Drew N.

PTAB Judicial Law Clerk

“At the USPTO, you work alongside thousands of top minds in law and science. 
Everyone works together to ensure that innovation is encouraged and protected.” 


From bioresearch lab manager to federal government clerk 

Drew grew up outside of Philadelphia, moved to Maryland for college, and has since resided there. After obtaining his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland College Park, he managed a bioresearch laboratory. He next pursued law school at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctor. 

When asked why he pursued a judicial law clerk opportunity with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Drew replies, “I’ve long desired to work at the USPTO. Not only is it an opportunity to serve my country, but it also allows me to work with some of the best minds in intellectual property law.”  

Now that he’s at the agency, he’s enjoying every moment. “There is a wonderful spirit of collaboration here. I especially love the community and work environment.” 

“No two days feel the same” 

In his role, he supports Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) with their cases by reviewing the record and parties’ briefs to assist with analysis and drafting decisions. He also may attend oral hearings or work on other projects and presentations. Drew was even part of a panel that conducted mock oral arguments at the PTAB Bar Association’s annual conference. 

“No two days feel the same,” shares Drew, “and the best part of my clerkship has to be working on cases.” For example, Drew worked on an ex parte appeal that dealt with several rejected claims. To ensure no arguments were missed while he researched and drafted a decision, he skillfully broke them down into subcategories in order to systematically and logically address each one in an organized way. 

“I feel a sense of pride in my work,” he says. “These cases have real world implications and allow me to be on the cutting edge of practicing patent law. It is also incredibly interesting and educational to be able to discuss cases with APJs, hear their opinions, and consider their thought processes.” 

Drew deems working with the APJs an extremely valuable opportunity, especially for someone like him who is beginning a legal career right after law school. Their decades of experience, paired with their sincere desire to mentor clerks, have honed his legal writing and analytical skills. 

Overall, the experience has been unforgettable. “The USPTO does more than just review applications for patents and trademarks—it also helps to develop educational and policy initiatives for the betterment of society,” he explains. “When you work here, you work alongside thousands of top minds in law and science.  Everyone works together to ensure that innovation is encouraged and protected.” 

There’s plenty of room for work-life balance as well. “Working from home during COVID-19 has allowed me to have a more flexible schedule,” says Drew. “Sometimes I will take a break around the end of the workday and then return for an hour or two to finish my day’s work after dinner.” Outside of work, you can find Drew enjoying the good life by fly fishing, wood working, and spending time with his wife and labradoodle puppy named Cal. 

Connections for the future 

Drew has accepted an offer to work as a litigation associate in the intellectual property and technology practice of a private firm after his clerkship. In fact, he’ll work with his former supervisory APJ who is also now with the firm.  “I am looking forward to being able to put what I have learned during my clerkship to use in representing clients, hopefully one day soon having the chance to appear before the PTAB on a matter,” says Drew. 

“I would also love to one day work as an APJ and mentor clerks,” he says. What advice does he give future clerks? “This is an ever-changing area of the law, so be sure to always follow the latest headlines and developments in the jurisprudence. Also, reach out to others at the USPTO, PTAB, or PTAB Bar Association. I have found that everyone here is thrilled to connect and discuss the work they do.”