10 Things You May Not Have Realized were Invented Between 2015 – 2020

The last half-decade has been a remarkable time for innovation and inventions. Consider the following breakthroughs that hit the scene from 2015 to 2020. These notable inventions are helping people improve their lives.

The Levitating Lightbulb

If you want a lightbulb that levitates, you can now get one thanks to Gleagle. The company has released an extensive range of levitating light products. When the power goes off, the lightbulb snaps back into place. For people who want a tech device that will impress friends, this one is it.

PlayStation VR

People who desire to immerse themselves in the world of Virtual Reality can now do so easily with the PlayStation VR. The new version of the PlayStation ships with all the accessories needed to enjoy VR games. PS VR is a simple, turnkey way to get access to the best experiences and games using a familiar gaming console.

Gravity Blankets

Gravity blankets are weighted blankets that provide customers with specific health benefits. The additional weight helps alleviate stress and assists people with restless leg syndrome. Gravity blankets come in an assortment of sizes and colors, so finding one is straightforward. For people who wish to combat stress, these blankets are an accessible option.

The StreetSaw Hoverboard

StreetSaw introduced several hoverboards in 2017 to address the chronic issues most fans of the devices deal with regularly. One of the biggest issues is the battery power. StreetSaw uses Samsung batteries, which provide up to six hours of usage.

Jibo The Robot

Jibo is the first wide-release relatable robot. Unlike other robotic assistants, Jibo has a more humanized look and feel. Jibo does all the things you expect a friendly robot to do with a pleasant demeanor. The project for Jibo was crowd-funded on Indiegogo. It is the first social robot of its kind.

The Carry-on Closet

For travelers, efficiency is a vital quality. The Carry-on Closet is a recent innovation that helps them achieve optimal packing for trips. The unit is a carry-on bag that has integrated shelving.

This keeps the clothes organized while eliminating the need to unpack. When you hang it in any closet, it will expand automatically. When that happens, the traveler gains access to three built-in shelves and other features.

The Folding Bike Helmet

Bikers have long struggled with the issue of what to do with their helmet when they’re not riding. That’s no longer a problem due to the Folding Bike Helmet. Now, it’s easier than ever to fold and unfold the helmet, so it’s available when needed.

Xbox Adaptive Controller

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is a unified hub that empowers gamers (especially ones with limited mobility) to create their perfect environment. With the device, anyone can connect mounts, buttons, switches, and joysticks in any manner they desire.

Solar Powered Jacket

The Solar Powered Jacket solves several problems for people attending outdoor events. The jacket uses the sun’s power to heat itself and also light up the coat. The extra warmth helps you stay healthy while the lights protect you by keeping you visible.

Roomba Self-Emptying Vacuum

The iRobot Roomba i7+ is the world’s first vacuum that can empty itself. For people who prefer as much automation as possible when cleaning, this is a significant breakthrough. iRobot continues to pioneer the world of robotic vacuuming, and the i7+ represents a further step forward in the war on dirty floors.


Innovations and inventions are coming faster than ever, and the market is very accepting of them. People continue to want to make their lives more accessible and comfortable, and these inventions help them do that.


Customizing Your Cover Letter Takes Time But Increases Your Chances of Standing Out

Tailoring your cover letter for each job you apply to adds a bit of time to the application process, but yields excellent results. Customization means personalizing the message to the recipient, which makes you stand out from your competitors.

Appeal to the Person Responsible for Hiring

You should customize your cover letter with the hiring manager in mind. Since that’s the person who can make your dreams come true, it pays to target them precisely. You should have very little trouble finding information when performing standard research. Add the person’s name, and if you’re feeling adventurous, add something personal based on insights you’ve gleaned.

Drop Names for Bonus Points

The world of business runs on personal connections, so don’t be afraid to drop names. If you know people at the company, especially those who would recommend you, add their names in your customized cover letter.

Sometimes a personal recommendation is the fastest way to ensure employment. If you have the potential to tap into existing workers for a kind word, use it.

Clarify Where You Learned About the Opportunity

It’s worth going over where you heard about the opportunity. Most companies are interested in learning how active their job postings are, so this bit of extra information will give them needed insights. It could earn you a bit more attention during the application process.

Display Your Expertise

Ultimately, potential employers are looking to hire the most qualified applicants. Point out why you’re that person in the cover letter. Doing so will help cement you in the mind of the hiring manager as an expert.

Take the extra time to match your qualifications with each of the individual job requirements. That saves the manager from having to dig through too much material. It also elevates your standing because it demonstrates how pro-active you are and the fact that you’re thorough.

Mention Your Results and Skills

It’s also worth recapping your skills and results early on in your cover letter. That helps reinforce that you’re the best candidate and ready for the position.

If possible, you should also match your skills to the requirements. That way, your potential employer will immediately know you’re perfect for the job. It should always be your goal to get the message that you’re the best candidate through in your writing. It may take some time to craft the ultimate letter but think about the rewards.

Don’t Neglect Formatting

Despite wanting to put as much information as possible in the letter, it’s also essential to format it correctly. That means breaking up the message into sections and using techniques like unstructured lists to make things more transparent.

People tend to avoid reading a wall of text. They’re more likely to absorb the details of a letter with excellent formatting.

Double Check Everything

It’s also on you to turn in a mistake-free cover letter and application. Errors will alert your potential employer to the idea that you’re sloppy. That’s the last image you want to present to a long-term employer prospect. It’s worth checking for grammar and factual errors at least a few times before you decide your letter is complete.

With a well-constructed cover letter, it will be easier to get interviews. Hiring managers see all sorts of messages and applications, so many that they may start to blur together in their minds. That’s why it’s worth putting together a composition that forces them to recognize your prowess.

Finding a new job is challenging, but represents an ideal way to move up in the world. Put effort into the initial process, and securing your new job will become more straightforward. A fantastic custom cover letter will help immensely.

10 Things You May Not Have Realized Were Invented Between 2010 – 2015

The years 2010 through 2015 were productive in terms of new inventions. Many of the breakthroughs are still around today, creating dramatic changes in the world. Consider the ten following inventions.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon entered the tablet market with its Kindle Fire in 2013. The device serves up optimized content from Amazon’s vast library, including over 27 million songs, movies, TV shows, books, and popular apps. The device boasts fast internet browsing over Wi-Fi.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay came out and was an excellent way for millions of people to make payments. This service operates both a digital wallet and mobile payment system that empowers people to pay using iOS apps, the web, or in person. Apple Pay opened up vast new markets for millions of Apple customers to make payments.


3D TV kicked off in 2010 to a massive amount of fanfare. It looked like a tech that couldn’t miss because it brought lifelike images and video into the home. However, tons of infighting about which tech to use and a lack of commitment from significant manufacturers saw 3D TVs languish. By 2016, Samsung pulled out of 3D TV, and now no one makes 3D TVs.

Solar Panels

Solar panels hit the scene in 2011, changing how people consume electricity. The U.S. announced a significant commitment to solar power generation in 2010 that saw production capacity rise sharply. With the increased production came a reduction in price, making solar affordable for many. Solar panels continue to expand in market share, as well as improve in cost.

iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 arrived on the market in 2012 and was the last iPhone developed by Steve Jobs. Tim Cook worked with Jobs to release the sixth-generation iPhone, heralding the end of an era.

The phone received lots of attention for its sleek design, 4-inch Retina display, and its fast O/S, hardware, and wireless.


2010 saw the full release of Kickstarter. The website brought a new concept of merchandising and fundraising to help creative projects hit their stride. The platform proved popular with many content creators who needed funding to distribute their work to the world. Kickstarter has proven essential for many consumer products as well as creative works.

Google’s Driverless Car

In 2010, Google jumped into the driverless car market with its car. The project has gone through several phases. Now, the project is under the umbrella of Waymo, which is creating a driverless taxi service.

The English-Speaking Robot

In South Korea, teaching English is in-demand, and 30,000 foreigners are working in the country to teach the language. The English-Teaching Robot does the same job as a teacher but at a lower overall cost. Although it may take many years to get rid of all the English teachers worldwide, many must have trouble sleeping at night knowing that robots are doing their jobs.

The Jetpack

In 2010, the world saw the release of the first commercially viable jetpack. What was once only available for stars in sci-fi movies was now for sale to anyone with enough cash. The Martin Jetpack has had trouble with regulations and is currently classified as an ultralight aircraft. As of last year, the company shuttered its doors.

Formlabs 3D Printer

Although 3D printing technology first entered the scene many years earlier, Formlabs was the first to introduce a mass-market printer for an affordable price. Now, 3D printers are widely available in many price ranges. Formlabs was able to fund the project due to its success raising $3 million using Kickstarter.


2010 to 2015 was a very productive time for inventions, many of which continue to dominate their markets.


10 Things You May Not Have Realized Were Invented in the 2000s

The 2000s were a time of rapid advancement in the world of technology. The decade was particularly fruitful for gadgets, which spread far and wide during the era. Consider these ten leading innovations.

The USB Flash Drive

These portable drives made adding enormous amounts of storage as simple as snapping one into a USB port. USB drives made storing files more natural and more accessible for a significant percentage of the population. In fact, the USB Flash Drive remains a powerful storage device even today.

The Sony PlayStation 3

Games and more casual users fell in love with the PlayStation 3 because it helped introduce several firsts. These firsts included games with remarkable graphics. The console itself offers tons of multimedia support for music, photos, Blu-Ray Discs, and DVDs.

The Blackberry

In 2002, Research in Motion, a Canadian telecom equipment manufacturer, released the Blackberry. The device quickly caught on with business users, who helped propel the brand to the top. The company no longer makes the Blackberry, which lost out to Apple and Google in the mobile phone space.


iPhones hit the market in 2007 and changed how people perceive their phones forever. The device had much more power and features than competitors and dominated the landscape. Apple introduced its App market, and people were able to download thousands of apps to make their phones more functional and robust. The iPhone continues to be a prized possession for many to this day.

Amazon’s Kindle

The release of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader in 2007 had a profound impact on how people consume books. Not only did the device give people a different way to read, but it also prompted authors and publishers to come up with an infinite variety of new offerings.

Garmin GPS

Garmin introduced its GPS for cars in 2000, and it changed people’s attitudes about driving. Now, anyone could easily access GPS coordinates to help map their latest driving adventure. Now GPS systems are available in many different models and formats. Garmin brought the idea to the masses and remains popular.

Apple’s iPod

In 2001, the music industry was facing an existential threat from digital music and pirating. The iPod, along with its accompanying iTunes musical library, paved the way for people to access their favorite tunes legally. Apple licensed music from the top acts and provided a way to monetize digital content that is the blueprint for other services even today.

Camera Phones

The Sharp J-SH04 was the first phone to introduce a camera. That was the start of the selfie movement that still continues. This model was the first to hit the market, and it came with a CCD sensor. This feature empowered users to snap pics on the go. Camera phone users have been doing that ever since.

The J-SH04 proved the commercial potential of camera phones and remained a top feature. Now, it’s almost impossible to think of a camera without a phone.


Facebook first hit the scene in 2004 and began to attract its global user base. The site was initially aimed at Harvard students. After it caught on in Harvard, the hype burned even brighter, and worldwide users piled on to create profiles. Facebook was the most successful of all social networking apps created to this point. These days, 2.37 billion visit the site every month.


In 2005 YouTube hit the scene and changed the concept of streaming permanently. Now, even amateurs could create and distribute their video content with no barrier to entry. The site hosts billions of videos from creators all over the world. YouTube continues to grow, and users upload over 300 hours of videos every day.


As you can see, the 2000s were a very productive time for inventions, many of which continue to dominate their markets even today.

Tips to Advance Your Career in Patent Law

Key opening a door.

Becoming a patent agent or patent attorney is difficult, time-consuming and requires a lot of hard work. Many people seem to slow down and take the job very lightly once they get started. This article discusses some very helpful ways you can do well as a patent practitioner whether agent or attorney and advance in your patent law career.

Give it Your Best

Whether you’re new to the job or an experienced veteran, many patent practitioners fail to accomplish the tasks and assignments assigned to them. In order to succeed in your patent law career, ensure that you’re fulfilling all your duties and doing them to the best of your abilities. This will not only give you more exposure in the field, but also polish your skills.

Complete your assignments on time, do them well, and regularly volunteer to help with other assignments. Not only will this make you more noticeable, but you will also learn more and have more exposure to on job training.

Ask for Help When Needed

If you feel like you’re struggling with an assigned task or could use some help, don’t shy away from asking for it. It’s better to ask someone to help you than to do something wrong. Your seniors will typically be helpful and mentor you. Such situations will give you the opportunity to learn more and eventually you will have a better understating of the field.

Request Additional Work

Once you have successfully completed all the work assigned to you, ask for more. As soon as your employer and supervisors are aware of your regular outstanding performance, they will start entrusting you with additional responsibilities and extra work. This increased practice and exposure will enhance your skill set and improve your performance. The additional work is going to earn you both respect as well as recognition, increasing your chances of getting a promotion.

Hone your Interpersonal Abilities

Being a successful and efficient patent practitioner requires a certain skill set other than the necessary qualifications and experience. These are referred to as soft skills and include skills such as active listening, effective communication skills as well as strong oral and written skills. Other crucial and indispensable soft skills include proficient teamwork and collaboration, flexibility, resourcefulness, confidence, adaptability, diplomacy, and the ability to take initiative. Honing these skills and abilities will help you demonstrate your strong understanding of the legal profession and give an upper hand over your colleagues, allowing you to progress in your career easily and rapidly.

Educate Yourself

One of the most important factors in doing well in your patent law career is educating yourself continuously. Keeping yourself updated with all legal reforms, modifications, and updates will help you have an edge above your coworkers. Additional certifications and qualifications will increase your chances of employability as well as help you progress in your career more smoothly and efficiently.

We hope these tips help you achieve success and progress in your patent law career!

Leaping in Life: Jumping into Patent Law as a Career Field

A person jumping across a void.

Choosing a career is a life defining moment. It requires a lot of thinking and decisiveness to ensure that you’re choosing a profession that is best for you. If you have an itch for the legal industry and are considering jumping into patent law as your career, read this article to find more about what you must do to become a patent lawyer.

Attain a Degree in Science or Engineering

In order to be eligible for a patent law license, you must have a degree in a science or an engineering program.

Your accredited degree can be in any one of the following common science and engineering programs:

  • Biochemistry, Biology, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Molecular Biology or Botany
  • Computer Science, Electronics Technology, Marine Technology, Textile Technology or Food Technology
  • General Chemistry Organic Chemistry
  • Physics or Engineering Physics
  • Engineering (including general, agricultural, aeronautical, biomedical, civil, ceramic, chemical, computer, electrical, electrochemical, geological, industrial, mechanical, metallurgical, mining, nuclear, petroleum etc.)

If you do not already have a degree in a science or engineering program, you may pass the FE test (Fundamentals of Engineering). It is very common for people from other professions and fields to want to choose a different profession in the later stages of their lives and patent law is a popular choice among them. They sit for the FE exam to become eligible for the patent law registration.

Sit for the Patent Bar Exam

Once you have met the science or engineering requirements, you will need to sit for and pass the patent bar exam.

With patent law you can become a registered patent agent by passing this exam. If you have completed a law degree and are in good standing upon passing the exam, you will become a registered patent attorney.

Since having a law degree is not one of the requirements to sit for the patent bar exam, you may go to law school before or after taking the exam. Again, many people never go to law school and become patent agents while others do spend the time and money in law school to become patent attorneys. You can choose to complete law school before or after taking the patent bar exam and there are good reasons for going about it either way.


Women in Science and Engineering

Two scientists working in the lab with stylized graphics.

As in the wise words of Brigham Young “You educate a woman; you educate a generation,” it is clearly evident that women play an important part in the nurturing and development of a civilization and a nation. In order for a country to succeed, it very crucial for the women of that country to be educated and also able to actively participate in the country’s growth and development.

Women have long been an important pillar in the fields of science and engineering. From Marie Curie redefining the disciplines of physics and chemistry to Elizabeth Bragg becoming the first graduate civil engineer, women have reshaped these fields countless times. However, it was never easy for them to enter these areas of study and prove their worth. If anything, they had to strive harder than their male counterparts did.

Challenges Faced by Females in Science and Engineering

Women have always managed to demonstrate their talents, skills, and intellectual abilities. However, there are still certain challenges that women face in the fields of science and engineering.

From having to work harder to prove their abilities to being paid less, women have been subject to unjust treatment for centuries. This is particularly true in science and engineering. Women are rarely made in charge regardless of their higher merit, better skill sets and higher qualifications.

Women are also faced with unconscious bias and prejudice especially when it comes to their research being published. Although progress has been made, it often takes more to get their work acknowledged and appreciated. These are only some of the challenges women in these fields face regularly. However, there are ways in which they can be empowered.

Empowering Women in Science and Engineering

In spite of the significant advancements women have witnessed in recent years by having access to more opportunities, they are still insufficiently represented in STEM fields.

It is important to encourage and appreciate women, especially when they are involved in the difficult fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

It is crucial to give them credit where credit is due and this can be done by taking a few simple steps.

To empower and appreciate women, it is first important to recognize the difficulties they face on a regular basis. Call out unjust, prejudices and biased treatment, advocate for equal pay and actively promote merit.  Secondly, encourage more women and girls to venture into the different areas of STEM and pursue their goals in science and engineering actively..

Following these steps and encouraging female involvement in the fields of STEM is very important if we plan on developing out nations and tackling the increasing challenges that people are facing worldwide.

5 Tips for Finding a Fulfilling Career

What does a fulfilling career look like to you? Everyone is searching for fulfillment in life and job satisfaction. Career fulfillment is different for everyone, but we can all agree that it’s more than just a steady paycheck and the ability to live in a comfortable manner.

Not all job openings are right for everyone. Fulfilling career opportunities, whether in patent law or not, should include a career you enjoy and a career that gives you a sense of achievement. When you head home from work, you may be tired but you should never feel like you’re stuck in a rut.

So, how does someone go about having a fulfilling career and maintaining that feeling of accomplishment? We’ve got some tips for you here.

Tip # 1: Find a Career You Love and Helps You Give Back

If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on it’s that status and wealth just isn’t cutting it anymore for that dream job. We all want to feel like we’re giving back to the community in one way or another. We strive to make a difference in someone’s life.

A career in patent law delivers that sense of giving back to others offering complete job satisfaction. You’re helping others innovate and invent software and devices that will only aid others in the future. It’s a dream job where you’re helping clients achieve their dreams of improving someone’s life and creating something of their own.

A passion in what you do will take you further than any large bank account ever could. If you’re passionate, you’ll want to walk into the law firm or technology transfer office everyday and excel at your position.

Tip # 2: Work with People Who Respect You

You want a work environment where you feel accepted and respected. You also want to strive for a calming law firm with little stress. The people around you should support you and you should support them. Being surrounded by negativity can follow you when you walk out the doors of your firm and walk into your home.

You need to find coping strategies to handle toxic coworkers and bosses. This will prevent you from bringing the negativity home. Toxicity can consume your thoughts, even when you’re at home away from the toxic behavior.

If it’s possible, avoid the toxic coworkers in your law firm at all costs. If it’s not possible to avoid them, limit your interactions with them. If they start spewing negativity or disrespecting you, don’t let yourself be dragged into the conversation. Listen and nod. When you get the chance, leave the situation.

If the negativity is too much for you to take at your law firm, you need to move onto another patent law firm. Some workplaces will always be toxic. The negative behavior of the big bosses can leak into coworkers. This will only drain you.

Tip # 3: Keep Striving for Your Best

Avoid peaking too early in your patent law career. Peaking means that you’ve reached your personal best and you stop striving for more in your career and in your life.

You don’t want to stale in your career as a lawyer or patent agent. You’ll lose your passion and your drive. You’ll begin to burn out and you’ll dread walking through your office doors.

There’s never a situation or a career, even as a patent law lawyer, where you’ll know everything you need to know. Keep learning and keeping absorbing information from others.

Keep fighting and keep advancing along. Most human beings aren’t content with staying in one place for too long even if it’s in your chosen career path.

Having a mentor will be the best decision you ever made. A mentor is someone who’s advanced as a patent lawyer. A mentor should be someone who lends a helping hand and sage wisdom when you need it.

Tip # 4: Work Life and Home Life Balance

Everyone is obsessed with obtaining a work life and home life balance. However, as a patent agent or patent attorney there may be days where you’ll have to bring your work home. Some days your hours will be long and you’ll be worn out.

You want to strive for a work-life integration, not a work life and home life balance. There will be sacrifices on your career journey. There are different ways to perfect a work-life integration.

Make a work schedule for outside of your law firm hours. These hours will be the hours you can work on client projects at home. Once the hours are over, it’s time for your personal life. Stick to this schedule.

Working at home can be a big benefit. It gives you extra time with your family and you can choose your own hours. If you have little ones, you can spend time with them during the day and work during the evening. Of course, being able to work remotely varies from law firm to law firm.

Tip # 5: Appreciate Everything You Have

If you want a fulfilling career and you want to maintain positivity, being grateful for what you have and what you’ve accomplished is a must. It’s easy to be negative and find the faults in life. It takes work to remain positive and look on the bright side of things.

Make two lists. The first list should include what you’re grateful for in your life or career. The second list should include all the positive things you’ve accomplished, from raising children to being promoted.

Make these lists a few times a week to keep your positive attitude. You won’t believe the impact just writing what you’re grateful for will have on your mental health.

The Bottom Line

There’s more to life than having a giant bank account. If you master gratitude, work-life integration, and you keep working on your goals then a fulfilling career will leak into your home life. Your life will be better all the way around.

Skills to Help Manage Conflict as a Patent Practitioner

After working hard to get your new job as a patent attorney or attorney, the struggle doesn’t stop there.

There is going to come a time in every employee’s life where they disagree with a co-worker. Top CEOs can’t escape it, neither can patent practitioners.

When conflict arises with team members at any law firm, though, don’t be caught off-guard. You can cultivate certain skills to help smooth over even the most tumultuous patent attorney coworker issues through conflict management and conflict resolution.

Understand what can cause conflict

As our good friend, Benjamin Franklin, once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The best way to manage conflicts is to prevent them from happening in the first place by seeing where they can arise and nipping them in the bud.

Experts offer a number of causes of workplace conflict, including:

  • Personality differences.
  • Workplace behaviors regarded by some co-workers as irritating.
  • Unmet needs in the workplace.
  • Perceived inequities of resources.
  • Unclarified roles in the workplace.
  • Competing for job duties or poor implementation of a job description—for example, placing a non-supervisory employee in an unofficial position of “supervising” a new employee.
  • Systemic circumstances such as a workforce slowdown, a merger or acquisition, or a reduction in force.
  • Mismanagement of organizational change and transition.
  • Poor communication, including misunderstood remarks and comment taken out of context.
  • Differences over work methods or goals or differences in perspectives attributable to age, sex or upbringing.

For example, your coworker feels their needs aren’t being met in the workplace. Because of their personality, they decide to employ snarky, passive-aggressive remarks concerning the boss rather than going to their boss directly. Because of this, the disgruntled individual not only doesn’t get what they want but now adds negativity into the office. It can bother you, the humble Joe or Jane-Doe just trying to do your job.

There are millions of ways conflict can arise. But that doesn’t mean they’re all bad. When faced with any issue, your attitude towards it can determine the efficacy of your response.

Recognize the Benefits of Conflict

Conflict facilitates change and restructuring. When it comes to two ideological viewpoints, it sometimes requires you to change your viewpoint. It’s about growth. If we didn’t have conflict, we wouldn’t grow.

Whether in the patent, law, business, or any professional field, conflict exposes workers to new ideas, teaches flexibility, leads to problem-solving behavior and a host of other positives. It’s a learning period for both parties involved.

But also understand the danger of conflict

While inherently edifying when seen from the right angle, unchecked conflict can lead to disastrous professional effects between you and your colleagues.

According to PM Study Circle, if you have unresolved coworker conflicts you face:

  • Low team morale
  • Impact on the authority of the project manager
  • More personal clashes
  • Low productivity and efficiency
  • Low quality work

Don’t let conflict ruin your career as a patent practitioner. Below are some tips to keep problems from getting out of hand.

Avoid behaviors that prolong conflict

A common one is a triangulation, which is talking to someone other than the person you have a problem with. Essentially, it’s venting your frustrations to someone who can’t change the situation.

While this gives you immediate relief, it does nothing to solve the conflict at hand. Unless you’re going directly to a higher-up for conflict mitigation for something serious like workplace harassment, then triangulation only continues the conflict you already have.

Just bite the bullet and sit the person down in an area where both of you can talk freely. But not too freely.

Keep it professional

This should be obvious, but it’s worth the mention. Don’t mention blatantly unrelated events your coworker did outside of work. Keep it business-oriented, keep it within the professional arena.

Understand all parties fully

Always make sure you and your colleague are on the right page. Sometimes it’s hard to get to the bottom of the issue but dig as deeply as you need to. The only thing worse than taking forever to solve a conflict is to prolong the conflict because of miscommunication.

Ask your coworker to explain their situation fully. Once they’re done, summarize key points they just mentioned and ask, “Did I get it all?” If yes, you may proceed to solving the issue at hand. If not, ask the question as many times as necessary.

Practice Assertive Empathy

You know where your coworker is coming from. But that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them about the issue you have with them, nor attempt to change their behavior to one that works for both of you.

Therefore, employ phrases such as the following:

  • “I understand you, BUT here are some things I wish you’d do differently…”
  • “I empathize with that. It’s still impacting our clients, though.”

By adding the preface of understanding or empathizing, conversation shifts from “me-versus-you,” to “us-versus-issue.” The most effective conflict management approach is the most collaborative.

Be humble

While it’s good to be assertive, understand when to give up a little bit and negotiate. This doesn’t have to relate to professional negotiations only; admitting the limitations of your personality can be helpful and even necessary (note that the first two causes of conflict in the PM Study Circle analysis are personality differences and irritating workplace behaviors). No one is perfect, but everyone should be open to constructive criticism.

Other tips to solve conflict:

  • Always speak face-to-face with the person you have a conflict While text communication allows both parties to think through what they have to say, it also lends itself to miscommunication. Humans rely on tonality and vocal pitch to receive messages, which you don’t get through text. Try to set up in-person meetings or at the very least video conferences to manage conflict.
  • Address conflicts quickly and efficiently. Unchecked issues quickly become workplace hydras.
  • Find ways for both yourself and your coworker to be held accountable for changes. It would have been a wasted effort if both of you go back to your old habits after addressing a conflict.
  • At the end of the day, if you and your colleague still have issues with each other, it might be best to hire a professional workplace mediator. It’s their job to handle such conflicts and make sure everyone goes home happy.

Patent Practitioner Salary Negotiation Tips

Here’s what you need to know to negotiate your next salary.

If you’re new to a position:

Negotiate with the right mindset

You never have more leverage over negotiating your salary than when a firm first hires you. Use this to your advantage and use the opportunity to negotiate your salary.

Often, new patent practitioners or patent attorneys are so happy to have a job offer that they accept whatever salary their employer offers them. Typically, employers of law firms pitch a lower salary because they expect you to ask for more money. So, failing to negotiate a higher salary leaves you with money you could have easily acquired if you simply asked for it.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate. The firm hired you for a reason and you both want to be financially happy for effective long-term employment.

Know how much you’re worth

In order to negotiate efficiently, you have to know what you’re actually worth before you accept a job offer. Take stock of your skills and experience and see what they’re worth in the marketplace. If you don’t know what you’re worth, then you don’t know what salary to ask for (and thus the salary you won’t get). Google is your friend, revealing the salaries of other patent practitioners with your credentials. Just know that you’ll usually get averages on these websites, but you’ll at least know what general range to be in depending on your own situation.

Do your research

Always know the range of salaries for a patent agent or attorney in your area well before the interview takes place. That way, you know whether the salary your employer offers you will be right for you.

Conversely, if your employer asks you for an amount, you want to offer one that’s not too large or small. A little research goes a long way in finding the right salary for you.

For example, a patent attorney salary in Ohio ranges from $81,000–$89,000, whereas in New Mexico it’s slightly lower from $77,000–$84,000. Salaries will range depending on what city and country you’re in.

Let the employer offer the number

Imagine you’re at a flea market and spot a nice antique fountain pen (or something else you like). You go to the booth owner and offer a price. They’re ecstatic and immediately ring up your purchase. What you don’t know is that, after researching the pen’s price, you just offered a significantly higher number than what the booth owner probably would have asked for.

This is why you should never be the first to suggest a salary that law firms may offer you. Even if your research suggests that someone with your qualifications should get $70,000, your employer might like you so much that they’ll offer a significantly higher salary. You never know, so don’t blow your chances of the highest possible salary you can get.

Be prepared for an insufficient offer

Your employer may not offer a salary that fits in your ideal range but above what you need to survive. This puts you in a tough spot: do you accept the position even though you’re not completely happy with the salary? What if there’s no room for growth?

Consider any other job offers you’ve received or other opportunities in your midst. You don’t have to accept a job just because it’s in front of you. If anything, saying no to a position might make the company more inclined to offer better financial packages to make you say yes. At the end of the day, though, do what is best for your situation.

Let them sweat a little bit

Let’s say your employer offered you the perfect salary in the negotiation. Instead of jumping for joy and kissing their feet, calmly tell them you will consider their offer and get back to them within a certain amount of time. This shows you take yourself seriously and value your skills and experience. Besides, taking a few days to accept their offer may prompt the employer to throw in a few more financial packages your way.

If you want to negotiate your salary in your current position:

Ask for a performance review

That is, of course, if you don’t already have yearly reviews. Ask your boss to meet with you, not about a raise, but about how well you’ve been doing. If you can prove you’ve been a diligent worker who’s been improving the company, your boss may agree to some of your requests. Just make sure you and your employer agree that you do, in fact, deserve a raise.

Have patience

If your boss agrees, then they’ll probably have to take the new salary request up to someone with more authority. You’ll have to wait a few weeks, but this time period is crucial. Don’t let your performance slip just because you’ve finally gotten the raise you’ve been wanting.

Just know that a raise may not necessarily come with a higher salary. Your firm may offer you more paid vacations or schedule flexibility rather than more money. In any case, be sure to find a compromise with your employer, using phrases like “finding solutions that work for both of us.” It’s a synergistic process.

Be prepared for rejection

If your requests for a better financial package are denied, there are still non-monetary amenities to ask for. Your employer may be able to give you a better parking space or a new computer, or something else that improves your comfort in the company.

In any case:

Be reasonable

The company isn’t entitled to give you everything you ask for and, no matter how much experience you have as a patent practitioner, you can’t ask for everything you want. There will always be something off the table and you must respect that. Perhaps with enough hard work put in, you can achieve a better financial package in the future.

Place the highest value on the job

Yes, you’re getting paid, but what else are you getting? Improved skills, broadened network, resume building, all these things don’t come with price tags. After looking at the big picture and seeing everything you’re getting with a job, you may decide that a lower salary may be worth it.