As an engineer in industry you will need patent-working skills, because the new product that your employer will ask you to design for the market is expected not only to work, but also to avoid all rival and yet-unexpired patents, etc. Further, your employer will ask that you report for patenting any of its features that are new, so that your employer’s patent attorneys can patent them. For these tasks, this course will help you learn the following patent-working skills:
a) Download the free Patent Ready® Study Guide from this webpage.
b) Buy the Patent Ready® book, by Kavounas (about $35 from Amazon); it will be used as the textbook.
Choose one of the below:
1) MINIMUM (est. 12 hours): You can just read the textbook, and will learn many of these things at least theoretically. You will be able to look up your situation from the book and know what to do for years to come.
2) MEDIUM (est. 16 hours): The above, plus do the exercises from the Study Guide, and then check your solutions. You will have good working knowledge for patent documents, which will make you better at searching, etc.
3) FULL (est. 18 hours): The above, plus do the two industry-like homework assignments in the Study Guide that occur in the late chapters. There is no grading but, if you use your two homework assignments as an opportunity to a) privately write up an invention of yours, and b) do a novelty search for what you wrote, you will be more ready to report it for patenting in a company, or take it to a patent attorney or agent to patent it for yourself.
As with all things in life, the more you put into this effort, the more you will get out of it.
From the scope you chose above, look up the estimated number of hours you will need. (Will it be 12? 16? 18?)
Plan when to spend the time, so that you will have finished before submitting a resume for your next job. Students: a great time is the summer before the Senior year, or a maybe during break.
Plan which days, and how many hours per day. (Will it be 3 full days? 3 contiguous work days, or 3 Saturdays? Or a series of evenings, perhaps 1-2 hours per evening? Perhaps only two, fuller days?)
Throughout the rest of your career developing new products, you will need to be able to make intelligent decisions about patents. So, use this course now to enable you to look up patent answers quickly in the future from the Patent Ready® textbook, for the exact situation that you will be in at the time.
Read each chapter; as you do, you need not try to memorize everything, because the answers are many, many of them depend on what-ifs, and so on.
After reading each chapter, go over its corresponding materials in the Study Guide. The exercises are open-book. As you do, try to understand where to get the answers from the textbook, and from the patent documents. See if you need to take notes at the end of every chapter in the textbook.
YOU WILL HAVE A REFERENCE BOOK.
Recognize that, as you work for new product development in the future, you will be encountering situations such as those described in the book repeatedly in your career. You will likely need to consult the Patent Ready® book time and again, especially for the more complex later chapters.
Consult the portion of the Study Guide that recommends words and phrases that you can put in your resume. Of course, you never want to be accused of putting more in your resume than you have already done, and this is true also for your self-study of patents. Again, the larger the scope of your self-study, the more you will be able to include.
At least two days before you meet them in person, look up the company. Of course, their website will say all kinds of good things about the company and their products. Be sure you have read at least the top level – every other candidate for this position will have done at least this much.
Also do a patent search for the company’s patent documents, i.e. issued patents and published patent applications. Especially if you have been given the names of your interviewers, search for any such documents on which the interviewers are listed as inventors!
Read as many of these patent documents as you can, but not at the expense of your other preparation. See if you can recognize whether any of these patent documents cover any of their products. If these documents are too many, separate them in two categories:
1) Recently published patent applications by your interviewers could reflect the technical area they are working on, and they will want you to work on. Read these fully to come up to speed – that technical area may use very few of the courses you took.
2) All the remaining patent documents will inform you as to what the whole company is working on, or planning. So at least skim their drawings and their abstracts. Of course, some companies have too many patent documents, for you to look at all of them!
Keep in mind all your other preparation. Like with a test, when they ask you a question, focus on the call of the question for your answer. And tell the truth.
If they ask you general questions about a field you have reviewed recently, you can go ahead and answer the question. If the questions become more specific and you are answering them, at some point you should probably tell them you read their patents. Most will appreciate your focused preparation. In fact, if you find out that they held that against you, you probably do not want to work there anyway.