From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

December 2021
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Careers AFTB. Patent agents and attorneys
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 8:56 am

When was the last time you attended an ACS Local
section meeting?  My last one provided a rich
storehouse of information, some introductions to
new contacts and a great chance to reconnect, in

The meeting was held at Emmanuel College
in Boston’s Fens district and had Dr. Christine
as the featured speaker offering her take
on what it is like move from chemical research
to her enjoyable career, now as vice president for
intellectual property and legal affairs for Hydra

There are some wonderful ACS workshops
on Careers in this field AFTB (away from the
bench), but they do not provide the insights
Christine shared.  Some highlights of Dr. Bellon’s
remarks about her career were:

-  at a law firm, you work at the behest of the
partners for clients and their products and interests.
This means if you are there at 3 pm on Friday and
a call or emergency comes in you are likely to
be working late and through the weekend.
Time is not your own, and time is measured
in “billable hours”, in 6 minute increments, for
on average about 2000 hours per year.  “There
is an app for this!”

- no matter where you are, there is a lot of reading
and writing in the legal arena.  One has to learn to
choose what to read and not read thoroughly, what
and how to express things in precise formulaic
  In fact, one of the smart things to do for
chemical professionals is work with your legal
experts.  Have them read and assess patent
information in existing patents. 

A hidden nugget that the
legal arena is imbedded
in PCs and PC software that may not be the most

- the 3 year patent law school process is intensive
becoming an attorney (it is slightly longer, 4
years, for part-time students).  One of the biggest

hurdles is working with the patent office.

Others who attended this wonderful talk
probably learned many other notions.

4 Responses to “Careers AFTB. Patent agents and attorneys”

  1. site admin Says:

    Dr. Bellon indicated that the term of patents is 20 years,
    21 for foreign applicants if they apply for a US patent
    364 days after their foreign filing. The term is from the
    formal date of filing. 1
    If two concerns develop prototypes and desire patents
    the first to invent, despite the filing date, is given
    preference in the interference, using their notebooks.

  2. site admin Says:

    Patents, Chris Bellon, said must be useful, novel and
    not obvious to one skilled in the art. What she added
    was that the claims must be “enabled” and “sufficiently

    Enabled is embodied by claims that demonstrate the
    scope of the idea. She provided the U of R vs Pfizer
    case for Cox 2 inhibitors for treating inflammation.
    U of R did not make the compounds. 3

    Sufficiently Described was reviewed by pointing out
    that Eli Lilly brought a case that Arriad Pharmaceutical
    over-reached their claims in not providing enough
    detailed examples
    . 4
  3. site admin Says:

    Chris Bellon talked about controversies in the emerging
    patent reform debate. She described it in terms of patent
    interests of two extremes of industries– computer
    software and pharma.
                                        software                  pharma
    penalties for               weaker                    stronger

    Length of time           shorter                     longer
      patent protection

    Timing                        first to file                 first to invent
  4. site admin Says:

    Peter Huber in the WSJ wrote about the patent office and
    patent trolls. Very interesting to note:  a patent does not
    have to show significant advancement of the art, it is up
    to the patent examiner to find out why it doesn’t a patent
    gets to 25 hours of review 4,000 patents are granted per
    week. 2 % of patents end up in court action.

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