Sunday, February 12, 2006

Of Work

In the spirit of writing posts when I do, here's one on work.

Very recently I've only been putting in half-days as my body recovers and I start approaching some semblance of how I felt 6 weeks ago (as in before I started feeling absolutely rotten). This week I'm going to start attempting more reasonable hours, as in 4-hour+ days (hopefully more like 5-6+, since my goal is 7+ per day, once I'm recovered sufficiently, which I almost am). Of course I have 2 doctor appointments and 2 feet of snow on my car that will attempt to deter me from this lofty goal. So be it. I'm giving myself a pass and doing what I can 'cause there ain't much else I got left these days. Give me a week or two and I should be good for a much closer semblance of 'normalcy' (if normalcy can be said to exist).

See! I'm making less sense than, well, not usual, but certainly less sense! That's a positive sign, I swear!

Anyways, about work. What do I do at work? Patents! I write Patent Application drafts and Responses to Office Actions for prosecuting patent applications. Now, even though I tell people I'm an Associate Attorney, hey - that's what my 'position' lists me as, I'm really a ghost-writer at this junction. That is to say, until I pass the Patent Bar, all of my work is carefully reviewed and signed off by a barred attorney. Honestly, my work will always be reviewed. The only change, once I sit for and pass the Patent Bar, will be that my name starts showing up on things. No big at the moment. In the meantime, it's nice to be working.

I've written quite a few Patent Applications, nonprovisional and provisional alike. I love writing patents. It's honestly fun and interesting most of the time. Taking a disclosure given to me, sometimes very complete and detailed, other times bare bones, and drafting something that almost always doesn't look like what I started with 'cause I add details and write it in patent-speak to be broader and more comprehensive. It really is an art. And it's a learned art at that, not something you can figure out by reading books or such. No, the only way, well the best way, to learn this trade is to do it and have your work reviewed by knowledgable, experienced persons. I am incredibly lucky to be working for the firm I am and have this opportunity. I learn from every patent I write, every document I produce, and I put it into the next ones, hopefully improving my skills while producing good work product and earning the firm good fees.

As noted above, I went to UConn Law for my J.D. Although UConn Law has an Intellectual Property (IP) Certificate Program and boasts many IP-related courses, the patent pickings are extremely slim. Slim as in one guaranteed course on Patent Theory and possible seminars, such as one on IP Litigation Strategies that I couldn't fit into my schedule. So although I know a good deal about Patent Theory from that course, UConn Law didn't actually help prepare me to practice Patent Law or write or prosecute patents. Very sad.

One idea I have in the back of my mind is for 2-3 years down the road. All I do at work is write and prosecute patent applications. Very narrow, relatively speaking (as compared with the whole of IP Law or even with Patent Litigation, which is a whole other animal). One idea of mine is to approach UConn Law in 2-3 years, after I can claim to have some experience, even minimal, and suggest I teach or co-teach a Patent Drafting/Prosecution seminar. Nothing too fancy, maybe only a 2-credit course, but something to help prepare interested students so they have an idea how to write and/or prosecute patents. As I said, it's an art, but one that can be learned with practice. If offered the chance, I know a number of students would be interested in such a course and it would be extremely helpful for post-law school work. Heck, in 2-3 years I could probably use some case files I've written (with client & firm permission, of course!) as examples of good and bad and as practice. Again, this is just something I have tucked away in the back recesses of my mind. Y'know, if I survive that long with some mild sense of sanity intact. (*nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink*)

In any case, tomorrow I go into work in the morning (though not for my 8-9am goal I suspect, due to the 2 feet of snow on my car and some pressing errands that I really need to take care of asap) and I'll work on drafting a patent application that I was working on last week. Fun stuff. I finished the Background and am now left with reviewing the Detailed Description, probably adding at least one Figure, and, oh yeah, writing the effin claims. Actually, the claims for this one shouldn't be too hard 'since although it is a technology-oriented subject matter (which I won't reveal), the patent/invention is directed to more superficial aspects of the item. Still, I'm enjoying it.

One thing I'm still working on for this blog is figuring out some way of incorporating more law posts into the fold. Since I graduated, the legal content here as diminished to almost nil (or perhaps nil). Not quite what I'd like to see. However, my job is writing patents. What can I write about that? I don't know. I don't want to start writing a 'How To' 'cause that might be trade secret material, infringing on work product, heck it might be bad advice. Plus, providing legal advice in a general context is never a good idea liability-wise.

I don't want to start researching legal material for specific blog legal posts. That would take more time than I'm willing to dedicate and I doubt I'd say much terribly interesting without a good amount of effort and thought.

Yet I don't want to give up on the legal aspect of this blog, what legal aspect there ever was. It doesn't feel enough to merely mention my job and such and call this a 'blawg' -- that feels thin, a sham. No, I want to find something to talk about, I just don't know what.

I'll try to think about it some in the coming weeks, figure something out if I can. The thing is nothing I do at work really dovetails into potential blog-post material. I don't see an in. Maybe the blog becomes more of a personal blog until I find something. Goodness knows it couldn't but benefit from more posts, personal or legal. It just bothers me.

Then again, if I'm not finding interesting legal things to post about, maybe I should be. Maybe I should be trying to keep up on current IP law, like I did at my part-time job during law school. (Granted we had monthly meetings that meant I had to research recent IP Law at least every other month.) I mean, I should stay on top of developing IP Law. I will run into it. But I can't bill for that. And that is what my employment is all about - the almighty billable hour. Thankfully work is a little relaxed in that I don't need to organize my life in 6-minute increments, I can go minute-by-minute, but the almighty billable does reign supreme. And due to my recent illness, I am oh so dreadfully behind thus far this year. I'm not sure I'll be able to make it all up but once I start feeling better you'd better believe I'm gonna try my hardest. (I'm talking 8-9 hour days, weekends, the works.)

Anyways, long enough post. Tangentially related to law. Sort of. And late enough now that I need to take the dogs out, grab a snack & head up to bed. At least I get to read my book a bit before bedtime. W00t for vampire pr0n.