Kyla B.

PTAB judicial law clerk

“I get a firsthand look at how the patent legal system is portrayed through the eyes of those who have been senior associates, partners, patent examiners, and are now administrative patent judges.” 

 

Background 

Kyla’s young but robust career is one that seems to have no limits. With a bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry from Syracuse University and a juris doctor from American University Washington College of Law, Kyla has worked hard to position herself to be a stellar patent attorney in the future.  

“I knew I wanted to be a patent attorney; why not work at the one place where all the patents in the United States are filed? I love that about the USPTO,” Kyla says. As a law student, she took the initiative to apply for both an externship and then later a clerkship at the USPTO. 

She was selected for both. “The USPTO feels like a community and not just a job,” Kyla says. “There are always fun events to be a part of and there is a great work-life balance.” 

Benefitting from PTAB’s one-of-a-kind judicial clerkship 

In her judicial law clerk role, Kyla spends her time assisting a panel of three of judges from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in the adjudication of post grant proceedings. She also reviews briefs, attends hearings, and provides judges with recommendations on cases. “It is the only clerkship where you work solely on patent law cases and you have the opportunity to clerk for three judges,” Kyla says. 

Working with different judges has been Kyla’s favorite part of her PTAB judicial clerkship. “The judges at the USPTO have years of experience in patent law and are more than happy to share that knowledge with me,” Kyla says. “I love hearing about their different experiences and why they made the choice to become a judge for the PTAB. I also enjoy that I get a firsthand look at how the patent legal system is portrayed through the eyes of those who have been senior associates, partners, patent examiners, and are now administrative patent judges.”  

Some of Kyla’s most meaningful project work has included helping to draft a Fintiv analysis section in a decision of institution for one judge she works with. “I researched precedential decisions to see how the Board analyzed Fintiv factors, and how I could help do the same for my judge. I also created a presentation for my judge that helped layout a clear analysis of Fintiv for our case,” Kyla says. 

Kyla also benefitted from attending a mock hearing for the LEAP Program where she listened to novice attorneys argue in front of seasoned administrative patent judges and receive honest feedback in real time. Exposure to invaluable experiences like these support Kyla’s own future career success. 

Early career experience at the highest level 

Kyla capitalized on the opportunity to do even more while being a clerk at the USPTO by serving on a detail in the Office of the Under Secretary and Director, where she gained firsthand experience about how the agency functions at the highest level.  

“My rotation with the Director’s office is definitely a career highlight,” Kyla says. “The majority of the people who work with the Director have many years’ worth of experience. However, I’m a recent law school graduate and already have an opportunity to sit in on the Director’s meetings!”  

Impressively, Kyla’s experience in the Director’s office marks the third office Kyla has worked in at the USPTO in two years. She participated in the student externship program in the Office of Patent Legal Administration (OPLA) prior to becoming a PTAB judicial law clerk. 

“Do it!” 

Kyla emphasizes that the three skills she draws most heavily upon nearly every day at work are “good writing skills, knowledge of patent law, and a willingness to learn.” These are the same key skills she will continue to draw upon in her future career as a patent attorney. 

After her clerkship, Kyla hopes to work for a private intellectual property law firm in Washington, D.C. With her already impressive early career experience, she is well-positioned to pursue that and any other goals she sets for herself. Kyla sums up her admirable, no-limits career mentality perfectly when asked what advice she would give to anyone else interested in becoming a PTAB law clerk: “Do it!”