What I learned at AIPLA’s 2009 “Practical Patent Prosecution Training for New Lawyers Seminar”
Guest Blogger: Registered Patent Agent, Gerald F. Gibbs Jr.
Practical Patent Prosecution Training for New Lawyers Seminar
I am Gerald F Gibbs Jr., a Registered Patent Agent. I am a native of Buffalo, N.Y. For the past 13+ years I have served as an industrial electrician for General Motors Corporation. Recently I passed the patent bar examination on my first attempt and began my second career in intellectual property as a patent agent. I qualified to take the patent bar exam based upon my technical background and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics.
On August 26 – 28, 2009, I attended the annual Practical Patent Prosecution Training for New Lawyers Seminar sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). The three-day event was held at the Westin Hotel, in Alexandria, Virginia which is in close proximity to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The 2009 Practical Patent Prosecution Training for New Lawyers Seminar also referred to as “boot camp” is designed for new practitioners (i.e., those having about 0-2 years of experience), that want to learn the basics of patent application preparation and prosecution.
I attended the patent “boot camp” to have the opportunity to learn directly from experienced practitioners. Patent practitioners from all across the country lectured on an array of topics associated with patent law over a 3-day period. Topics included (just to name a few):
- Requirements for Patentability
- Application Drafting
- Provisional Applications
- Appeals & Interferences
- Responding to Examiner Actions & Affidavit Practice
The lecture portion of the seminar was by far the best part of the event.
A reception was held after each of the first two days of lecturing that gave the attendees and lecturers an opportunity to network. Many of the attendees that I met were very cordial and friendly, but many didn’t have business cards to exchange and didn’t seem interested or prepared to further a relationship beyond the 3-day event. As a result I focused on networking with the guest lecturers and I found that every practitioner was very helpful to provide career advice, exchange business cards and offer words of encouragement.
As a result of this networking I have since communicated with and received helpful career advice from practitioners that I met at the boot camp. One of the connections I made was with
Denise M. Kettelberger, PhD, JD of Faegre & Benson, LLP. She is an established and experienced patent practitioner from Minneapolis who gave an interesting and informative lecture on Responding to Examiner Actions & Affidavit Practice. She opened her lecture by saying, “This is the year of compact prosecution….compact prosecution requires that the patent practitioner get to know your examiner and vise versa.” This, she explains, provides a more friendly exchange during patent prosecution.
On the last day of the seminar I attended the “hands on” claim-drafting workshop. It was a little disappointing because it was far from “hands on” and consisted of mostly lecturing.
AIPLA provided each attendee with a binder with valuable information on all the topics discussed and a hard copy of the power point presentation of each lecture. I also received a copy of the entire seminar on CD-ROM, which includes the audio portion of the program. I found this to be a very valuable resource to review key points of the lecture and discover information that I may have missed.
Overall the seminar was very informative and insightful and well worth the 7 hour drive from Buffalo, New York. I would recommend attending this annual event to anyone who is interested in a career in patent law.