“The people I work with at the USPTO are experienced, knowledgeable, and eager to work as a team. In that environment, challenging work is satisfying.”
A Drive for Challenging Work
Some say that hallmark qualities of great intellectual property attorneys include intelligence, drive, and specialized knowledge.
Whichever the right combination of these qualities may be, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) members say that judicial law clerk Charles (“Chuck”) has all three.
Not all judicial law clerks come straight from law school. Chuck was a practicing attorney before joining the PTAB’s judicial clerkship program. To Chuck, the judicial clerkship is a springboard for career aspirations to one day practice before PTAB.
“If you are interested in practicing before the PTAB, the judicial clerkship program is an excellent way to develop skills and insight into the forum, and set yourself apart from your peers,” he notes.
This drive for challenging work has been a long-running theme in both Chuck’s professional and personal pursuits. His passion for excellence led him to gain a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Florida before he attained his law degree from the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School.
He brings this same passion to his active lifestyle as a runner and cyclist. Chuck has found that working at the USPTO lets him balance work with getting out to the beautiful areas surrounding Alexandria, VA.
A big part of this enjoyable work culture stems from the colleagues at work. “The people I work with at the USPTO are experienced, knowledgeable, and eager to work as a team,” Chuck comments. “In that environment, the work is both challenging and satisfying.”
“Constantly Learning New Things”
Chuck supports PTAB judges by performing legal research, proposing outcomes, and preparing drafts of orders and decisions. To accomplish these tasks, he independently considers and evaluates arguments, writes as clearly as possible, and works to quickly gain an understanding of unfamiliar legal issues and technical concepts.
“The work for each day varies quite a bit,” Chuck says, “I am constantly learning new things…the judges I have worked with have all been eager to discuss the underlying reasoning behind the resolution of the issues we are working on.”
During his judicial clerkship, he has already attended a hearing before the Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) consisting of the USPTO’s Director Andrei Iancu; the Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld; and the PTAB’s Chief Judge, Scott Boalick. “It was great to watch [in person],” Chuck shares.
PTAB also gives him the unique opportunity to attend some of the same ongoing trainings that are offered to judges, which Chuck values as “a great way to stay up to date on emerging issues and best practices.”
What’s the best training he’s received? There’s no doubt in Chuck’s mind: “the opportunity to work directly with PTAB judges,” he says. “For almost any issue, no matter how specific, there is a judge at PTAB not only familiar with it, but an expert on it.”
Just six months into his judicial clerkship, Chuck’s experience as a PTAB judicial law clerk has been an unforgettable one, both professionally and personally.
“The USPTO makes an effort to provide its employees tools to make them as effective as possible at their work,” Chuck notes. “It’s a great environment to learn, and I am glad to have the opportunity to contribute to the central role the USPTO plays in the US patent system.”