivate the reader’s interest with the most significant elements upfront, avoiding boredom or confusion.

Neil’s recommended structure is not just about organizing content; it’s about crafting a narrative that makes patent applications more accessible and engaging. By following this structure, patent professionals can effectively communicate the essence of an invention, making the complex world of patents a bit more approachable and relatable.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Navigating the Maze of Machine Learning Patents: Strategies for Steering Clear of Obviousness

In the ever-evolving domain of machine learning, securing patents for novel inventions is a complex challenge. Neil Kardos shares his expert strategies in this week’s Practical Patents series. His focus is on the intricacies of drafting machine learning patent applications that stand out, avoiding the common trap of obviousness.

Neil stresses the significance of meticulously detailing machine learning patents. Building on the insights shared in last week’s blog post, which highlighted the importance of delineating the inputs to the model, the outputs generated, and the resultant actions, he now introduces three advanced strategies to further distance machine learning models from the risk of being deemed obvious.

Strategy 1: Novel Inputs

Neil’s first strategy centers on the unique choice of inputs in machine learning models. He advocates for leveraging unconventional inputs with significant predictive power to strengthen the non-obviousness of a patent application. For example, he cites the intriguing correlation between an individual’s time spent in a car and their smartphone purchasing preferences as a potential differentiator in a patent application.

Strategy 2: Diverse Outputs and Actions

The second strategy Neil suggests relates to the outputs of the models and the corresponding actions. He points out that beyond the typical binary actions, incorporating a range of responses based on different levels of probability can impart a unique edge to a patent. This could involve varying marketing tactics depending on the predicted likelihood of a customer making a purchase.

Strategy 3: Continual Model Refinement

Neil’s final strategy emphasizes the ongoing improvement and adaptation of machine learning models, especially through feedback mechanisms for re-training. Such adaptive features are often viewed positively by patent examiners and can be crucial in either the independent or dependent claims of a patent application.

Neil offers these strategies as a guide for those seeking to navigate the intricate world of machine learning patents. His insights shed light on effective approaches to elevate machine learning patent applications above the standard threshold of obviousness.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Decoding the Art of Machine Learning Patents

In the dynamic and ever-changing world of machine learning (ML), creating a standout patent application is akin to solving a complex puzzle. It’s a landscape where innovation meets the challenge of differentiation. Neil Kardos offers insightful strategies to navigate this complexity, ensuring your ML patents are not just innovative but distinctively non-obvious.

The crux of patenting ML innovations lies in surpassing the “non-obviousness” threshold. This is where Neil’s expertise becomes invaluable, guiding inventors to develop patents that truly stand apart.

Strategy 1: Capitalizing on Unique Inputs

Neil highlights the significance of the inputs used in ML models. The key is in leveraging unconventional inputs that provide predictive insights. Imagine an ML model predicting consumer behavior based on seemingly unrelated data, like time spent in a car. These unique inputs can dramatically strengthen the non-obviousness of a patent application.

Strategy 2: Leveraging Outputs and Actions

The second strategy delves into the outputs of ML models and the subsequent actions they trigger. Neil suggests focusing on how these outputs, often probabilistic, can dictate varied actions at different confidence levels. This nuanced approach adds a layer of sophistication to your patent, exemplified by a navigation system that adjusts routes based on the ML model’s confidence levels.

Incorporating these strategies into your patent claims is essential. Neil advises that if these innovative approaches are central to your invention, they should be included in independent claims. However, if they are supplementary, consider adding them to dependent claims or the specification. This method ensures robustness during the patent prosecution process, especially against potential prior art challenges.

In the intricate dance of ML patenting, it’s the nuanced details and strategic claim drafting that make all the difference. With Neil’s guidance, your ML inventions can transcend the ordinary, securing a place in the ever-growing patent landscape.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Efficient Patent Application Drafting: Minimizing Rework in Inventor Interviews

In the world of patent application drafting, efficiency is key. Neil Kardos offers valuable insights into making the process more streamlined, especially in handling inventor interviews. A common trap many patent practitioners fall into is the inadvertent engagement in rework, particularly in the way inventor interviews are conducted. Transcribing or listening to the entire recording of these interviews, as it turns out, is a significant time sink.

Recording inventor interviews is useful as a backup, but relying on them extensively for information can lead to inefficiency. Instead, Neil advocates for effective note-taking as the cornerstone of efficiency. This involves preparing questions in advance, written in blue ink, and noting down answers in red during the interview. This method is flexible, working well with both traditional and digital note-taking methods.

In this process, strategic note-taking is key. It’s important to avoid noting down information that is already known or included in the invention disclosure form (IDF). The focus should be on clarifying ambiguities and jotting down new insights. If you fall behind in note-taking, marking the time elapsed in the interview can help you quickly locate the needed section later, should you need to revisit the recording.

Modern technology, such as screen sharing, can further enhance the efficiency of reviewing recordings, allowing for quick navigation to relevant sections. A critical aspect of this process is setting aside time for a post-interview debrief. This could range from determining focus areas for claims to drafting the claims and figures. Neil describes this method as “frontloading,” a highly effective strategy that he discusses in more detail in another presentation.

Neil’s advice highlights subtle but impactful methods for refining workflow in patent application drafting. By adopting these strategies in inventor interviews, patent practitioners can transform a routine task into a significant efficiency booster.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Revolutionizing Patent Applications: The Case for Clarity in Language

In the intricate world of patent law, the clarity of legal documents is not just a nicety but a necessity. Neil Kardos, a vocal advocate for more readable patent applications, recently highlighted an issue that’s often overlooked yet crucial. Patent applications, by their nature, are complex. They are technical documents, intricately detailing how new technologies function. However, Neil points out an additional layer of complexity that stems not from the content but from the style of writing.

Patent professionals are experts in their fields, with rich backgrounds in science, math, and engineering. However, Neil observes that this technical focus often comes at the expense of writing skills. The result? Patent applications that are not just technically dense but also linguistically challenging. Adding to this complexity is the traditional use of legal jargon, or legalese, which can make documents even more daunting.

Neil suggests a simple yet effective change: replacing “said” element with “the” element in patent claims. While this might seem minor, the impact on readability is significant. He draws on a Patently-O article, which indicates that in the 1970s and 1980s, about 90% of patent applications used “said”. Today, this usage has reduced to around 20%. Neil argues that even this is too high. By embracing simpler language, the patent community can make these vital documents more approachable and understandable.

What sets Neil apart is his approach to this issue. He doesn’t just propose a change; he invites a discussion. This open invitation is more than a call for change; it’s a call for a community-wide reflection on how the patent world communicates.

Neil’s advocacy for clearer writing in patent applications goes beyond merely suggesting a change; he fosters a dialogue towards a future where legal documents are not barriers but bridges to understanding. By adopting simpler language, the patent community can ensure that these crucial documents are not only legally sound but also broadly accessible.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

The Art of Precision: Enhancing Patent Illustrations with a Touch of Expertise

Navigating the patent process is akin to crafting a masterpiece—each line, shade, and angle contributes to the final depiction of innovation. In this intricate dance, the initial sketches set the stage. Neil Kardos, like a skilled artist, starts with strokes of inspiration, transforming the abstract into tangible hand-drawn figures.

This is where the journey from concept to concrete begins. It’s a pivotal transformation, facilitated by the adept hands of a Visio specialist at Harrity. With an arsenal of tailored templates and precision stencils, these initial sketches are elevated to the standards of professional patent drawings—often within the span of a day.

For many practitioners, however, such in-house luxuries may be a distant dream. Neil advises those in the wider legal landscape to seek out and foster relationships with professional drafters or specialized firms. Particularly for elaborate mechanical applications, where the minutiae matter, these partnerships can be invaluable.

Neil’s strategic advice extends beyond the logistics of drafting—it’s a philosophy of time management and focus. For the modern attorney, particularly in the world of fixed fees, the importance of honing in on crafting claims and the specification is paramount. Neil shares some of his personal tips to cut down on the drafting drudgery: avoid redrawing components that can be pulled from an IDF or another application—simply annotate “copy from slide 7 of the IDF” as a directive. And when it comes to modifications, why not start with a print-out of an existing drawing and manually add your edits?

At the heart of Neil’s methodology is a balance between efficiency and quality. By delegating the drawing process, attorneys at Harrity & Harrity are empowered to dedicate their expertise to the core elements of patent applications. This not only enhances the firm’s productivity but also upholds the high-quality standard that clients have come to expect.

What inventive methods do you employ in your practice to ensure your patent drawings are the epitome of efficiency and precision? At Harrity & Harrity, we’re committed to learning and sharing insights that propel us all towards excellence in the ever-evolving patent landscape.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Streamlining Inventor Approvals in Patent Drafting

As patent attorneys, one of our principal objectives is to draft applications that not only meet legal standards but also receive the nod of approval from the inventors we represent. It’s a delicate balance of interpreting technical ingenuity and presenting it through the stringent lens of patent law. Join us this week in our Practical Patents series, as Neil Kardos offers seasoned advice on how to navigate this process effectively, ensuring that when inventors review our applications, their most frequent response is an affirming “looks good.”

The process begins with the inventor interview—a critical juncture where the foundation for a robust application is laid. Here, we delve into the nuances of the main embodiment of the invention. Yet, it’s not just about the present innovation; it’s about potential future iterations as well. This is where the art of questioning becomes paramount.

Neil advises that to unlock the full narrative of an invention, one must go beyond the surface. It starts with identifying the novel aspects of the technology at hand. The question “What are some other ways this could be done?” not only helps in outlining potential alternatives but also safeguards against future design-around efforts. By brainstorming these alternatives preemptively and discussing them with inventors, we can stimulate a more dynamic and comprehensive exploration of the invention’s scope.

The inquiry doesn’t stop at what exists; it extends to what could follow. Asking inventors to envision further improvements or next steps in their innovation journey can reveal valuable insights into the invention’s future applications or enhancements. This foresight is crucial in crafting a patent application that is not only relevant today but will stand the test of time.

Lastly, a thorough wrap-up question such as “Is there anything we’ve overlooked?” ensures that all relevant details have been captured. It’s an essential part of the interview that can uncover overlooked aspects, leading to a more complete and robust application.

Setting expectations with the inventor is equally vital. The level of detail and focus in the patent application often correlates with the inventor’s experience with the patent process. For newcomers, it’s beneficial to outline what the patent application will include and why certain aspects will be highlighted over others. This clarifies the document’s focus on novel elements and prepares the inventor for the application’s format and content.

By adhering to these strategies, Neil asserts that patent attorneys can significantly reduce the need for subsequent revisions and increase the likelihood of obtaining that initial “looks good” from inventors. This approach not only streamlines the review process but also fosters a collaborative relationship with the inventor, ultimately leading to higher-quality patent applications.

The key is about understanding the inventor’s vision and ensuring that the patent application accurately and effectively communicates that vision within the legal framework. By incorporating these practices, patent attorneys can enhance their drafting process, resulting in greater satisfaction for both the inventors and the legal professionals tasked with protecting their creations.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Understanding the Sequence: Navigating the Nuances of “First” and “Second” in Patent Claims

In the meticulous practice of patent application drafting, the choice of words can be as crucial as the invention itself. Neil Kardos explores the subtleties of using sequential terms in the latest edition of the Practical Patents Series. Clarity and precision in claim language are the cornerstones of a robust patent application, a principle that Neil emphasizes in his discourse.

The common practice of denoting elements or steps as “first” and “second” serves a fundamental role in distinguishing components within patent claims. However, Neil cautions that these seemingly straightforward terms can be a double-edged sword. He presents a scenario that many practitioners encounter: defining a sequence within an invention. The term “first” might intuitively imply the beginning of a sequence, but as Neil elucidates, its interpretation in patent law can be broader.

Neil urges that when the order is pivotal to an invention’s functionality, the terms “first” and “second” should be used with discernment. For instance, if the intention is to specify the very start of a sequence, more explicit language might be warranted, such as “an initial time period” or “the earliest-occurring time period.” These alternatives leave no room for ambiguity and ensure that the claims are understood as intended.

In his practical guidance, Neil also highlights the importance of aligning the specification and drawings with the claims. This harmony across the patent application is vital for delineating the exact meaning of sequence terms, especially when dealing with inventions where timing is key.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Navigating Patent Prosecution: Understanding Your Examiner for Better Outcomes

In the world of patent prosecution, understanding the intricacies of the process can be the key to success. Neil Kardos shares some invaluable insights into how to achieve better outcomes during patent prosecution. With a background as a former patent examiner at the USPTO, Neil brings a unique perspective that can significantly impact your patent application journey.

Neil’s journey from a patent examiner to his current role at Harrity has given him a unique perspective on the patent world, and he’s here to shed light on a crucial aspect of the process – working effectively with examiners.

When Neil embarked on his career as a patent examiner, he encountered the familiar hesitation that often plagues newcomers in the field when it comes to allowing patent applications. This sentiment was widespread among his peers, and the challenges were amplified by his assignment to a business methods art unit. Neil’s early experiences reflect the reality of the patent landscape, as his examiner score in PatentPrufer started at a modest 56 out of 100.

Experience Breeds Confidence

Time and experience proved to be Neil’s greatest allies. With the accumulation of years spent in patent examination, he gradually became more comfortable with granting patents and, equally crucial, collaborating effectively with applicants to fine-tune claims for a higher likelihood of success. Neil’s journey underlines a universal truth in patent prosecution: grasping the unique dynamics of your assigned examiner is a cornerstone of success.

In the world of patent examination, each examiner brings their distinct perspective, expertise, and approach to the table. Acknowledging and embracing this individuality is pivotal in navigating the intricacies of patent prosecution. At Harrity & Harrity, we recognize this fundamental truth.

Harnessing the Power of Examiner Analytics

Within our firm, we harness the potential of examiner analytics to make well-informed decisions during the prosecution process. A critical judgment involves evaluating whether to request the presence of a primary examiner during inventor interviews. This decision hinges on the experience level of the examiner assigned to your application.

Moreover, you have the opportunity to request a specific primary examiner based on their performance score. This score offers a rough indication of their likelihood to allow your patent application. It’s a strategic move that can significantly impact your prosecution strategy.

In closing, Neil’s remarkable journey underscores a profound truth: the art of patent prosecution is as diverse as the examiners themselves. By delving into the intricacies of each examiner’s approach and leveraging the power of examiner analytics, you hold the key to unlocking a world of possibilities in the ever-evolving landscape of patents. As you embark on your own patent prosecution journey, remember that knowledge truly is power, and harnessing it can lead to transformative success.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Providing Context in Patent Applications: A Strategic Approach to Storytelling and Claiming

Patent professionals understand that the choice of language in patent applications can have far-reaching implications. This week, Neil Kardos explains how one such term fraught with peril is “background.” The concerns around this terminology are twofold:

  1. Admitted Prior Art: Any information presented in a section labeled as “background” may be considered as admitted prior art, which can negatively influence the patent examination process.
  2. Obviousness Rejection: Describing the problem solved by the invention under “background” could provide the examiner with a basis to argue that the solution is obvious, thereby facilitating an obviousness rejection.

Alternatives to ‘Background’

So, how can one maneuver around these pitfalls? Neil explains that there are two strategies that can be employed:

Omission or Renaming

The first strategy is to either omit a section explicitly called “background” or to rename it to something like “Introduction” or “Technical Field.” By doing so, you reduce the risk of the examiner interpreting this section as an admission of prior art.

Contextual Placement

The second strategy involves placing the context or “background” information within the “Detailed Description” section. Here, you can set the stage for understanding the technical problem without overtly admitting it as prior art.

Tailoring Context to the Nature of the Invention

Different types of inventions require different levels of contextual detail:

  • Technical Standards-Related Inventions: For an invention that closely aligns with technical standards, it’s crucial to clarify any standard-specific terminology. Failure to do so could lead to an examiner or court misconstruing your patent claims.
  • Consumer-Friendly Inventions: For inventions that are easier to comprehend, such as extending a phone’s battery life, a shorter, less technical explanation would suffice.

Addressing Section 101 Rejections

For inventions that stand a high chance of facing Section 101 rejections, it’s beneficial to frame the invention as a technical solution to a technical problem. This could make it easier to argue against any 101-based rejections.

In conclusion, Neil explains that choosing the right language and placing it appropriately can make a significant difference in the outcome of a patent application. By considering the nature of your invention and the potential pitfalls surrounding the term “background,” you can craft a more compelling and robust patent application. This strategic approach not only improves the chances of success at the patent office but also sets a strong foundation for any subsequent legal evaluations.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Rocky Berndsen Recognized as World Leading IP Strategist in 2023 IAM Strategy 300 List

Harrity & Harrity is pleased to announce that our Head of Analytics, Rocky Berndsen, has been honored by IAM as a 2023 World Leading IP Strategist. This prestigious award serves to recognize individuals who are at the forefront of developing and executing strategies that maximize the value of intellectual property portfolios.

As stated by IAM-Media.com, the selection process for this accolade is rigorous and involves confidential online nominations. The comprehensive research methodology includes face-to-face and telephone interviews, as well as email exchanges with senior figures in the global IP community.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that Rocky has earned a spot on the IAM Strategy 300 List, underscoring his consistent excellence and leadership in the field.

“Proud and humbled to be named among the top IP strategists in the world by IAM Strategy 300. It’s a testament to my team’s relentless pursuit of innovation and excellence in the IP world. Grateful for the opportunity to contribute to such a dynamic field!” he shared.

Rocky Berndsen leads the analytics group at Harrity & Harrity, specializing in delivering data analytics services to corporate clients. These services are designed to provide valuable insights and intelligence regarding not only the clients’ own patent portfolios but also those of their competitors, their external legal teams, and the patent industry at large.

The Power of Checklists in Patent Application Drafting

When it comes to the intricate process of drafting patent applications, even seasoned professionals can find themselves submerged in a maze of technicalities, client-specific requirements, and meticulous details. Neil Kardos highlights a simple yet effective strategy for navigating this complex terrain: the use of a checklist. This blog post delves into how a well-crafted checklist can not only improve the quality of your patent applications but also bring a new level of efficiency to your work.

The Quality Factor: More Than Just a Safety Net

First and foremost, let’s talk about quality. It may seem like a given, but when you’re working on something as complex as a patent application, it’s surprisingly easy to forget the basics. Running a spell check or utilizing patent proofreading tools might seem rudimentary, but these are the steps that ensure the polished finish of a professional application. Here, a checklist acts as more than just a safety net; it becomes an essential quality control measure. By ticking off these checks as you go, you make sure that no minor or major step gets overlooked, thereby elevating the quality of your entire application.

Navigating Client Preferences: A Customized Approach

In a professional landscape where one size rarely fits all, it’s imperative to cater to the unique needs of each client. Whether it’s about the sequence in which they want to review the application—be it claims, figures, or the entire draft—or the mode by which they prefer to receive submissions, client preferences can vary widely. This is where a customized checklist shines. Not only does it serve as a reminder of the individual needs of each client, but it also acts as a flexible tool that can be adapted to different processes, ensuring you hit the mark every time.

Drafting: An Art and a Science

When it comes to the art and science of drafting a patent application, most of us don’t approach it in a linear fashion. Neil, for instance, prefers to start with the context for the invention and the details of the invention itself. This initial focus allows him to fine-tune the claims, which are the backbone of any patent application. Once the claims are set, he then circles back to complete the summary, flow chart descriptions, and other interconnected sections. Here, the checklist serves as a tactical guide, ensuring that not only do all these pieces get the attention they deserve, but they also follow an optimized sequence for maximum efficiency.

At its core, a checklist is more than just a list of tasks; it’s a strategic tool that enables better planning, higher quality, and efficient execution in the patent application drafting process. Neil recommends creating master checklists that can be customized according to the diverse needs of each client. This approach not only fosters quality and efficiency but also brings a newfound level of clarity to your drafting process.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

The Art of Word Selection in Patent Application Drafting

Drafting a patent application is an art form that requires meticulous attention to detail, especially when it comes to language use. Neil Kardos accentuates this point by highlighting the potential pitfalls of using terms like “first” and “second” in patent claims. Such terms, while seemingly straightforward, can introduce ambiguity that may have far-reaching legal implications.

Neil presents a compelling example to illustrate the complexities involved. Imagine a claim that involves multiple signals, say a “first signal” that generates a “second signal.” If additional claims reference other signals, labeling them as “third,” “fourth,” etc., could create significant confusion. This is not just a theoretical concern; such ambiguity could actually compromise the enforceability or scope of the patent claim.

Strategic Approaches to Resolve the Issue

  1. Specific Labeling: One way to avoid confusion is to adopt specific labels for these signals. However, care must be taken to ensure these labels do not unintentionally limit the claim’s scope.
  2. Dependent Claim Labeling: Another approach Neil recommends is to only use “first” and “second” in the independent claim. This allows for the use of distinct labels for signals in dependent claims, minimizing the risk of confusion.

Considerations for Long-term Strategy

As patent attorneys, agents, and support staff, it’s crucial for us to think beyond the immediate challenges of patent drafting. For instance, how can we adopt an analytics-driven approach to identify common pitfalls in patent application drafting? How could automation aid in standardizing terminology and reducing errors?

Neil’s advice is not just a set of drafting tips but also a call for critical thinking in the patent field. His insights remind us that every word in a patent application carries weight and could have long-term consequences for innovation in the computer, electrical, and mechanical fields. As we continue our pursuit of innovation and quality in patent law, taking heed of such expert advice is indispensable.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Mastering the Art of the Inventor Interview: Ensuring Confidence While Asking the Right Questions

Greetings fellow patent enthusiasts! An inventor interview is not just an information-gathering session; it’s an opportunity to build rapport and trust between the inventor and the patent professional. Join us this week as Neil Kardos explains how the nuances of these interactions can significantly impact the inventor’s confidence in your capabilities to represent their interests adequately.

Pre-Interview Research: A Non-Negotiable Step

Before the interview, always take the time to research any unfamiliar concepts in the inventor’s documentation. This not only prepares you for the discussion but also avoids asking questions that could potentially undermine the inventor’s confidence in your expertise. A simple web search for unknown terms or concepts is often enough to provide the necessary context.

Tackling the Unknown: Phrasing is Key

There will inevitably be times when prior research doesn’t yield clear explanations for certain terms or technologies. In such instances, how you pose your questions can make all the difference. Here are some strategies:

1. Acknowledge Your Effort

Example: “I searched the web for XYZ, but I couldn’t find a really good explanation. Can you explain it to me?” This approach shows that you have made an effort to understand but have hit a roadblock, inviting the inventor to fill in the gaps.

2. Draw Parallels with Familiar Concepts

Example: “I’m familiar with how ABC works, but I don’t understand XYZ. Can you explain it to me?” This method acknowledges your expertise in related areas and humbly asks for clarification on the specific topic at hand.

3. Navigate Company-Specific Jargon

Example: “I saw that you’ve used the term XYZ in your documentation, and I couldn’t find a good explanation of what that is. Can you explain that to me, or is there another term for this that I could look up?” When dealing with internal jargon, this approach shows that you are proactive and willing to learn.

The inventor interview is a crucial aspect of patent law practice, requiring a blend of expertise, humility, and strategic questioning. A well-prepared and conscientiously executed interview not only yields the information necessary for drafting a robust patent application but also establishes a positive working relationship with the inventor.

So the next time you’re preparing for an inventor interview, remember these tips. A little preparation and strategic questioning can go a long way in ensuring a productive and confidence-inspiring conversation. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

A Strategic Approach to Preparing Patent Claims for Multiple Jurisdictions

Welcome back, fellow patent enthusiasts! In the dynamic world of patents, one size does not fit all, especially when considering international filings. As a seasoned patent professional, Neil Kardos delves into strategic tips tailored to the unique requirements of several major jurisdictions.

1. Understanding U.S. Application Trends: For U.S. applications, it’s customary to file with 3 independent claims and 20 total claims, maximizing the filing fee benefit without incurring additional charges for excess claims. As an illustration from software patent applications, Neil frequently files:

  • 7 method claims
  • 7 device claims
  • 6 computer-readable medium claims

2. European Patent Office (EPO) Strategies: The EPO permits 15 claims without additional fees. A savvy approach Neil adopts is leveraging method claims to craft a nuanced computer-readable medium claim. This involves:

  • Using the 7 method and 7 device claims from the U.S. application.
  • Adding a unique 15th claim: “A computer program product that, when executed by a processor, causes the processor to perform the method of any of claims 1 to 7.”

Further, utilizing multiple dependent claims, which the EPO allows, can be beneficial.

3. Navigating Claim Filings in China and India: Both China and India allow a filing of up to 10 claims without surplus fees. Given that each additional claim costs under $25, Neil suggests submitting between 10 to 20 claims from the U.S. application. Filing all 20 claims in these jurisdictions would cost approximately $250, a stark contrast to the EPO’s fee structure.

4. The Canadian Perspective: Canada presents a unique scenario, as there aren’t excess claim fees. Neil’s strategy here often involves deferring examination until the entire U.S. patent family (inclusive of parent applications and continuations) is finalized. Subsequently, a Patent Prosecution Highway request is filed with an amendment encompassing all claims from the sanctioned U.S. applications.


In conclusion, effectively preparing patent claims for international jurisdictions demands both a deep understanding of regional nuances and a strategic mindset. Neil’s insights, as presented, provide a robust foundation for such endeavors.

Thank you for reading, we invite you to share your experiences and tips regarding claim preparation in these or other jurisdictions. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Paul Harrity Featured in Washington Lawyer Magazine

In a recent feature by the Washington Lawyer Magazine, Paul Harrity, Managing Partner at Harrity & Harrity, LLP, shared his experiences and insights on the revolutionary ChatGPT technology.

In the article, Paul and other law firm leaders discuss the power of ChatGPT in boosting efficiency, experimentation with the tool’s capabilities when it comes to legal tasks, the ethical considerations, including the importance of confidentiality, to take into account when using ChatGPT, and the overall industry perspective of incorporating the use of AI into what once was a very traditional practice.

In particular, Paul’s exploration of ChatGPT underscores the potential of AI in revolutionizing the legal field, while also highlighting the need for careful consideration of ethical implications.

You can read the full article HERE.

 

Enhancing Claim Readability for a Competitive Edge

Greetings once again, esteemed patent aficionados! We’re back this week with Neil Kardos’ Practical Patent tips, as he shares a valuable tip that can not only enhance the readability of your patent claims but might also bestow a subtle psychological advantage when liaising with a patent examiner.

In the complex field of patent drafting, clarity and precision are paramount. Neil shares a valuable insight into refining the presentation of patent claims. The objective? To make them more reader-friendly and potentially create a positive impression on patent examiners.

Typically, claims are drafted using sizable blocks of text for each step or component. These blocks are neatly separated by semicolons and start on fresh lines with an indent. But what happens when a single step or component spans over four lines or more?

Neil suggests, “If you encounter a step comprising two lines, followed by a ‘wherein’ clause also spanning two lines, it can be cumbersome for readers. Instead of presenting it as a continuous four-line chunk, break it up.” He recommends placing a comma at the end of the first two lines, then initiating the ‘wherein’ clause on a new indented line. This technique breaks the invention down into bite-sized, easily digestible segments.

Possible Psychological Advantage with Examiners

Another potential upside to this approach is its optical effect. The same word count, when spaced out, consumes more lines on paper, possibly giving the impression of a more detailed claim. Kardos, drawing from his experience as a former examiner, expresses skepticism about the weightage of this theory. He says, “In my examiner days, I was mostly hunting for the claimed invention, irrespective of its presentation.” However, if an examiner vacillates about an allowance, and this presentation nudges them towards granting it, then the strategy surely holds merit.

Enhanced Readability Equals Improved Quality

Neil emphasizes that the chief advantage of this technique lies in its improved readability. An easily comprehensible claim not only facilitates the examiner’s job but also ensures that reviewers and inventors can accurately gauge if the invention has been captured aptly.

He concludes, “In the intricate realm of patents, clarity is a boon. By adopting this simple strategy, patent attorneys can significantly enhance the quality and perception of their claims. I genuinely hope practitioners find this tip beneficial.”

Thank you for reading, and we invite you to explore more insights and strategies in the patent field on our Practical Patents blog series. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Honing Business Methods Patent Applications: A Shift Towards Technicality

Welcome back, fellow patent enthusiasts! We’re back this week with Neil Kardos’ Practical Patent tips, as he draws on his experience as a former business methods patent examiner and his extensive work in the field, to offer strategic insights for navigating the complex terrain of business methods patent applications. Neil emphasizes the imperative of transitioning the focus from primarily business methods to technical aspects.

Understanding the Shift

Business methods often grapple with a common conundrum: they are inherently business-centric, which makes them particularly susceptible to invalidity challenges. The magic lies in reframing the invention’s narrative. Neil’s approach hinges on the following:

  • Engaging in Inventor Conversations: Start by discerning the technical elements during initial discussions with inventors. This sets the groundwork for refocusing the application.
  • Identifying Key Technical Aspects: Using an example of a system harnessing transaction data to inform users about sales in nearby stores, Kardos underscores the value of delving into the ‘how’ of the invention. This includes understanding:
    1. The mechanisms behind determining a user’s shopping preferences.
    2. The methodologies for identifying stores with ongoing sales.
    3. The intricacies of location-based messaging.

By interrogating these technical dimensions, the narrative can shift away from targeted advertising to spotlight the innovation’s technical prowess.

Deep Dive into Technicality

To reimagine a business methods patent application with a technical lens, consider the following questions:

  1. Data Processing & Analysis: How is the user data processed? Are there any transformative elements involved? Does the system employ machine learning techniques?
  2. Sales Data Acquisition: Does the system utilize web scraping? Is there an element of natural language processing involved? How are emails analyzed for sales information?
  3. Messaging Mechanism: How is location-based messaging achieved? How does the system discern store locations? What decision-making algorithms are in place for timely and relevant messaging?

Addressing these inquiries aids in capturing the essence of the invention’s technical novelty, presenting it in a light more favorable for patent allowance.

Conclusion

The patent application domain is rife with challenges, especially for business methods. However, with a tactful shift towards highlighting technical components, these hurdles can be effectively navigated. Neil Kardos’s expertise and willingness to share knowledge offer a beacon of hope for those navigating this intricate field.

Thank you for reading, and we invite you to explore more insights and strategies in the patent field on our Practical Patents blog series. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Paul Harrity and Elaine Spector Named 2023 Patent Stars in MIP’s IP Stars Rankings

Harrity & Harrity is pleased to announce that Paul Harrity & Elaine Spector were recently selected by Managing IP, the leading specialist guide to IP law firms and practitioners worldwide, as 2023 Patent Stars.

The annual “IP Stars” list recognizes leading lawyers and law firms for intellectual property work in more than 125 jurisdictions.

Paul is Harrity’s Managing Partner. 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.

Elaine is a Partner at Harrity and has over 20 years of experience in intellectual property law. Her current practice consists primarily of prosecuting patent applications with a focus on electromechanical technologies. Prior to joining Harrity & Harrity, Elaine worked in private practice for over 15 years handling various intellectual property matters, including patent application drafting and prosecution, trademark prosecution and enforcement, as well as litigating complex patent cases in federal courts. Elaine’s extensive litigation experience provides her with a unique perspective in prosecuting patent applications.

 

Crafting Single-Party Infringement Claims: A Strategic Approach

Hello there, fellow patent enthusiasts! We’re back this week with Neil Kardos’ Practical Patent tips, as he explains how drafting claims capable of being infringed by a single party (as opposed to multi-party infringement) enhances the enforceability of your patent rights. Neil shares a pattern that he has found immensely useful in drafting such claims, particularly for process-based inventions. The pattern revolves around three key steps: Reception, Determination, and Transmission.

1. Identify the Inventive Device: “Where is this Invention Happening?”

When working with a process-based invention, it is essential to pinpoint the inventive device. This could be a server on the back end, a client device on the front end, or a router. Understanding the core hardware is the foundation for creating robust and clear claims.

2. Determine the Trigger: “What Triggers the Inventive Device to Perform the Invention?”

The inventive process often begins with a reception or “receive” step. Knowing what triggers the inventive device allows you to craft the initial steps of your claim more accurately.

3. The Novelty Lies in Determination: “What Does the Inventive Device Do With the Information?”

This stage often includes one or more “determine” steps and usually houses the novel aspects of the invention. The language here might vary, but focusing on what the inventive device does with the received information is pivotal.

4. Conclude with Transmission: “What’s the Result?”

Often, the inventive process concludes with a “transmit” step. Identifying what the inventive device does with the determination helps in framing the claim in a manner that aligns with single-party infringement.

Neil Kardos’ pattern of (1) Reception, (2) Determination, and (3) Transmission serves as an efficient framework for drafting patent applications for process-based inventions. While not universally applicable, it offers a cohesive approach to ensure claims are infringeable by a single device, and hence, a single party that controls that device.

Understanding the nature of the inventive device, the sequence of steps involved in the invention, and the novelty can streamline the claim-drafting process. This methodology not only simplifies the legal proceedings for clients but fosters innovation by providing a clear pathway to protect new inventions.

Thank you for reading, and we invite you to explore more insights and strategies in the patent field on our Practical Patents blog. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Handling Different Types of Invention Disclosure Forms (IDFs): A Practical Guide with Neil Kardos

Greetings, fellow patent enthusiasts! We’re back this week with Neil Kardos as he shares invaluable insights into handling different types of IDFs in preparation for inventor interviews.

Understanding the “Good IDF”

According to Neil, IDFs commonly fall into three categories: the “good IDF,” the “sparse IDF,” and the “huge IDF.” In this particular discussion, he zeroes in on the “good IDF,” which many practitioners would consider the dream scenario.

With a “good IDF”, you find that the materials clearly elucidate the workings of the invention. You read through them, and you have a lucid grasp of the concept. There might be minor details that elude you, but for the most part, you understand it.

But here lies the pitfall.

The Trap of the “Good IDF”

If you’re operating in a fixed-fee world, it may be tempting to expedite the inventor interview. Neil narrates a familiar sentiment: “Thank you so much inventor. The materials you shared are fantastic, and I understand your invention. I just have two quick questions, and then we can both be on our way.”

This approach, Neil warns, is a grave mistake for two reasons:

  1. The Human Connection: You might perceive yourself to be in the patent business, but, as Neil underscores, you’re really in the people business. This interview might be the inventor’s only chance to thoroughly articulate their invention to someone. Rushing through the process might lead the inventor to think that you’re not giving their project the attention it deserves.
  2. Missing Out on Insights: Without delving into the invention, you may overlook misunderstandings or additional features the inventor wants to emphasize. Moreover, rushing the interview may rob you of the opportunity to brainstorm on the call, possibly missing key aspects that could enhance the patent’s value.

Conclusion: Embrace the Process

Neil’s parting wisdom is this: don’t succumb to the allure of the “good IDF” by thinking that you can bypass the inventor interview. You might save some time, but the loss in understanding and human connection will cost you in the long run.

His advice is not merely about patent law but transcends into the realm of human relations and communication. Thanks for watching, and we hope this guidance from Neil helps those venturing into the complex and nuanced world of IDFs. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Essential Tips for Conducting Inventor Interviews with Minimal Documentation

Greetings, fellow patent enthusiasts! We’re back this week with valuable insight from Neil Kardos as he unveils a strategic approach for acquiring comprehensive information about an invention when faced with limited initial documentation. In scenarios where only the title of the invention or a few descriptive sentences are available, this guide can be instrumental.

Understanding the Challenge

Sometimes, patent professionals receive scant details about an invention before an inventor interview. Reaching out to inventors for more information might be an option, but not always feasible. In such a scenario, Neil has perfected an approach that’s applicable to virtually any technology.

A Generic Outline of Questions

Years ago, Neil created a generic outline of questions, adaptable to different technological contexts. When dealing with a sparse disclosure document, this outline can be supplemented with specific inquiries about the invention.

High-Level Orientation

The outline begins with broad questions to set the context:

  1. What is the background and context for this invention?
  2. What is the problem being addressed?
  3. What are the advantages of this invention over alternatives?
  4. What are the novel elements of the invention?
  5. How does the invention align with business strategy?

Detail-Oriented Approach

After establishing the context, Neil delves into the intricacies. His inquiry typically focuses on two general questions:

  1. How does the invention function step by step? This question seeks to uncover the mechanisms, alternatives, and possibly the independent claims and flowcharts of the patent application.
  2. In what environment does the invention operate? This inquiry aims to identify crucial devices or components that elucidate how the invention functions.

Practical Recommendations

Drawing from his extensive experience, Neil recommends patent professionals to compile their list of questions or adapt his outline to individual needs. Being prepared with these questions ensures that even with minimal information, one can glean everything necessary about the invention during the inventor interview.

In conclusion, navigating an inventor interview with limited information need not be a daunting task. By following Neil’s structured approach, patent professionals can master the art of extracting vital information about an invention. His advice stands as a testament to effective preparation, innovation, and adaptability within the patent field, helping to ensure clarity and thoroughness in each patent application.

Thank you for reading! We hope these tips help you improve your patent drafting skills. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Efficiently Handling Overwhelming Amounts of Invention Disclosure Materials

Greetings, fellow patent enthusiasts! We’re back this week with valuable insight from Neil Kardos on dealing with a common challenge faced by patent practitioners: receiving an overwhelming amount of invention disclosure materials prior to a call with inventors. While most patent professionals might be familiar with handling situations where there is too little material, Neil sheds light on what to do when faced with an abundance of information that can potentially consume an entire day of review.

Navigating the Flood of Invention Disclosure Materials: When confronted with a plethora of materials, Neil advises that the first step is to skim through the documents to get an overall sense of the content. The main objective at this stage is to identify technical information and elements that appear new and innovative. Making a note of the slides or pages that contain interesting technical content is crucial to preparing efficiently for the inventor call.

Framing the Conversation: Once Neil has an idea about the potential new features, he supplements his regular outline of questions for inventor interviews with inquiries specifically related to those features. This tailored approach allows him to focus the conversation on the most relevant and critical aspects of the invention. During the inventor call, he also sets the tone by addressing the abundance of materials and enlists the inventors’ help in identifying content that is pertinent to the patent application, particularly focusing on the novel technical aspects.

Efficiently Capturing the Invention: By framing the conversation around the key features and focusing on what’s new and innovative, Neil ensures that the conversation is purposeful and streamlined. This approach enables him to efficiently capture and flesh out the details of the invention without being bogged down by unrelated or extraneous material.

Confirmation and Adaptation: During the call, if the inventor verifies Neil’s assumptions regarding the new features, he proceeds with his supplemented outline of questions to delve deeper into the invention’s specifics. Additionally, he makes sure to address the slides or pages that he earlier identified as important. However, if his initial assumptions were incorrect, Neil seamlessly transitions back to his original outline of questions to gain a comprehensive understanding of the invention.

In conclusion, handling an overwhelming amount of invention disclosure materials can be daunting, but using Neil’s practical approach provides valuable guidance for patent practitioners facing this challenge. By quickly skimming through the materials, focusing on the new and interesting technical aspects, and seeking the inventor’s input, one can efficiently navigate through the flood of information and conduct a productive and insightful inventor call. This not only saves valuable time and effort but also ensures that the patent application process is effective and aligned with the invention’s core features.

Thank you for reading! We hope these tips help you improve your patent drafting skills. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Boosting Patent Application Drafting Efficiency and Quality

Greetings, fellow patent enthusiasts! Today, we’re excited to share an invaluable tip from Neil Kardos on how to improve the efficiency and quality of your patent application drafting. We’ll delve into the benefits of this approach and explore how it can streamline the patent application process.

When it comes to patent drafting, timing is everything. One of the most significant time-saving strategies Neil employs is to draft claims and figures promptly after conducting an inventor interview. By capturing the essence of the invention while it’s fresh in his mind, he achieves remarkable results.

Here’s how he does it: After scheduling an inventor interview, Neil blocks off a few hours afterward to work on claims and figures. By setting aside a dedicated block of time immediately after the call, you can capitalize on the freshness of the invention in your mind, ensuring top-notch claims and figures. Ideally, he aims to draft the complete set of claims and figures right after the call. In certain cases where he’s deeply familiar with the technology, and the inventors are savvy, he may even prepare an independent claim before the call and get real-time feedback from the inventors—an incredibly beneficial practice.

In the real world, though, urgent tasks can sometimes intervene. Neil has a savvy solution for this too. At the very least, he outlines an independent claim and explores some dependent claim ideas before attending to other pressing matters. This keeps the momentum going and avoids the common pitfall of relearning the invention from scratch later on.

Neil’s method is a game-changer, providing a structured and streamlined approach to patent application drafting. With this technique, you’ll not only increase efficiency but also enhance the overall quality of your work.

Thank you for reading! We hope these tips help you improve your patent drafting skills. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting! ????????

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Improving Patent Application Readability and Avoiding Misinterpretation

Greetings, patent enthusiasts! In this latest blog post, Neil Kardos sharessome valuable tips for enhancing the readability of your patent applications and avoiding potential misinterpretations that could arise due to wordy writing.

As patent lawyers, we often find ourselves delving into complex technical details and intricate legal concepts, which can lead to a natural tendency to be wordy in our writing. However, it’s crucial to remember that great writing is often characterized by its conciseness and clarity. Therefore, we urge you to embrace brevity when drafting your patent applications.

One common issue Neil encountered while reviewing a patent application the other day was the excessive use of the phrase “in order to” instead of simply “to.” It might seem like a minor difference, but it can significantly impact the clarity of your patent application. In fact, Neil firmly believes that you can replace the phrase “in order to” with the word “to” in 100% of cases without losing any meaning.

Let’s take a look at an example to understand the significance of this change:

“The system may process multiple events… In order to save time.”

On the surface, this sentence may appear harmless, and most of us would interpret it as the system processing events to save time. However, if we reevaluate the phrasing, another interpretation becomes possible:

“The system may process multiple events in order… To save time.”

Here, the meaning slightly changes, leaving room for ambiguity. Are the events processed to save time? Or are they processed in a specific order that ultimately saves time? Such ambiguities can introduce uncertainties in your patent application and potentially lead to challenges during the examination process.

To uphold the clarity and precision of your patent application, it’s crucial to be succinct in your writing. As they say in the movie Ocean’s 11, “Don’t use seven words when four will do.” By trimming unnecessary phrases and being concise, you can convey your ideas more effectively and minimize the chances of misinterpretation.

In conclusion, it is strongly recommended to adopt a succinct writing style for your patent applications. Not only will this improve the readability for patent examiners and other stakeholders, but it will also reduce the risk of ambiguity and potential challenges during the examination process.

We hope these tips help you improve your patent drafting skills. Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series.

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Navigating the Pitfalls of “At Least One” in Patent Claims

Greetings, patent enthusiasts! In this latest blog post, Neil Kardos shares some valuable tips on how to avoid common mistakes in patent applications.

When it comes to drafting patent applications, precision in language is crucial. One common mistake is the misuse of the phrase “at least one of.” In patent applications, it is customary to include this phrase to indicate that certain data or elements can be present in different combinations. However, there is a significant distinction between using the word “and” versus “or” in this context.

Let’s consider an example: “Wherein the data includes at least one of a name, an address, or a phone number.” Notice that the word “or” emphasized. Unfortunately, some patent practitioners use the word “and” instead, which can be a mistake.

To illustrate why using “and” can lead to confusion, let’s use a simple analogy. Imagine someone saying, “I’m going to the grocery store, and I’m going to buy at least one of an apple, a banana, and a carrot.” Does this mean they intend to purchase at least one apple, at least one banana, and at least one carrot?

Most patent practitioners would not intend such an interpretation with this statement, but it’s easy to see how this wording could be misinterpreted. In contrast, if the statement were, “I’m going to the grocery store, and I’m going to buy at least one of an apple, a banana, or a carrot,” it would be clearer.

In this revised version, the speaker could buy only an apple, and the statement would still hold true regardless of how you interpret it. Of course, in real-life conversations, nobody talks like this. So, perhaps a simpler approach would be to drop the “at least one of” altogether and say, “I’m going to the grocery store, and I’m going to buy an apple, a banana, or a carrot.”

However, the desire to be explicit about the acceptability of combinations of an apple, a banana, and/or a carrot is understandable. This is where the phrase “at least one of” comes into play. Some practitioners may also include “or a combination thereof” at the end of the list. There are various ways to convey your point clearly, but our recommendation is to avoid saying “at least one of a, b, and c.”

In conclusion, using the word “and” instead of “or” in patent applications when expressing options can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. To avoid this common mistake, it’s essential to choose your words carefully and consider the implications of your language choices. Precision and clarity are key when it comes to drafting successful patent applications.

We hope these tips help you improve your patent drafting skills. Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series.

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Tips for Improving Readability of Patent Claims

Greetings, patent enthusiasts! In this latest blog post, Neil Kardos shares some valuable tips on how to enhance the readability of your patent claims.

As we all know, patent claims can be challenging to comprehend due to the presence of legal and technical terminology. Neil sheds some light on one particular aspect of claim language: antecedent basis and how it affects the readability of your claims.

Antecedent Basis and Awkward Wording: Antecedent basis refers to using the word “the” to refer back to a word or phrase previously introduced in the claims. This practice often leads to peculiar phrasing, making the claims less accessible to readers. To illustrate this point, let’s consider an example. If the phrase “at least one widget” is used, referring back to it would require saying “the at least one widget,” resulting in awkward language.

Simplifying the Language: A simple solution to improve readability by replacing “at least one” with the phrase “one or more.” By using “one or more,” you can refer back to the widgets as “the one or more widgets.” This change brings the language closer to standard usage, eliminating the unusual phrasing of “the at least one widget.” In some cases, an even better alternative is to use the indefinite article “a” or “an.” For instance, instead of “the system includes one or more widgets,” you can state “the system includes a widget” and then refer back to it as “the widget.” In terms of claim interpretation, saying “the system includes a widget” is equivalent to saying “the system includes one or more widgets.”

Avoiding “One of a”: Try avoiding the phrase “one of a,” as it leads to cumbersome wording when referring back to it. For instance, using “one of a plurality of widgets” would result in “the one of the plurality of widgets.” A more concise alternative by rephrasing it as “a widget, of a plurality of widgets.” This way, you can easily refer back to it as “the widget.”

Enhancing Clarity: In general, it is crucial to be vigilant for instances where phrases create awkward wording upon reference. By identifying these situations, you can find alternative ways to make the language more fluid and understandable. The goal is to improve the readability of your patent claims for a wider audience, including examiners, potential licensees, and competitors.

In conclusion: Neil’s tips provide valuable insights into enhancing the readability of patent claims. By simplifying language and avoiding awkward phrasing caused by antecedent basis, you can make your claims more accessible to readers. Clear and concise claims are essential for effective communication and successful patent prosecution.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Unraveling the Intricacies of Negative Claiming

In this latest blog post, Neil Kardos brings to light an essential tip about drafting patent claims – the art of sidestepping negative claiming.

Negative claiming occurs when something that doesn’t happen is claimed, a phenomenon that can make patent claim drafting quite convoluted. For instance, consider the situation where your cell phone receives a specific request from a cell tower and usually responds by sending back a message.

However, imagine if the invention introduces a unique twist where the phone, upon detecting a certain condition that the cell tower isn’t aware of, chooses not to respond as per the norm. For instance, the phone may identify that it’s running low on battery or the request is inapplicable for some other reason, leading to the phone’s decision to abstain from responding.

The traditional patent claim language for this scenario might be: “(1) receiving a request, (2) determining that the request isn’t applicable, and (3) not responding to the request?” However, this formulation feels somewhat cumbersome, and patent examiners are known to frown upon such negative limitations.

Neil has developed a handy workaround for these situations – the use of the word “refrain.” This term implies a deliberate decision to abstain from an action or to halt an event, effectively conveying the same meaning without resorting to negative claiming. Thus, in the given example, the claim could be elegantly rephrased as “refraining from transmitting a response to the request.”

Have you discovered other effective strategies to handle such scenarios? If you’ve encountered similar situations and found effective ways to deal with them, we’d love to hear it!

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Improving Clarity in Patent Applications: The Red Flag of “It”

In this latest blog post, Neil Kardos shares why the seemingly innocuous word “it” can lead to ambiguity and misinterpretation in your descriptions, and offer an alternative approach to improve your patent application writing.

The Ambiguity of “It”: Consider this example sentence: “When the client device communicates with the server, ‘it’ may send a message based on a triggering event.” Now, pause for a moment and ask yourself: What exactly is the subject of the sentence? Is it the client device or the server that may send the message? Unfortunately, the word “it” leaves room for uncertainty, and its usage can create confusion, especially when different interpretations are possible.

Plain English vs. Translations: Even in plain English, determining the intended meaning of “it” can be a challenge. However, when patent applications are translated into languages with different grammar rules, the potential for misinterpretation grows significantly. Each language has its own structure and syntax, and relying on a vague pronoun like “it” may lead to inaccurate translations and misunderstandings.

The Importance of Clarity in Patent Prosecution: In patent prosecution, the clarity and precision of your language are crucial. A well-crafted patent application should support the claims and clearly define the scope of the invention. Using the word “it” can inadvertently weaken your case by introducing ambiguity that could be exploited by competitors or create confusion during examination.

Addressing the Issue: To avoid these complications, it is advisable to replace the word “it” with the actual name of the subject you are referring to. In our example sentence, instead of using “it,” you could specify whether it is the client device or the server that may send the message based on the triggering event. By explicitly naming the subject, you provide clarity and eliminate potential misunderstandings.

In conclusion, the word “it” may seem innocuous, but in the context of patent applications, it can introduce ambiguity and create confusion. By replacing “it” with the actual name of the subject, you enhance the clarity of your writing and reduce the chances of misinterpretation, especially in translations and during patent prosecution. Remember, precision and clear communication are essential in protecting your invention and establishing a strong patent. Thank you for reading, and I hope this tip helps you improve your writing in patent applications.

 

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Mastering the Art of List Management in Patent Applications

Neil Kardos covers “Mastering the Art of List Management in Patent Applications”, in this Practical Patents short blog.

Today, we’re diving into the practical patents segment with an essential tip on handling lists in patent applications, particularly in the specification section. In our pursuit to create precise, clear, and efficient patent applications, even the way we handle lists can make a significant difference.

Providing lists of items in patent applications has been a long-standing practice to explain terminology or enumerate examples. For instance, “the sensor data may indicate temperature, pressure, speed, etc.”

Notice the use of the term “etc.”, which is quite prevalent in patent drafting. However, this approach could be improved upon. To illustrate this, let’s understand the intention behind using a list in the specification. There are two key points that we aim to convey:

  1. The items in the list serve as examples.
  2. The items in the list can be applied individually or in a combined manner.

“Et cetera,” or its commonly used cousin, “and so forth,” attempt to encompass both these aspects. However, in reality, they fall short. While they do indicate that the list consists of examples, they don’t explicitly mention that the items can be used individually or in combination.

“Et cetera” translates to “and the rest,” and the usage of “and” in the list might suggest that all items are necessary, which is not our intention. So how do we refine our list handling in patent applications?

To address the first point, it’s crucial to explicitly state that the list consists of examples. You could use phrases like “for example,” “in some implementations,” or “such as.”

For the second point, we want to clarify that the items in the list can be applied individually, in groups, or in entirety. My preferred term for this is “and/or,” as it directly represents the concept we’re trying to express. So our initial example transforms into, “For example, the sensor data may indicate temperature, pressure, and/or speed.”

Now, I’m aware that the usage of “and/or” in patent applications might ruffle some feathers in the patent practitioner community. For those who shudder at its mention, there’s an alternative phrase you could use: “or some combination thereof.”

In conclusion, the way we present lists in patent applications holds more weight than we might initially think. Implementing these strategies can significantly enhance the clarity, precision, and overall efficiency of your patent applications.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find these insights helpful on your patent journey!

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Avoiding Anthropomorphizing in Patent Applications

Neil Kardos covers why “Avoiding Anthropomorphizing in Patent Applications” is important, in this Practical Patents short blog.

Today, we will discuss a term that seems out of place in the sphere of patents, yet often finds its way into the discussion: anthropomorphizing.

At its core, anthropomorphizing involves attributing human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities, including animals, natural phenomena, and yes, even devices. While this can serve as an imaginative exercise in storytelling, it can lead to confusion when applied to technical documents, such as patent applications.

When inventors conceive a novel device, they often inadvertently anthropomorphize it. The device might “know” something, or perhaps it “tells” another device something. This language may work as shorthand for internal discussions and preliminary design documents, but it introduces potential inaccuracies and ambiguities when drafting patent applications.

Consider a simple scenario: An inventor may describe a device that “knows” its location. While this is an easy-to-understand description, it is not technically precise. When translated into patent-speak, the device does not “know” anything – it’s an inanimate object, not a sentient being. Rather, the device may store or process information that identifies its location.

Similarly, if a device “tells” another device about its location, we’re again sliding into anthropomorphizing territory. A more precise technical description might be that the device transmits a location identifier to the other device.

Why does this matter? When drafting a patent application, it’s crucial to maintain technical precision. The words and phrases you use in your specification could later be needed for the claims. You want to ensure you’re using language that will stand up under scrutiny and is as clear and precise as possible.

Moreover, when dealing with patent examiners and courts, using language that attributes human qualities to your device could lead to a misunderstanding of its functionality and scope, possibly impacting your patent’s enforceability.

And here’s a bonus tip: Avoid using jargon or excessively long words, like “anthropomorphizing,” in your patent applications. While they might showcase your expansive vocabulary, they do little to enhance clarity. Use simple, clear language that accurately describes your invention and its unique features.

Remember, the goal of a patent application is to clearly define the unique features and operation of your invention. Avoiding anthropomorphizing language helps to ensure the focus stays on the technical and mechanical aspects of your device, aiding in the creation of a robust, enforceable patent.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

How a Track One Patent Filing Could Increase Your Chances of Getting a Patent

Neil Kardos covers “How a Track One Patent Filing Could Increase Your Chances of Getting a Patent” in this Practical Patents short blog.

Here is a compelling reason for you to consider prioritized examination, known as “Track One,” at the USPTO, beyond simply obtaining a patent more quickly. Were you aware that filing a patent application with a Track One request could potentially enhance your likelihood of securing a patent? Our patent analytics team at Harrity conducted a comparison between Track One and non-Track One filings and discovered that Track One patent applications exhibit approximately a 10% higher allowance rate than non-Track One applications.

In the realm of business methods, the allowance rate for Track One applications is notably 21% higher! Now, the pertinent question arises: Is the Track One request directly responsible for this elevated allowance rate, or are patent applications with inherently higher chances of success, owing to their “more patentable” subject matter, more likely to be filed with Track One requests?

In conclusion, it is presumed that it’s a combination of both factors. Theoretically, Track One applications tend to be assigned to seasoned patent examiners who are more inclined to grant patents. Therefore, if you possess a patent application encompassing a significant technological advancement, it would be wise to consider filing it under Track One to heighten your prospects of securing a patent.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Sandra Maxey Featured on World of Marketing Podcast

Harrity’s Firm Controller, Sandra Maxey, was featured on Foster Web Marketing’s World of Marketing Podcast! Along with host, Tom Foster, Sandy discusses her snowbird lifestyle, her proudest moments, meditation, and why she regrets jumping out of an airplane!

You can listen to the full interview here!

Hindsight Bias in Patent Examination: How Language Models Can Help

Derek Abeyta covers “Hindsight Bias in Patent Examination: How Language Models Can Help” in a featured article for IPWatchdog.com.

The article discusses the issue of hindsight bias in the patent examination process and proposes the use of artificial intelligence (AI) models, specifically large language models, to address this problem. Hindsight bias occurs when a patent examiner unknowingly uses their knowledge of the invention to reject a claim as obvious. This can lead to incorrect determinations of obviousness, prolong prosecution, and result in unfair narrowing of independent claims. AI models can help mitigate this bias by providing an objective and consistent standard for determining obviousness. These models can analyze the examiner’s rationale for an obviousness rejection and identify instances of impermissible hindsight, thereby assisting the examiner in providing a more reliable assessment of patentability.

“Language models have the potential to reduce the likelihood of appeals and legal challenges, streamline prosecution, and lead to more consistent and cost-effective patent examination,” Derek says.

The article also highlights the challenge of determining whether an invention would have been obvious to a person of ordinary skill at the time of filing and how to overcome this challenge, the potential benefits of using language models, and whether they outweigh the initial costs and cons.

Read the full article to learn if language models offer a promising solution to mitigate hindsight bias, improve the patent examination process, and ensure consistency and objectivity in determining patentability on IPWatchdog.com.

The Importance of Using Commas After “Such As” in Patent Applications

Neil Kardos covers “The Importance of Using Commas after ‘Such As’ in Patent Applications” in this Practical Patents short blog.

As patent applications are legal documents, it is crucial to draft them accurately and without any ambiguity. A common grammatical error that can lead to unintentional narrowing of the scope of a patent application is the improper use of the phrase “such as.” In most cases, the intention of using this phrase is to provide examples of the items listed after it, but failing to use a comma before “such as” can result in the items being considered restrictive clauses and limiting the scope of the application.

For instance, consider the sentence “the network device may transmit packet data, such as a source address or a timestamp.” Here, the intended meaning is that a source address and a timestamp are examples of packet data. However, if there is no comma before “such as,” it becomes a restrictive clause, meaning that only a source address or a timestamp will be considered as packet data, not any other data like a destination address or a packet header.

Using a comma before “such as” can convert the phrase into a non-restrictive clause and make it clear that the items listed after it are only examples and not the only items that can be considered packet data. Therefore, it is essential to include a comma before “such as” to avoid any unintentional narrowing of the scope of a patent application.

In conclusion, patent applications require careful drafting and precise language to avoid any misinterpretation or ambiguity. Proper use of punctuation, especially commas, can help prevent unintentional narrowing of the scope of the application and ensure that the application provides adequate coverage of the invention.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Celebrating Women’s History Month – MFI 2.0 Spotlight – Shawna Lemon

To celebrate Women’s History Month, and what is to come for women in our field, Harrity is highlighting Shawna Lemon, a graduate of our Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 Program and Co-managing Shareholder of Stanek Lemon, a majority female-owned IP law firm!

During this interview, Shawna candidly discusses what she is most proud of in her position as a firm leader, her advice to others, and how the MFI 2.0 program took her business to the next level.

Watch the full video:

The Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 program is a new & improved 42-week program that provides the training and tools needed to propel female and minority-owned patent law firms, existing or yet to be launched, to the next level of success. This program includes free training & strategy classes, concluding with a pitch session with a panel of in-house IP attorneys. 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.

We are currently accepting applicants for the 2024 program. You can learn more and apply now HERE.

Celebrating Women’s History Month – Harrity for Parity Spotlight – Bree Vculek

To celebrate Women’s History Month, and what is to come for women in our field, Harrity is highlighting Bree Vculek, a participant from the 2022 Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop!

Harrity for Parity™ brings women from across the country together to participate virtually in this free, four-day long annual program geared towards an introduction to the practice of patent law, patent skills, and career training.  The program, founded in 2017, is open to female science and engineering students, law school students, recent graduates, and current practitioners.

The Harrity for Parity™ Women’s Workshop includes prominent guest speakers who are women in the patent field; Patent Law Introductory Training; Patent Preparation Skills Training; Patent Prosecution Skills Training; Writing Skills Training by Writing Expert, Julie Seitz; Resume and Interview Preparation Workshops; Law School Career Mentoring; Patent Attorney Q&As; Patent Bar Preparation; and Networking Opportunities.

This week, Bree, a Patent Scientist and 4L Law Student, shared her experience with the Harrity for Parity Women’s Workshop. 

“My name is Bree Vculek and I currently work as a patent scientist at Davis Wright Tremaine. I am a fourth year, evening part-time law student at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. My technical background is biology, chemistry and biotechnology. I’ve worked in that area in a variety of different sectors, most recently within the patent space, and I’m now working in artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well.

I am excited to weigh in today. I’m going to start with how I found Harrity for Parity, and specifically how I found the Women’s Patent Workshop. So I attended the workshop last May of 2022. I came across it on my favorite social media platform, LinkedIn. Harrity & Harrity Partner Elaine Spector had made a LinkedIn post announcing the event. They were taking applications and I got super excited. I think I applied the same day, because I was just starting to work in patent law at a boutique firm. I had completed many of the patent law and all of the intellectual property law courses at the George Washington University Law School.  I was really excited and applied the same day, and was lucky enough to get accepted into the workshop.

I had an amazing experience. To be honest, I was reflecting a little bit, and even though I had started working in patent prosecution, and even though I attend a law school with a highly ranked intellectual property law program, I still felt that there were important pieces of the patent preparation and prosecution puzzle, if you will, that were missing in my comprehensive and holistic understanding of the practice. And so when I was thinking about my favorite part of the workshop, or really what my takeaways were, I had several.

I would say, first of all, I loved meeting so many of the other women who are at various stages of their careers, both in private practice and in-house, as well as at the USPTO, and getting their perspectives on what it’s like to be a woman in patent law. Also, to learn from them what works, what didn’t work, and what advice they have. I found that to be really a connective force. I think having this community, albeit virtual a lot of the time, is so incredibly important for minorities within a certain practice, such as patent law. So that was one thing that I really loved and enjoyed.

And second to that, I really liked that the workshop provided us with practical experience. We had the opportunity to draft claims and receive feedback, and to practice reading through and familiarizing ourselves with Office Actions from the USPTO and responding to 101, 102, 103, and 112 rejections, and just kind of understanding how it all works and different strategies. And so I really enjoyed that. I still, to this day, take a lot of those foundational skill sets that I learned in the Women’s Patent Workshop and apply them to my practice today, so that was really an incredible experience.

I also wanted to mention one additional thing – so I talked a little bit about community and conductivity and collaboration. I met a another student through Harrity for Parity, and we’ve developed a friendship. We saw each other a couple of months after the workshop actually, in-person at interviewing events, and have kept in touch thereafter. And ultimately, we are going to be working close by following graduation. So I think that was again just a really cool opportunity to make friends within the practice, make connections, and that was something that I didn’t necessarily expect but I really was was longing for. It was kind of like a cherry on top.”

Watch the video here:

 

We’re currently accepting applicants for our 2023 Harrity for Parity Women’s Workshop, scheduled for May 22-25th. Learn more and apply HERE.

 

Celebrating Women’s History Month – Harrity for Parity Spotlight – Bree Vculek’s Advice for Others

To celebrate Women’s History Month, and what is to come for women in our field, Harrity is highlighting Bree Vculek, a participant from the 2022 Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop!

Harrity for Parity™ brings women from across the country together to participate virtually in this free, four-day long annual program geared towards an introduction to the practice of patent law, patent skills, and career training.  The program, founded in 2017, is open to female science and engineering students, law school students, recent graduates, and current practitioners.

The Harrity for Parity™ Women’s Workshop includes prominent guest speakers who are women in the patent field; Patent Law Introductory Training; Patent Preparation Skills Training; Patent Prosecution Skills Training; Writing Skills Training by Writing Expert, Julie Seitz; Resume and Interview Preparation Workshops; Law School Career Mentoring; Patent Attorney Q&As; Patent Bar Preparation; and Networking Opportunities.

This week, Bree, a Patent Scientist and 4L Law Student, shared her advice for others entering the field. 

“The advice I would give other women, or really any anyone interested in patent law, is to be mindful that we are all training to be advocates. Typically, it’s advocates for our clients, the inventors, the innovators, etc. I want to remind you that it’s equally, or arguably more important, that we’re advocates for ourselves.

Now, that can look a variety of different ways. But the way in which I see it playing out is by seeking out different opportunities, like attending the Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop. There are other opportunities, like taking classes, that might be a bit more intimidating or challenging. You can do it, you know, I believe in that. And the way in which we believe in that is by taking more opportunities and showing to ourselves, gathering more data that can be directed, that you can do it. And whether it be volunteering on a committee that you’re a part of, in an association or something like that, I think that’s really important, and something that I’m kind of learning as I go, and I wish I learned prior.

I think it’s a really valuable mindset to be mindful. Of course, we support others, we support our colleagues, we support our classmates, we support our clients, absolutely. But we ought not to forget to support ourselves as well. I’m a big fan of holistic support, and that includes wellness as well: mental, physical, spiritual, financial, the whole wellness wheel. I think that is really incredibly important to be mindful of. It’s a really rewarding and fulfilling career and not only do you deserve, but your colleagues or clients or classmates etc. deserve to see you or to interact with you as your very best self. So that’s kind of a long winded advice that I would give. Seek out opportunities, and be relentless in your pursuit. And again, I highly, highly, highly recommend without reservation, the Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop.”

 

Watch the video here:

 

We’re currently accepting applicants for our 2023 Harrity for Parity Women’s Workshop, scheduled for May 22-25th. Learn more and apply  here.

 

Celebrating Women’s History Month – Harrity for Parity Spotlight – Bree Vculek’s Experience in the Field

To celebrate Women’s History Month, and what is to come for women in our field, Harrity is highlighting Bree Vculek, a participant from the 2022 Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop!

Harrity for Parity™ brings women from across the country together to participate virtually in this free, four-day long annual program geared towards an introduction to the practice of patent law, patent skills, and career training.  The program, founded in 2017, is open to female science and engineering students, law school students, recent graduates, and current practitioners.

The Harrity for Parity™ Women’s Workshop includes prominent guest speakers who are women in the patent field; Patent Law Introductory Training; Patent Preparation Skills Training; Patent Prosecution Skills Training; Writing Skills Training by Writing Expert, Julie Seitz; Resume and Interview Preparation Workshops; Law School Career Mentoring; Patent Attorney Q&As; Patent Bar Preparation; and Networking Opportunities.

This week, we sat down with Bree, a Patent Scientist and 4L Law Student, to hear about her experiences as a young woman entering the patent field. 

“My name is Bree Vculek and I currently work as a patent scientist at Davis Wright Tremaine. I am a fourth year, evening part-time law student at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. My technical background is biology, chemistry and biotechnology. I’ve worked in that area in a variety of different sectors, most recently within the patent space, and I’m now working in artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well.

So thus far, my experience in patent law has been quite positive. I have worked now in both an intellectual property boutique firm, as well as in big law. I have found, at times, it’s lonely, for sure. But I think that there are events like the Harrity for Parity Women’s Patent Workshop, as well as tools like LinkedIn, or various other groups like AIPLA, ChIPs, Women in IP in DC, that I have specifically involved myself in to help continue to foster that community and that sense of belonging. It’s also, I think, important to share, have shared experiences, but also learn from one another and maybe ask questions like, how did you navigate this situation? And so I found that to be really an incredible piece to my early practice, if you will.

Actually, this week, we’re going to file my first provisional patent application. This is through the George Washington University Intellectual Property Technology Clinic. We’re going to file our first provisional patent application, that is an entire women team. So the inventor is a woman. And then I’m one of the student attorneys, my co-counsel is also a woman, and the director and the patent attorney that we’re going to file under is also a woman – so a comprehensive, holistic, all women team! It’s a first across the board, and I’m just really, really excited to have that opportunity.

I think that kind of explained my experiences thus far, but also what’s possible and what’s out there and what we’re, you know, fingers crossed, going to see as we continue to navigate and progress in the field of patent law. So whatever that may mean, I remain hopeful and excited from what I’m seeing in law school, and acknowledging that we still have a lot of work to do. I’m grateful for programs like Harrity for Parity’s  Women Patent Workshop – that’s really what I consider a launching pad in my career in patent prosecution, to be honest, it really opened my eyes to what is possible, and helps give me that next level of confidence in my skill set and in myself, that you know, I belong and I add value, and I’m worth taking a chance on. So that was really another beautiful experience and a little bit about what my early career has been like as a young woman in the practice of patent protection.”

 

Watch the video here:

 

We’re currently accepting applicants for our 2023 Harrity for Parity Women’s Workshop, scheduled for May 22-25th. Learn more and apply HERE.

 

Celebrating Black History Month – MFI 2.0 Spotlight – Ted Wood

To celebrate Black History Month, Harrity is highlighting the black-owned law firms that participated in the 2022 Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 program!

This week, we sat down with Ted Wood, Managing Partner of Wood IP, a black-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned patent law firm. 

Ted candidly discusses his time in the military, how he faces others’ expectations as a black patent attorney, and his advice to those looking to enter into the patent field.

Watch his entire interview here:

 

ABOUT MFI 2.0:

The Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 Program is Harrity’s 42-week program that provides the training and tools needed to propel female and minority-owned patent law firms, existing or yet to be launched, to the next level of success. The program includes free training & strategy classes, concluding with a pitch session with a panel of in-house IP attorneys. 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.

In November 2022, 7 minority-owned law firms graduated from the first iteration of this program after intensive law firm operations trainings from Harrity partners and pitches to a panel of in-house attorneys. You can learn more and apply to the 2024 program here.

 

Celebrating Black History Month – MFI 2.0 Spotlight – James Bennin

To celebrate Black History Month, Harrity is highlighting the black-owned law firms that participated in the inaugural Minority Firm Incubator program and the 2022 Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 program!

This week, we sat down with James Bennin, Founder & Owner of Onyx IP Group, a black-owned patent law firm. 

James got candid about his accomplishments as a new firm owner, the driving force behind Onyx IP Group, and his advice to those wanting to join the #patent field.

Watch his entire interview here:

 

ABOUT MFI 2.0:

The Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 Program is Harrity’s 42-week program that provides the training and tools needed to propel female and minority-owned patent law firms, existing or yet to be launched, to the next level of success. The program includes free training & strategy classes, concluding with a pitch session with a panel of in-house IP attorneys. 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.

In November 2022, 7 minority-owned law firms graduated from the first iteration of this program after intensive law firm operations trainings from Harrity partners and pitches to a panel of in-house attorneys. You can learn more and apply to the 2024 program here.

 

Celebrating Black History Month – MFI 2.0 Spotlight – Arlene Neal

To celebrate Black History Month, Harrity is highlighting the black-owned law firms that participated in the 2022 Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 program!

This week, we sat down with Arlene Neal, Founder & Managing Attorney at Neal Blibo, a black-owned, woman-owned law firm. 

When asked about being a black-owned, woman-owned law firm, Arlene said, “I see a lot of black-owned firms and I see a lot of women-owned firms, but I don’t see a lot of the combination- black and woman-owned. And I’m thinking to myself, “Well, I gotta be proud!”

Watch her entire interview here:

 

ABOUT MFI 2.0:

The Minority Firm Incubator 2.0 Program is Harrity’s 42-week program that provides the training and tools needed to propel female and minority-owned patent law firms, existing or yet to be launched, to the next level of success. The program includes free training & strategy classes, concluding with a pitch session with a panel of in-house IP attorneys. 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.

When speaking on this program, Arlene says, “As a Managing Attorney, I am always seeking out the best practices in running my firm. The MFI program exposed me to new processes for managing my firm and also helped me to refine current processes.”

In November 2022, 7 minority-owned law firms graduated from the first iteration of this program after intensive law firm operations trainings from Harrity partners and pitches to a panel of in-house attorneys. You can learn more and apply to the 2024 program here.

 

Paul Harrity Named a Virginia Weekly’s Go-To IP Lawyer

Harrity & Harrity is honored to announce that Managing Partner, Paul Harrity, has been recognized as a leading intellectual property lawyer in the Virginia Lawyers Weekly “Go To Lawyers” showcase.

“As a one-time patent examiner himself, Paul Harrity is well-versed in the particulars of intellectual property. Previous to his time in government, he worked as a troubleshooter at IBM and a design engineer at General Dynamics. After law school, he specialized in patent prosecution and preparation for clients at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner.

As evidenced by the work of the award-winning firm he founded in 1999, Harrity’s first-hand experience has helped him gain unique insight into the challenging and constantly evolving area of law that is intellectual property.

Today, he analyzes patent portfolios to identify infringement issues and drafts claims on competitor’s products. His knowledge in computer hardware and software, telecommunications, optical systems and other issues has helped put his firm at the forefront of the field.”

Read the full issue at here.

Rocky Berndsen Named A World Leading IP Strategist in 2022 IAM Strategy 300 List

Harrity & Harrity is pleased to announce that Head of Patent Analytics, Rocky Berndsen, was selected by IAM as a 2022 World Leading IP Strategist. This award identifies the individuals who are leading the way in the development and implementation of strategies that maximize the value of IP portfolios.

According to IAM-Media.com, “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.”

This is the third consecutive year that Rocky has been named on the IAM Strategy 300 List.

Rocky Berndsen is the head of the patent analytics group at Harrity & Harrity. The group’s practice specializes in providing corporate clients with data analytics that focus on gaining insight and intelligence relating to their patent portfolio, their competitors, their outside counsel, and the patent field in general.

 

Harrity Named #1 Midsize Law Firm to Work For

Harrity & Harrity has been named the #1 Midsize Law Firm to Work For by the Vault. Harrity also received this award in 2021!

According to the Vault’s announcement, Harrity received a 9.55/10, taking the number one spot overall. Harrity was also recognized in the following categories:

  • #1 Overall
  • #1 in Firm Culture
  • #1 in Hours
  • #1 in Informal Training, Mentoring, & Sponsorship
  • #1 in Technology & Innovation
  • #1 in Quality of Work
  • #1 in Satisfaction
  • #1 in Selectivity
  • #2 in Diversity
  • #2 in Formal Training
  • #3 in Transparency
  • #3 in Wellness
  • #4 in Compensation
  • #6 in Associate/Partner Relations
  • #10 in Career Outlook
  • #19 in Pro Bono

Click HERE to learn more.

 

Harrity Featured in Bloomberg Law: Moving the Needle

Harrity & Harrity has recently been recognized by Bloomberg Law for our diversity initiatives, specifically with respect to increasing the representation of African-American/Black women within patent law.

The article, Black Women Lawyers Still Sparsely Seen at Federal Circuit, refers to Harrity as a law firm focused on moving the needle by creating programs that target the pipeline problem of a lack of women and minorities sitting for the patent bar, including quotes from Diversity Co-Chair, Elaine Spector, on our Patent Pathways program.

“Harrity & Harrity LP—after conducting a diversity and inclusion study that found that there are more patent attorneys and agents named “Michael” than there are racially diverse women in those roles in the US—launched a program to register more Black women as patent practitioners.

The initiative, called Patent Pathways, starts this summer. Harrity & Harrity will help women who complete the program find law firm jobs afterward. The inaugural program’s 20 participants could ‘move the needle quickly,’ said Elaine Spector, a Harrity partner leading Patent Pathways.

‘We want to make sure that innovation is expanded across all of our populations,” Spector said. ‘Women and racially diverse inventors are inventing or showing up on patents at a lower rate, and there is that correlation, to make sure that they can go to attorneys that represent them.'”

Patent Pathways is a Diversity & Inclusion Program dedicated to increasing numbers of registered African-American/Black women patent attorneys and agents through free patent skills training, mentoring, career counseling, and expenses paid to prepare for and take the patent bar exam. This program was created to help address the significant lack of diversity found in IP Law.

To learn more about the Patent Pathways program, click HERE.

Click HERE to read the full article by Samantha Handler.

Onyx IP Group, Launched from Harrity’s Minority Firm Incubator, Creates Diversity Scholarship

Harrity is thrilled to announce that Onyx IP Group, PLLC, the first minority-owned patent law firm to launch from our Minority Firm Incubator Program, has awarded two scholarships to diverse students studying STEM.

James Bennin, Founder of Onyx IP Group, shared the following statement.

“I am excited to announce that Onyx IP Group has awarded its inaugural scholarships to high school seniors who will be pursuing an education in STEM!! Onyx IP Group has been operating for almost a year now and we are so excited to be able to award scholarships to a couple of high school students at Evans High School – a high school we have been working with this academic year.

One scholarship was awarded to a female student who will be attending Texas A&M next year planning to major in Engineering. The other scholarship was awarded to a male student who will be attending Valencia College with a UCF Direct Connect with a plan to major in Neurological Sciences. This week, a part of the team at Onyx IP Group was able to meet these great high school students and learn about their amazing stories. Last week, we were able to attend an awards ceremony at Evans High School for its seniors and were amazed at the amount of talent at this school.

Onyx IP Group, PLLC has decided to commit at least 5% of its profit to our scholarship fund every year. We are so grateful for our clients who have entrusted us with their work and have made this scholarship fund a reality. As Onyx IP Group grows and the profit of the firm increases, we will be able to increase the size of our scholarship fund and provide scholarships to a larger group of high school students every academic year. It feels great to give back to our community and to continue to take steps towards our goal.”

Harrity’s diversity programs are focused on giving back to the community by providing underrepresented groups in the patent field free resources to help them succeed. We are honored that James has continued this sentiment within Onyx IP and cannot wait to see what the future holds for his firm and his scholarship recipients.

Learn more about Onyx IP Group here.

Harrity Recognized as an MIP IP Star

Harrity & Harrity has been named a Recommended Firm in Virginia on the 2022 Managing Intellectual Property IP Stars Rankings.

The Managing IP Awards program recognizes remarkable achievements and developments in the last year. Now in its 17th year, the program covers several IP practice areas and more than 50 jurisdictions.

Click HERE to learn more.

 

Harrity Recognized for DEI Initiatives

Harrity & Harrity has recently been recognized by IM-Media, in their article “Closing diversity gaps in patenting: current initiatives and the HP perspective” for it’s many DEI initiatives – in particular, the Patent Pathways program which Harrity is helping to launch the first iteration of this program Summer 2022.

Patent Pathways is a Diversity & Inclusion Program dedicated to increasing numbers of registered African-American/Black women patent attorneys and agents. This program was created to help address the significant lack of diversity found in IP Law.

To learn more about the Patent Pathways program, click HERE.

Click HERE to read the full article.

Harrity Named #1 for Patent Bots Quality Scores

Harrity & Harrity has been named #1 on Patent Bots Quality Score rankings for 2022, topping all other firms with over 500 patents issued in 2021. This is the 3rd consecutive year Harrity has made the Top 10, placing second in 2021 and 2020.

#1 of Firms with 500+ Patents Issued (97.8)
#1 Tech Center 2400 (99.7)
#1 Tech Center 3600 (99.6)
#3 Tech Center 2600 (99.8)
#5 Overall (97.8)

Click HERE to learn more.

 

Rocky Berndsen Named part of the World’s Leading IP Strategists in IAM Strategy 300 List

Harrity & Harrity is pleased to announce that Head of Patent Analytics, Rocky Berndsen, was selected by IAM as a World Leading IP Strategist. This award identifies the individuals who are leading the way in the development and implementation of strategies that maximize the value of IP portfolios.

Rocky Berndsen is the head of the patent analytics group at Harrity & Harrity. The group’s practice specializes in providing corporate clients with data analytics that focus on gaining insight and intelligence relating to their patent portfolio, their competitors, their outside counsel, and the patent field in general.

 

IPO Diversity & Inclusion Committee Honored with the 2021 Outstanding Committee of the Year Award

Congratulations are in order for the IPO Diversity & Inclusion Committee for being awarded the 2021 Outstanding Committee of the Year Award!

Harrity Partner and Committee Vice Chair, Elaine Spector, says: “It is such a pleasure to work with such a committed group in furthering diversity of the legal profession, which is in dire need of improvement. I am excited to see how this committee can make a direct impact on diversity of the IP profession, as well as the legal profession.”

From IPO:

“In recognition of exceptional service, IPO will present its 2021 Outstanding Committee of the Year Award to the Diversity & Inclusion Committee during the 2021 IPO LIVE + Virtual Annual Meeting. The Diversity & Inclusion Committee is chaired by SHRUTI COSTALES (Dell Technologies). Its co-vice chairs are CARYLN BURTON (Osha Bergman Watanabe & Burton LLP), SERENA I. FARQUHARSON-TORRES (Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.), and ELAINE SPECTOR (Harrity & Harrity, LLP). The secretary is CLAUDIA W. STANGLE (Leydig, Voit & Mayer, Ltd.) and Board Liaison is DARRYL FRICKEY (Dow Chemical Co.).

The committee has gone above and beyond this year by preparing the Practical Guide on Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession and several webinars supporting it, as well as creating a new D&I resource group for IP Professionals with Disabilities and Advocates. The committee continues to be forward-thinking in creating content and materials for those inside and outside the IPO membership. Congratulations to the committee and all its members!”

 

Paul Harrity and Elaine Spector Named 2021 Patent Star in MIP’s IP Stars Rankings

Harrity & Harrity is pleased to announce that Paul Harrity & Elaine Spector were recently selected by Managing Intellectual Property, the leading specialist guide to IP law firms and practitioners worldwide, as a 2021 Patent Star.

This is Paul’s 4th consecutive year on the list and Elaine’s inaugural year. The annual “IP Stars” list recognizes leading lawyers and law firms for intellectual property work in more than 125 jurisdictions.

Paul is Harrity’s Managing Partner. 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.

Elaine is a Partner at Harrity and has over 20 years of experience in intellectual property law. Her current practice consists primarily of prosecuting patent applications with a focus on electromechanical technologies. Prior to joining Harrity & Harrity, Elaine worked in private practice for over 15 years handling various intellectual property matters, including patent application drafting and prosecution, trademark prosecution and enforcement, as well as litigating complex patent cases in federal courts. Elaine’s extensive litigation experience provides her with a unique perspective in prosecuting patent applications.

 

Harrity Recognized as IAM Patent 1000 Highly Recommended Firm

Harrity & Harrity has been recognized in the IAM Patent 1000 as a Highly Recommended Firm for the third year in a row in the DC metro area. Since 2015, Harrity has made the coveted IAM Patent 1000 list as a Recommended Firm or higher. The rankings are based off extensive research 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, according to IAM.

The publication said the following of Harrity’s ranking:

“Efficient, timely and cost effective”, Harrity & Harrity is the preferred choice of many when it comes to patent prosecution. A “role model”, it has “implemented some clever procedures and modes of operation, enabling it to consistently deliver work of the very highest standard of quality”. Central to this are the thorough second-attorney review system and uniform writing style championed by founding partners John Harrity and Paul Harrity, who are also responsible for the boutique’s innovation drive, by which large numbers of statistics are tracked so that performance can be precisely measured and improvements implemented. These improvements are often underpinned by technology such as the massive proprietary database that the firm uses to drive intelligent prosecution and its interactive Patent 300 dashboard, which gives clients access to rare insights harvested by the patent analytics group. The software experts here had a busy 2020, developing several new products, such as a patent drafting tool designed to help their attorney colleagues – including the Harrity brothers and Paul Gurzo – focus on patent quality as opposed to more administrative tasks.

Click HERE to see the full Patent 1000 list and to learn more.

 

IPO Submits Comments to Supreme Court of Florida on Diversity of Faculty for CLE Programs

Harrity’s Elaine Spector helped prepare comments, on behalf of IPO, submitted to the Supreme Court of Florida in response an order issued on April 15 regarding a recently adopted policy regulating the composition of faculty at section-sponsored continuing legal education (CLE) programs. The Court noted that “quotas based on characteristics like the ones in this policy are antithetical to basic American principles of nondiscrimination.”

Elaine also covered this topic in Episode 19 and Episode 21 of Driving Diversity, a weekly vlog series covering important issues related to improving diversity in the legal field.

IPO’s comments, which were prepared with assistance by several additional members of IPO’s Diversity & Inclusion and Women in IP Committees, noted four main issues: 1) A rule requiring a minimum number of diverse panelists advances diversity and the quality of programming with no evidence of harm; 2) the Court fails to offer any guidance on permitted diversity policies moving forward; 3) the order could have a chilling effect on addressing current structural and ongoing inequity; and 4) sua sponte revision of the rule, without notice, will cause harm to Florida attorneys and diversity of the Florida Bar

Read the full response below.

In-The-Supreme-Court-of-Florida-Comments

 

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