Earlier this week I was in Toledo, Ohio. I traveled to Toledo to speak to the Toledo Intellectual Property Law Association on Tuesday, April 13, 2010. I have a special connection with Toledo, having taught there at the University of Toledo College of Law during the 2001/2002 academic year as a Visiting Professor, and for a couple years prior as an Adjunct Professor. I would fly in on weekends to teach a variety of patent claim drafting and application drafting courses. Some of my dearest friends are in Toledo, so any excuse to get back to Toledo is a good one in my mind.
I arrived in Toledo late in the evening of Sunday, April 11, 2010, to not only get in position for my talk (which came with CLE credit), but so I could spend some time at the College of Law visiting with friends and speaking with students interested in intellectual property law, particularly patent law. I did just that Monday, April 12, 2010. As with any presentation I give to would be patent attorneys (i.e., current law students), I came bearing gifts from PLI. I have taught in the Practising Law Institute Patent Bar Review Course for nearly a decade, and when I go to law schools to talk I am allowed to hand out special discount coupons to the students.
While I do spend some time talking about the Patent Bar Review Course, I try and keep my presentations as non-commercial as possible, which is easy to do when you teach the #1 Patent Bar Review Course in the Nation. It sells itself!
In any event, I talk about whatever the students want to hear, and after discussing a bit about the Patent Bar Exam itself the discussion always turns to jobs, how to find them and resumes. I try and turn the discussion to resumes whenever possible because as hard working as most Career Services folks are they are not typically in tune with the particularly niche requirements of a patent law resume. Wherever I go I encourage students to figure out what technological expertise they bring to the table and make sure that comes through in their resume loud and clear. In the patent world you will get a job as a clerk or your first patent jobs as an attorney or agent based on your scientific background and training, not as a result of your legal training. So if you have relevant publications, spent time in a lab researching, are an inventor and listed on patents or worked for a name-brand tech company, that all needs to come through on page one of your resume.
After my time at the law school was over I went back to the hotel and posted my interview with Judge Rader, which has been well received by those who have read it and thoroughly criticized on a popular patent blog that shall remain nameless. It seems I am a pretty divisive character in the blogosphere. You either love me or hate me, or perhaps you love to hate me. Of course, the goal is to be thought provoking and make people consider issues. How I go about doing that may not be to the liking of some, but it is better to be relevant and read than irrelevant and unknown.
Monday evening I had a great dinner with the Officers of TIPLA at the Bluewater Grille in Maumee, Ohio, which is a suburb of Toledo. Those who know me know I love to talk shop, policy, politics and technology. It was great to spend time with folks who seemed as thoroughly nerdy and engrossed in patents as I am, and the food was outstanding! It was also particularly nice to meet fellow blogger Jake Ward in person, after having a virtual friendship with him for years. Jake is the purveyor of Anticipate This!™ which is a blog that primarily focuses on odd patents and industry news. Jake’s They Invented What? series is mandatory reading if you enjoy patent humor. When asked about his blog Jake explains:
It has always been our goal to provide a unique mix of content and humor at AT!. I believe our patent blog has been successful, at least in part, because we fill a niche between the “pure humor” patent blogs such as Patently Silly, and the more “academic” patent blogs such as . . . well, take your pick. We’re light reading, or about as light as patent law reading can get, with the occasional tip or insight for practitioners and inventors. I’m proud of the content that we have provided at AT!, and hope that our audience continues to enjoy it as well.
If you want to get a good sense for Anticipate This! and They Invented What? take a look at these classics and soon to be classics! (1) Flatulence deodorizer; (2) Lottery ticket scrapper; and (3) Forehead support apparatus. In my opinion you absolutely have to read the forehead support apparatus. None of these are Jake’s favorite though. He prefers as his favorite the method of breaking free-standing rock boulders. According to Jake, as soon as you see the picture in the patent you know pretty much everything you need to know about the invention. This lead to a discussion of the importance of drawings. I know, we have so much fun that it should almost be illegal!
On Tuesday I got up early to finish my powerpoint presentation for my presentation to TIPLA, which took place at the Toledo Club in downtown Toledo (yes, there is a downtown Toledo). Lunch was good, dessert was better and hopefully my presentation on the law, ethics and business reality of blogging for attorneys was enlightening, entertaining and informative. I know it went well for me, but then all my presentations go well for me from my point of view. Unfortunately, I forgot to have anyone take pictures of the presentation, which is somewhat ironic given that I was speaking about how to go about blogging. With the Internet being a medium well adapted to sight, pictures and images always make a nice addition in my opinion. I also failed to point out the green guy with the question mark (this will make sense if you view the power point presentation). Under him is a link to IStockPhoto.com. That is where I get the overwhelming majority of my images. Pay once and get a royalty free license moving forward — nobody wants to be a copyright infringer, right? And the price is right too; I get almost all the images for $1.
After my presentation I drove all over Toledo looking for a Bank of America, which my “Around Me” iPhone app assured me was on Monroe Street. I gave up, and good thing. I learned later there are no Bank of America branches in Toledo, or at least where I was looking. In any event, later I spent more time catching up with my law professor friends, having some pizza, drinking some wine and then followed up with lunch the next day at Thai Pan (on Secor Road) which had awesome Crab Rangoon. I definitely recommend it!
I then hit the road back to Leesburg, Virginia. It was a good trip to Toledo. It is always good to catch up with friends, break bread and talk patents, law and politics. Looking forward to returning to Toledo in the future, and if there are any other groups or schools interested in a presentation just let me know.