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Patent Law: Protecting Your Ideas & Inventions

By Alec Tapia

On November 9, 2019, Mock Trial and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers co-hosted an event called Patent Law: Protecting your ideas and inventions, which was co-sponsored by the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship. 

The purpose of this event was to educate students on the patenting process and the journey to become a patent attorney. The event included a 30-minute networking session between students and the guest speakers, 45 minutes of discussion led by a student host, 15 minutes of open Q&A from the audience and concluded with an hour of one-on-one conversation.

The main discussion covered several topics such as each speaker’s experience in law school, tips for applying and going through law school, how they knew if law was the route they wanted to take, what a patent is, the immediate and long term effects of filing for a patent, the different types of patents, how to file for a patent, whether or not one should hire an attorney, the average price range for hiring an attorney, and need to know terms such as strict novelty, non-publication, duty of disclosure, and the one year bar.

Following the main discussion, the audience was allowed to pose questions to the panelists in an open Q&A session and also in a post networking session where hors d’oeuvres were served. This allowed for students to maximize their opportunity to learn about patent law and find opportunities in the field.

Promotional poster for Patent Law event
Panelists during the patent law event

Overall, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Mock Trial believe that the event was a great success and will consider hosting this event in the upcoming years with the newly founded Pre-Law Society.

Organizers predicted that fifty people would attend the event and approximately this number of people did end up attending. The range of majors in the audience was the biggest success. Undergraduates in engineering, social science, and humanities along with a handful MBA students, Warner students, and Professor Shanahan attended the event.

Nearly a dozen students waited outside the Hawkins-Carlson room about fifteen minutes before the event began, showing the anticipation for the event. Many students expressed gratitude for hosting the event since this was one of their only chances to learn about and network within the legal world. The legal professionals who spoke were also greatly impressed with the University and the attending students. All three expressed interest in participating again in the future.

Organizers and panelists for the 2019 patent law event

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Mock Trial express our gratitude to the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship for their support in both financing and marketing the event. The sponsored catering provided a great supplement to the networking sessions before and after the main discourse. They also provided a lunch for the speakers as a professional courtesy. In addition, the Ain Center’s reach within its own followers and the Simon School of Business helped attract many business students and entrepreneurs to the event. Both organizations hope to continue working with the Ain Center in the future.

Alec Tapia ’21 is a junior studying Mechanical Engineering and Business. He is predominantly the Business Manager for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the VP of Finance for Beta Theta Pi, and a captain and mentor for Mock Trial. He is proud to have hosted the Patent Law event and bring the disciplines of science/engineering, law, and business/entrepreneurship together to educate attendees, build the University’s interdisciplinary culture, and promote the spirit of Meliora.