Hunter A. Horton, Intellectual Property Attorney at Erise IP

Hunter is an Intellectual Property attorney. He clerked for two and a half years at Erise IP, P.A. during law school prior to starting full-time and is approaching the end of his third full year full-time. In total,  Hunter has spent approximately five and a half years in the IP law profession. The following is his Q & A interview.

How did you get into a career in IP law?

My inspiration for a career in IP law goes back to my sophomore year at the Missouri University of Science and Technology while seeking my Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. I was a new member of Omega Chi Epsilon, the Chemical Engineering Honor Society. This society focused on expanding its member’s networking opportunities and enlarging the scope of possibilities for future career paths.

In this vein, high-profile speakers were routinely brought in to share their career experiences and to answer questions on the transition from education to employment. A specific speaker that caught my attention was a patent attorney employed at a large law firm in St. Louis, Missouri. At that point, I had never considered law school as a potential path after engineering. The interconnection between the two seemed foreign to me, but I was intrigued.

The speaker detailed the facets of an IP career—including constant exposure to new innovation and cutting-edge disciplines and the ability to work the front lines of technological advancements, global brands, etc. By that point, I was hooked. After the presentation, I pulled the speaker aside to gauge the steps it would take to reach my new goal. Later that week, I began researching law schools and nearby cities with a spur of innovation (and thus a need for IP protection). I locked in Kansas City, Missouri, and St. Louis, Missouri as the two most viable nearby candidates and started working toward my goal.

Why did you think this would be a good career for you?

IP law represented the growth of intellectual advancement, which is at the core of any young engineer. I knew the constant evolution of creative ideas in a diverse range of industries would continue to keep me engaged in my endeavors. Additionally, I wanted to fully utilize the interpersonal skills developed during academia to counsel clients on high-technology matters and protect intellectual capital.

What are the top 3 things you really like about working in IP law?

The benefits of a career in intellectual property are many. The top three, in my personal experience, are as follows:

  1. On a day-to-day basis, analyzing a variety of technically complex projects to make each day new and exciting;
  2. On a project-by-project basis, diving deep into a single technology within a large, general field to become an “expert” on that invention; and
  3. The ability to do both of the above while maintaining, most of the time, a great work-life balance.

What is one thing you dislike (or that may stress you out) about the work?

The largest stressor, in my opinion, is the times when the scale of the work-life balance tips largely the other way. Every career involves what I like to term the “tax season,” where hours worked may dwarf leisure. However, these instances in IP are more infrequent than many other legal professions and, as discussed above, the time spent at work is fulfilling and rewarding.

Do you feel like there are advancement opportunities?

Yes, the legal profession provides clear and structured advancement opportunities. For example, as an associate, one goal is progression to partnership. However, advancement opportunities do not end there. As a partner, you are responsible for your own advancement. You control how to grow your practice and how to develop the firm as a whole. The dichotomy between self-advancement and firm-advancement provides endless opportunities to push forward.

Do you have any tips for people who are looking for their first job in the field?

A few of the most important things to keep in mind when looking for a first job in the IP field are to:

  1. Pick a firm with a diverse client roster. This allows you to move between the many sub-types of IP to find what calls to you;
  2. In line with the previous tip, try not to narrow your career scope too early. There will be plenty of time to specialize later after you have developed your skills at different areas of IP law; and
  3. Do not be afraid to make calls and ask questions before picking a firm. Take a practicing attorney to coffee to discuss the firm culture and what the day-to-day is like. You want to be sure your values match the values of where you will be. Remember, there are times where you will spend more time with your work family than your family at home. So, you want to be sure the environment suits what you are looking for in a career.

Please include any further comments you would like to share that may be helpful for an individual thinking about starting a career in IP law …

My final comment to anyone looking at a career in IP law would be to never stop improving your knowledge and skillset. IP law evolves quickly, and it is imperative to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the shifting market trends. Pay attention to how policy shapes the law and this will keep you at the forefront of your field.

Adam L.K. Philipp, Founding Member of Aeon Law

Adam is a Founding Member of Aeon Law, an Intellectual Property law firm. Adam has worked in the IP law profession for the last 25 years. The following is his Q & A interview.

Why did you think this would be a good career for you?

IP law is one of the most positive forms of law practice. Many lawyers see their clients during the worst periods of their lives. IP attorneys get to help creators unleash their genius and bring their creations into the world.

What are the top 3 things you really like about working in IP law?

Working with cutting edge technologies. Helping creators. Working with smart geeky fellow attorneys.

What is one thing you dislike (or that may stress you out) about the work?

People underestimate how challenging it is to get good IP protection.

Do you feel like there are advancement opportunities?

Yes, IP attorneys are often highly valued members of firms and/or companies.

Do you have any tips for people who are looking for their first job in the field?

    1. Get a good technology/science (STEM) education.
    2. Become a great persuasive writer

If you own an IP law firm please share with us your story on how you went from being employed in the field to starting your own firm.

I realized I was a rainmaker and could bring in my own clients. So I took the clients I had and started my own firm and continued to bring in new clients.

Please include any further comments you would like to share that may be helpful for an individual thinking about starting a career in IP law …

Legal writing skills are the #1 skill I look for in new hires. Practice, practice, practice.

Clifford Thomas Brazen, Patent Attorney at Erise IP

Clifford is a Patent Attorney who has been working in the IP profession since September 2014. From September 2014 until May 2016 Clifford was working on the patent prosecution side of patent law. In May 2016, Clifford moved to his current position at Erise IP, focusing on IP litigation. The following is his Q & A interview.

How did you get into a career in IP law?

I went to college to study engineering because I was great at math and science in high school. Toward the end of my sophomore year, I realized that an engineering career was not for me. Both of my parents were lawyers, so I decided to take an introduction to law class just to learn more about their professions and ended up really enjoying it. Pretty shortly thereafter I decided on law school. At first, because I knew I did not want to be an engineer, I kept my options open and was not committed to IP law from the start. But pretty quickly I learned that IP law let me get the best of both worlds.

While I did not want a career in engineering, I still enjoyed learning about science and engineering. IP law gave me the chance to think and act like a lawyer, but in subject matter areas I still really enjoyed it. On top of that, having the engineering background not only gave me a leg up when competing for jobs, but it also gave me the foundation I needed to make the day to day learning of complex subject matter much simpler.

What are the top 3 things you really like about working in IP law?

Getting to learn about different technologies across many different fields; getting to work on not just hard IP (e.g., patents), but also getting to work on cases involving soft IP (e.g., copyright, trademark, trade secret); getting to focus on, and become a specialist in, a very particular field of law.

What is one thing you dislike (or that may stress you out) about the work?

While the exposure to different technologies across different fields is one of the pluses of the field, sometimes a case will involve a complex technology I’ve had no exposure to. This can be stressful at the start, but ultimately it’s gratifying to put in the work, learn the subject matter, and ultimately get to the point where you can explain the complicated technology to the Court or laypeople.

Do you feel like there are advancement opportunities?

Absolutely. While my experience is somewhat limited having only worked in smaller, boutique-style firms, advancement opportunities have always been available to me.

Do you have any tips for people who are looking for their first job in the field?

While it can be appealing to just apply for and take the highest paying job opportunities out there, I would also encourage you to really try to learn about a firm or company’s culture and whether you’ll be a good fit there. While money is important, you will be spending a lot of time with your coworkers. For me, it was important that I really enjoyed the people I worked with and that I fit in with the culture. Doing that has definitely had a positive benefit on my mental health and helped me avoid attorney burnout.

Ted D. Karr, IP Attorney & Partner at Berkeley Law & Technology Group LLP

Ted is an IP attorney and partner at Berkeley Law & Technology Group LLP, headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

He has worked in the field of intellectual property law since 2001.

The following is his Q & A interview.

How did you get into a career in IP law?

My first job out of law school was with Intel Corporation. I was assigned to the intellectual property group.

Why did you think this would be a good career for you?

I also have a business background and MBA and the IP team works closely with the business team.

What are the top 3 things you really like about working in IP law?

  • Helping companies align their IP strategy with their business strategy.
  • Seeing new ideas and cutting edge innovation.
  • I also enjoy the fact that IP law often involves an international perspective.

Do you feel like there are advancement opportunities?

Yes, IP law offers a lot of opportunities for advancement given its complexity.

Do you have any tips for people who are looking for their first job in the field?

You could start in a corporation like I did or you could start out at a law firm. Either approach can be rewarding.

I joined a firm after being in the field for a few years. I became a partner a couple of years after joining the firm.

Share with us your story of the path you took to become a partner.

I worked for Intel Corporation for five years. I was then recruited to join a law firm. After 2 years I became a partner at the firm.

Covid-19 and the Patent Bar

Covid-19 has caused enormous stress and trauma to our society and unfortunately, the strain doesn’t seem like it will end in 2020. I very much hoping that things will start to look up in 2021, but depending on when in 2021, it could still be a while. So I’d like to talk briefly about the impact Covid-19 has had on the Patent Bar exam.

For starters, the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) has extended out the scheduling window to 180 days. This used to be only 90-days. But now, once you send in your application and are accepted to take the exam, you will have 180 days within which to take it. This is temporary so we haven’t changed this anywhere on our site. We expect the OED will post a notice on their site and let us know when they plan to move it back to the original 90-days.

As far as scheduling your exam, that happens with Prometric and you can have delays depending on which Prometric center you are planning to sit for the exam at. Prometric does have a Covid-19 update page where you can see the latest information on how the pandemic is impacting testing at their locations. You can also check their open sites list which displays the sites that are currently open.

They also offer a closed site list so you can see which facilities are closed and get an estimated date as to when they will open. The USPTO will hopefully work with Prometric and allow you to have longer for scheduling your test date depending on where you are located.

Lastly, some of the Prometric testing centers are only open for essentially testing. The Patent Bar is not considered an essential test.

The Prometric site also includes procedures for arrival and check-in. They do require you to wear a mask (one without valves) the entire time at the test center. They also ask that you do not take the test if you have been diagnosed or exposed to someone with Covid-19 within the past 14-days, have traveled from a highly infected area in the past 14-days, or you are experiencing flu or cold-like symptoms.

The main thing to consider is that while none of this is ideal, you can still take the Patent Bar exam and put this exam behind you. Completing this during the pandemic will be a major accomplishment. We’ve already had several clients pass this year and hope to hear from more. It’s not as seamless as in the past (nothing is right now), but if starting a career in patent law is a goal of yours, it will be well worth the extra efforts you put in.  There’s no reason to wait!

Patent Bar Updates on Source Materials Starting October 13, 2020


The USPTO changed the source materials of the Patent Bar exam starting October 13th, 2020. Our course includes the newest updates. Fortunately, the Patent Bar exam is still tested over the same version of the MPEP which is the Ninth Edition, Revision 08.2017 (January 2018 publication). This has been the tested version of the MPEP for the last few years. In addition, prior to the October updates, the exam covered 6 PDF supplements. These include the following:

  1. Inter Partes, Post Grant, and Covered Business Method Review Final Rules (77 Fed. Reg. 48680, August 14, 2012)
  2. Derivation Proceeding Final Rules (77 Fed. Reg.56068, September 11, 2012)
  3. Changes to Representation of Others Before the USPTO Final Rules
  4. Implementation of the Global and IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot Programs with Participating Offices
  5. Changes to the Claim Construction Standard for Interpreting Claims in Trial Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Final Rules

These supplements are all still tested on the exam. So the bulk of the material is the same. The only change to the source materials on the exam is the addition of one PDF which is:

This PDF is 17 pages long and summarizes the changes to the Trials before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Since there is only one new addition to the exam and it is only 17 pages long, the difference between pre- and post- October exams is not much.

The PES Patent Bar review has added in the new PDF as well as provided a summary of it. We added this in August just in case any of our clients needed to get a head start. Seeing how little the exam has been updated also helps lower anxiety for anyone who has to take the exam right after the change.

Also, keep in mind that the Patent Bar exam must offer new questions as beta questions. That means the questions on this new PDF will likely not count on your exam score for several months.

You will also have access to it on the day of the exam. Since it is so short, as long as you familiarized yourself with the contents beforehand, it should be easy to find any details you need during the exam.

I hope that helps you see exactly what the October 2020 updates are to the exam and how they should not create any extra stress for you!

Destigmatizing Failing a Big Exam – Don’t Let Failure Cloud Your Judgment

In the United States alone, anxiety is considered the single most common mental illness. Yet while only 18 percent of the adult population suffers from anxiety, it’s estimated that a staggering 60 percent of college students deal with debilitating fear in their day to day life.

Whether it’s homesickness or the pressures of academia, this common problem isn’t a secret among those in college. People studying for professional exams like the patent bar exam can feel it too. Students routinely skip out on meals, socializing, and sleep just to scrape by in higher-level exams.

The paralyzing fear of failure doesn’t just impact students, either. All over the country, administrators wax poetic about the fifty percent failure rate in introductory classes or stagnating freshman retention rates.

If you’re one of those who are struggling, you may find yourself routinely underperforming on exam day. Maybe you have one too many bad memories of test days. Or maybe you find yourself suffering from the physiological signs of anxiety that impede progress: hand tremors, social anxiety, nausea, and sweating.

Don’t let the fear of failure cloud your judgment. Leading up to exam day, take some appreciable steps to remain clear-headed.

Realize that Failure Isn’t a Huge Deal

It can feel impossible to perform when the deck is stacked against you. Learners commonly crunch the precise numbers they’ll need to pass the exam and progress.

Unfortunately, many fall victim to the pressures set by others. Both employers and peers set the stakes by reacting with shock or aversion to learners’ perceived underperformance.

Repeated underperformance may negatively impact your self-confidence. Not only do you imagine yourself incapable of success, but you may also perceive the results of failure as “world ending and ruinous”.

To restructure your fear, examine your own bodily and mental reactions to the thoughts of failure. In the vast majority of cases, failure isn’t that disastrous.

Instead, consider what actionable steps you can take if your worst fear materializes. Plan to open up a dialogue with the professor about your struggles, ask for extra credit opportunities, or even re-take the course.

Reframe failure as an opportunity to reflect on what needs work. Exploring our own discomforts is one of the best opportunities we have to learn and grow.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

Persistent exam anxiety is both a cause and symptom of self-isolation. If you fear failure, it can be difficult or potentially embarrassing to open up with people who may be able to help you.

Sensitive people won’t punish you for perceived faults. You’ve got to trust that the people you’ve surrounded yourself with have the best interest for you at heart.

Most importantly, speaking with peers and employers can assure you that you aren’t alone in struggling with test-day anxiety. Chances are if you fear exam failure, a considerable number of your peers do too.

Top Benefits of Taking Patent Bar Prep Through an Online Course

Becoming a lawyer is a goal that is difficult to achieve. Besides the endless hours of study in college and law school, there’s the dreaded bar exam that sends most would-be lawyers into a state of fear and loathing. If you’re seeking a career as a patent lawyer, then you still have to master the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases or Patent Bar Exam (or patent bar) before your new job as a patent law attorney can begin.

Take an Online Patent Bar Review Course Before Testing

Whether you’re a scientist or engineer looking to become a patent agent or a law student looking forward to a lucrative career as a patent attorney, passing the patent bar exam is an absolute must before your career can begin.

The good news is that there is a lot of help out there. Taking advantage of the help often means passing the patent bar exam and get your career in patent law moving forward much faster. One of the best ways to prepare for the patent bar exam is to take an online patent bar prep course. Some of the benefits of an online patent bar prep course include:

  • Higher passing percentage than self-study
  • Increased retention of information
  • Outlines that include tested materials
  • Practice questions with reviews to evaluate strong and weak points
  • Self-paced study for better time management
  • No travel necessary

Benefits of Online Patent Bar Prep

There are over 4000 pages of information in the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (or MPEP) which is what the exam covers. Attempts at passing the bar exam through self-study of the MPEP often fail due to the massive amounts of information the manual contains. While self-study may be the most economical way to prepare for the patent bar, it is also the most difficult, time-consuming, and usually fails.

Online review courses offer the convenience of studying at your own pace with well-developed learning strategies proven to be effective. While there are other types of review courses, such as classes and seminars, approximately 50 percent of test-takers opt for an online review course to prepare for the exam.

Why E-learning is so Effective

Online learning has changed the way we teach and learn. In today’s competitive and fast-paced world, education holds the keys to success. The more and faster a person learns, the higher their chances of success and reaching their goals are. Online learning is so effective because it is mobile, self-paced, and personalized.

More Benefits of an Online Patent Bar Review Course

The patent bar exam is administered in two sessions in one day, and each session lasts three hours. The test consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that cover the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) topics on ethics, procedures, federal patent statutes, and regulations. Simply put, there’s a lot of material to review. An online review course will help you prepare by using some of the following:

Lectures: Online lectures can be retaken and considered as many times as necessary. This is especially important when it comes to preparing for exams since many tests are often updated and revised.

24 Hour Access to Course Material: If you’re under time constraints, you can study, attend a class, or lecture or take a test to assess your skill level at any time of day.

Updated Courses and Information: As patent laws are changed, amended, and updated, the patent bar exam may change. Online courses offer updated content to keep you up to date on the information necessary to pass the exam.

The best option for passing the patent bar is to choose an online review course that suits your course needs and concerns and provides the needed materials. We’ve been helping people pass the exam for over 19 years; give the Patent Education Series patent bar review a try.


Learn Anything Faster

Visual with man and tablet and graphic like gears around.

Preparing for exams can be tiring, stressful and frustrating, especially when it is a career-defining exam such as the patent bar exam. In such cases, it helps to have some study tips on how to learn things quicker and more effectively.

Read this article to get tips for learning things faster.

Sleep Well

It is of paramount importance that you are not sleep deprived when starting your study session. Ensure that you are well rested, energetic and fresh before sitting to prepare for the patent bar exam so that you are able to memorize the content quickly, more easily, and conveniently. When studying with a fresh mind, you are also able to retain the information for much longer.

Teach What You Learn

Many people claim that teaching fellow students and course mates what they have recently learned themselves helps them to keep that matter fresh and acts a revision session for them. Also, teaching others does not always involve the same learning techniques, you have to opt for different, newer teaching approaches. This helps you understand the topic more clearly and enables you to remember it for longer.

Learn in Short Time Bursts

According to memory experts, it is very helpful and effective to learn large amounts of text and information in short bursts of time. Do not sit down for long study sessions. Instead, opt for numerous shorter study sessions. The small study breaks in between each session will help freshen you up and you’ll be able to learn quicker and more efficiently. Brief but frequent learning sessions are much more helpful in retaining all the information that has been assimilated.

Make Handwritten Notes

When making notes, avoid taking them down electronically and instead write them down by hand. Also, when jotting down the important points try to read them out aloud. This will stimulate your brain cells and your senses, thus allowing you to hold on to the information for longer and memorize it quicker. Hand written notes will also improve your focus and attention span and help you participate more actively.

Use Mnemonics

If you find it difficult to learn all the clauses and statements for the patent bar exam, try using mnemonics. It could be a music mnemonic involving a song or maybe color mnemonics that might help you memorize the matter more quickly. You could also create letter sequences to form sentences in order to better learn the text.

Use Mental Spacing

Mental spacing can help accelerate the learning process significantly. Try distributing your learning material for different days of the week. Going back to it after a pause will help you take it in quickly and you will be able to remember it for much longer.

These are all the tips that you can try in order to prepare for the patent bar exam quickly and more effectively.

Giving Up on the Patent Bar: Don’t Do It

Young man sitting on floor looking dejected.

If you’ve failed the patent bar exam or have been unsuccessful in completing your preparation for it more times than you can count, you might consider giving up altogether. All of us have faced failure in our lives multiple times. Some of these setbacks make us stronger while others demoralize and dishearten us. However, giving up in the name of adversity does not solve any problems, instead, it makes them worse. Here is why you should reconsider your decision of dropping out and giving up.

1. It’s OK if You’ve Failed the Patent Bar Before

Maybe you’ve failed the patent bar exam and feel unintelligent, demoralized and extremely disheartened. It may be perfectly natural to feel this way, however, this does not mean that you should continue to feel the same way endlessly. The patent bar exam is difficult, challenging and agreeably hard to clear in one go. It is perfectly fine if you did not pass it the first time since countless people re-sit the exam every single year. You can always work harder, prepare better, and try your hand at it again.

Learn from the mistakes that you made the first time around, focus on your weaknesses, and work on them. You will soon notice a significant improvement and this will help boost your self-confidence for taking the exam once again.

2. You’re Afraid You Might Not Pass It

You have prepared tirelessly for the upcoming patent bar exam and have left no stone or page unturned and yet you fear that you might not be able to pass the exam. It’s OK to feel this way, but not giving up on passing the exam just because of the fear of failing is only going to make it tougher for you to try again. By preparing for the exam you are already halfway through; have faith in yourself and revise frequently. You will certainly pass the exam as long as you have prepared well for it.

3. The Feeling of Giving Up Might Only be Temporary

Reviewing your notes, memorizing all the matter and preparing for the patent bar exam can get very exhausting and might overwhelm you, making you want to give up and not sit for the exam altogether. However, this desire to not continue with the preparation and give up on the exam might be temporary and one of the many phases that candidates preparing for the exam go through. It might also just be an impulsive reaction towards the demanding and mentally draining exam.

It’s completely normal and natural to want to give up, but it’s equally important to understand that this uneasiness is only for the time being and is probably being caused because of all the added pressure, stress, and anxiety. Once you have sat for the exam, you will actually be glad that you decided not to give up and went ahead with it. It will be a turning point for you and your career and only benefit you in the future. Therefore, whatever you do, just don’t give up for this too shall pass.