Trip to CAFC, VORYS, GW Law, and the USPTO (2018):
We began our day at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. After going through security, we met with Kevin Sprenger, a cofounder and past president of SIPS, and Chief Deputy Clerk Jarrett B. Perlow. Mr. Perlow spoke with us about his daily routine and his career. Following that, we observed multiple cases that covered many topics ranging from design and utility patents to the legalese used in patent applications. It was interesting to see how seemingly basic concepts, such as the definition of the letter ‘R’ on a patent application, could be interpreted differently.
Our next stop took us to Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease LLP, a firm that specializes in patent litigation. We were able to sit down with Bill Klima, father of Ryan Klima who is a former president of SIPS; Mr. Klima is now of counsel at Vorys. Mr. Klima gave us an overview of his career including his education, his experience working as a patent examiner, and his work now in fields of technology and patents. Mr Klima also gave us valuable advice in preparing for law school as well as life outside of school. We were very thankful to be able to sit down with Mr. Klima and learn more about work inside patent litigation.
We were fortunate enough to have a hour long conversation with the Associate Dean for Intellectual Property Law Studies at The George Washington Law School in the afternoon. Dean Whealan spoke candidly on the value of not only pursuing higher education, but also the value of recognizing your passions while managing such a commitment. Dean Whealan emphasized the variety of paths which people take into not only the intellectual property field, but into legal field as well which resonated well with our general pre-law studies students. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and connect with Dean Whealan and to tour such a renowned law school on our trip.
We then arrived at the United States Patent and Trademark Office at where current examiner Kevin Sprenger gave a tour of the campus. After clearing security, we traveled to Kevin’s office where we asked him various questions related to life as an examiner. Kevin told us about his daily routine, quality of life, and why we should consider working for the USPTO after college.
Trip to USPTO, CUA Law, and VORYS (2017):
In March 2017, SIPS traveled to Washington D.C. for a full day of networking. Starting the day at 9am, we visited the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America (CUA). We received a tour as well as a question and answer session with two current students. We learned about the CUA curriculum as well as received some tips on how to succeed as a law student.
Next, we traveled to the United States Patent Office (USPTO) to speak with SIPS founder, Kevin Sprenger. We spoke with Kevin about previous SIPS achievements, the direction the club is taking in the future, and how we want to involve the alumni network. We walked down to the patent office cafeteria to grab a quick lunch and made our way to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) hearing rooms. We sat in on a trial, watched two parties argue for the validation or invalidation of a patent, and then met with the presiding judges for a brief overview of the case as well as a Q&A about life as a patent attorney.
From there, we traveled to the heart of D.C. to Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease to speak with a long-time supporter of SIPS, Bill Klima. We met with Mr. Klima and a trademark attorney to discuss potential options for undergraduates looking to pursue a career in patent law or intellectual property. We finished the evening with an informal dinner with Kevin Sprenger and a wrap-up discussion concerning the PTAB case and other questions concerning the field of intellectual property, patent law, and a career starting at the USPTO. The trip was a great opportunity for our members to meet some major players in the intellectual property field as well as build on their knowledge about building a career in IP. Looking forward to future networking events!
World Intellectual Property Day (2017):
Each year the Student Intellectual Property at Virginia Tech celebrates World Intellectual Property Day to raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs affects daily life and to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe. On World IP Day, we encourage people to reflect about the role of intellectual property in our changing world. Student and faculty innovators and entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend this event and display their innovation and/or start-up ideas and progress. This is a great opportunity for them to publicize their achievements and inform the community about the impact they are making on the future.
Intellectual Property Symposium (2016):
In October of 2016, four Virginia Tech students travelled to William and Mary and received a small tour of the law school, received information about applying to the school, talked with students and professors at a lunch panel, and attended a symposium with four experts in fields that relate to design patents. The topic of the symposium was design patents, with an emphasis on the Apple v. Samsung court case. The event was followed by a reception with informal discussion with students attending William and Mary law school.
Intellectual Property Conference and Pitch Competition (2015):
SIPS co-hosted a pitch competition with E-Club in April of 2015. This event included a chance for local (Blacksburg) entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas and start-ups to a panel of intellectual property experts. This panel critiqued the ideas and discussed potential pit-falls and intellectual property issues these entrepreneurs may face. The goal of this event was to promote awareness of intellectual property subject matter that is relevant to student inventors and young entrepreneurs in the area.