Spotlight On: Choosing a career path in IP

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In recognition of World IP Day last week, we asked some of our clients and international IP firms what led them to choose a career path in IP. Here is what they had to say:


“I had spent nearly 20 years doing research, the latter part of which I started to think about how I could protect what I was doing. I wanted to help create assets for my employer, not just data or new products, but an asset that could be tradeable, one that could be a commercial asset that helped the bottom line. I started to think commercially, not just scientifically. Working with new innovations and the IP law also fed my need to be intellectual – the thirst for knowledge every day.” – Anna Johnston, CSIRO

  “It was a fortunate accident!  My high school teachers discouraged law school (“too many lawyers”) and steered me to a nearby science and engineering school. After getting my undergraduate degree, I went to law school anyway and was steered towards a patent course by someone who heard I had a chemistry degree. I happened to have a great professor who taught several IP courses (while still having a busy patent practice) back before IP courses were common, and he guided me to this area.” – Tracy Bornman, Hovey Williams LLP

“This path began when I was a post-doc and began writing grants in earnest. While writing grants, I started to think about the big picture of where the research projects could lead and how they could have an impact on the world. This, along with a conversation with a childhood friend who was a patent attorney, led me to consider patents as one of the key tools for getting good science out of the lab and into the world. This led me to study for (and pass!) the US Patent Bar while I was still a post-doc.” – Kerry Fluhr, CSIRO