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Welcome to another episode of Tech Transfer IP. Today I am pleased to speak with Elaine Spector. Elaine is a patent attorney with Harrity & Harrity with over twenty year’s experience in intellectual property law. Elaine’s current practice consists primarily of prosecuting patent applications with a focus on electromechanical technologies.
Before joining Harrity & Harrity, Elaine worked in private practice for over fifteen years handling various intellectual property matters, including patent application drafting and prosecution, trademark prosecution and enforcement and litigating complex patent cases in federal courts. Her extensive litigation experience provides her with a unique perspective in prosecuting patent applications.
Listen as Elaine shares some key differences between working in a University Tech Transfer office and working in a law firm. She also talks about the Rooney Rule and how Hannity has improved it by making it Rooney Rule 2.0, and how the Rooney Rule is different from the Mansfield Rule.
Elaine discusses her company’s rigorous hiring process to remove bias, the factors that contribute to the problem of having a small amount of diverse individuals in the legal profession, and the programs her office has launched to help bring more women into her firm, like the Annual Women’s Patent Law Workshop and the Minority Firm Incubator Program to name a few.
Elaine shares some suggestions for small firms that might struggle to develop diversity and inclusion procedures, standards, and programs. She says that reaching out is one action step patent professionals can take to improve diversity for the Patent Bar.
In This Episode:
- [02:26] Welcome to the show, Elaine!
- [02:48] Elaine shares her career journey from a University Tech Transfer office to a law firm.
- [06:16] She worked at John Hopkins Technology Transfer, which later changed its name to Tech Ventures.
- [06:46] What are some of the key differences between working in a University Tech Transfer office and working in a law firm?
- [09:18] Elaine discusses the Rooney Rule 2.0 and how Harrity takes the rule even further.
- [10:28] How is the Rooney Rule different from the Mansfield Rule?
- [12:39] Elaine doesn’t believe that the “Heavy Stick” approach suggested by some corporations will be effective in helping meet diversity requirements.
- [15:01] Elaine speaks about her company’s rigorous hiring process and how it removes the likelihood of bias.
- [17:20] Can you tell us about the factors contributing to the problem of not enough diverse individuals in the legal profession?
- [20:01] Elaine discusses Harrity’s office’s Annual Women’s Patent Law Workshop.
- [21:46] Elaine discusses another program Harrity has recently developed which is training women and helping them pass the writing part of their application process.
- [22:31] Elaine shares some other programs her firm has that focus on diversity and inclusion.
- [24:28] Elaine speaks about the Minority Firm Incubator Program they are launching.
- [27:39] Harrity has launched a diversity channel this year with a weekly vlog.
- [28:58] How does your diversity committee handle these programs?
- [31:01] Elaine shares some suggestions for small firms that might struggle to develop diversity and inclusion procedures, standards, and programs.
- [33:04] Elaine believes the changes proposed by USPTO will help with gender diversity, and she shares some other degrees that should be included.
- [35:05] What is the one action step patent professionals can take today to improve diversity for the Patent Bar?