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Engineering Students: Will your employer expect you to be able to work with patents? Find out, by calculating your personal PEPI™ score.

PEPI™ is a word made from: Prospective Employer Patent Interest.

Your personal PEPI™ score will show you, from a sample set of employers that you would like to work for, what fraction or percentage obtain patents for their inventions. The example below is for calculating for a sample size of N=5 potential employers, but you can adjust the N. If you cannot think of 5 potential employers, remember to include the commercial rivals of those you already know. If, perhaps as a student, you cannot think of any, then visit your school’s Career Development/Planning Office whose professionals may arrange employment interviews. (Show them this webage, as well.) And, if you are dreaming of creating your own startup company, then identify the top five successful startups that you would want your startup to emulate.

Your personal PEPI™ score will give you a better picture of how much patents will factor into your prospective employment. Indeed, if you are considering a specific employer, you might research what you can about them. The company’s website will tell you about their mission, values and products, all which will have prepared by the company’s Marketing Department. The company’s patents, however, are an objective indication about them, because they result from government filings that the government may have initially contested, etc. And these patents were not created by themselves – rather they were started by the technical employees identifying the new inventions in the things they designed, reporting them for patenting, etc. Incidentally, if you self-study for 3 days to get your patent skills, you will also learn how to use these skills to prepare better for an interview!


Calculating your personal PEPI™ score:


Start a new document. Start by writing in it: Personal PEPI™ score = 0.


Identify the top FIVE employers that you would want to work for.


For each of the 5 employers that you would want to work for:

i) Finish the equation: EMPL=[employer name]=

…(think of the name as a series of letters)

ii) From the [employer name] above, delete generic words from the end, such as: “Inc.”, Corp., “Gmbh”, “AB”, etc.

iii) Do a patent search, as follows:

* click here (these instructions work best for employers that are in the US, Europe, and/or are multinational companies; for other countries, find other patent search websites;

* in the webpage that opens, find the search query box;

* in the search query box, copy the following search kernel: an/”EMPL”

, in which: without touching the quotation marks, replace the variable EMPL with your answer from sub-step ii) (if the variable EMPL is or has become a single word, then you no longer need the quotation marks);

* ensure that the following boxes are checked: US Patents, US Patent Applications, EP documents, Abstracts of Japan, WIPO (PCT), and German Patents (Beta);

* then click on the button that says: Search;

* if you find that this employer has one or more patents, increment your personal PEPI™ score by one in the document. These patents are typically generated by the company’s own engineers, who became inventors. Skim the titles of a few of them – anything interesting?

* [repeat for next employer, for a total of 5 employers]


After the incrementing of STEP 3, evaluate your final personal PEPI™ score:

i) if it has remained at zero, then perhaps you might not need to know about patents while working for any of these or similar employers.

ii) if it has become larger than zero, convert it to a percentage (multiply x20%, if done for 5 employers). The score reflects patenting intensity in the industry of these employers. Think of how to prepare now, for when you will be hopefully employed by them. For this, we suggest our 3-day self-study patent-working skills course.


Caveats: the PEPI™ score you are computing will likely turn out small when tried with companies that do not develop new products. Moreover, as of 2017, patent protection for certain types of software inventions remains in serious question. Plus, the PEPI™ score you are computing may turn out small when tried with small companies that simply do not get patents for their inventions (yes, this does happen and sometimes their boards are kept in the dark about it; but you can guess for yourself the expected longevity of such companies, if their successful products are imitated by larger rivals who can afford to operate at a loss for a while, and there are few other protections to imitation).

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