Patent Law – an alternative career path for science/engineering graduates
Two Michigan alumni came to Ann Arbor to share their experience in pursuing a career in patent law. Aaron Raphael received his B.Sc. in chemistry from U of M and law degree from Emory University. He is now a partner at J. A. Lindeman & Co. Joshua Ney received both his Ph.D. in chemistry and law degree from U of M, and he is currently an associate at Brinks Gilson & Lione. Both speakers appreciate the nature of their job as patent attorney, which allows them to actively engage in chemistry and collaborate with experts in the field, even though they do not work in academia. During the seminar, Josh gave a summary of job responsibilities for different divisions of role within the practice of patent law, namely patent prosecution, patent litigation and patent transaction. Aaron pointed out that patent litigators typically do not spend much time in the court as one would expect. Most of their works are done “behind the scene”, and they can be highly contentious sometime. On the other hand, patent prosecutors mainly correspond with examiners at the patent office to help their clients securing patents for their inventions.
Aaron highlighted a few patent related job opportunities for PhD students in STEM field, including examiner at the USPTO and technical advisor at private law firm. He encouraged people to explore those career options to get a feel of patent law before they commit themselves to go to law school. He also reminded the audience to take full advantage of the strong Michigan alumni network during their job searching process.