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Dear Engineering Dean and/or Department Head:

You are putting so much into your students.

Still, as fresh graduates in industry they will also need patent-working skills to at least navigate around existing patents.


Click here to read about a survey finding that patent skills were important for recent engineering graduates to succeed in industry. Click here for a detailed listing of patent-working skills that engineers in industry are expected to have.

Fortunately, now with a single email you can steer your students to get these patent-working skills, as easily as 1-2-3: From the Student perspective:
a) Their school curriculum will not be burdened.
b) They will learn from your email how to plan to get their patent-working skills in only 3 non-school days, by taking a self-study course that costs only about $35 for the textbook.
c) Their industry employers will appreciate that you prepared them also in this regard; patent skills may help your students catch up with any technical field, any time, which compensates for the fact that you don't have the time to teach them everything.
1. You can start from this webpage.


2. Click here to start your email to your Juniors and Seniors. (Maybe separate emails to each class?)


3. Populate your started email with the text below, and send. That's it, you are done for this year. The text below you goes to the end of this cell:

Dear Juniors & Seniors:

As engineers in industry you will also need patent-working skills, because the new product that your employer will ask you to design is expected not only to work, but also to avoid all rival patents that have not expired yet, etc. Further, that you report for patenting any of its features that are new. So, you will need patent-working skills such as being able to search patents, parse them, understand what parts to avoid or when you are safe, knowing how to try to deal with potentially threatening patents before calling in the patent attorney, etc. Plus, patent searching will often help you catch up faster with an area that your company gets into and is new to you. Incidentally, before gambling your career on a start-up company based on a new product idea, better spend at least 30 minutes doing a simple patent search of your idea! This is because writing your own patent application will not help, if someone else has patented your idea before you. Worse, you may even find that your exact idea has been legally protected by a recent patent, in which case your prospective company may face additional challenges, or is unable to proceed. And, in all cases you may find that reading patents will accelerate your learning.

We don't have the time to teach you everything here, but we can point you in the right direction for getting your patent-working skills, and for learning how to deal with issues like the above: Take a 3-day self-study patent course on your own during the summer, where your only cost will be about $35 for the textbook from Amazon. Do the following steps:

STEP 1) YOUR CALENDAR'S INITIAL REMINDER FOR NOW:
a) Go to your personal calendar, find the Monday after Finals Week and before the summer begins, and create a new reminder for that day.
b) Label this new reminder: Plan taking patent course this Summer.
c) In this new reminder, copy my entire email.

[Then pause for now. Read the rest of this email when this new reminder pings you, on that first Monday of the summer.]

STEP 2) PLAN WHICH 3 SUMMER DAYS TO TAKE THE PATENT COURSE. When the initial reminder has pinged you on that first Monday of the summer:
a) Look at your plans for the rest of the summer, and set aside 3 workdays, either contiguous or 3 Saturdays. If you have not interviewed yet, the latest time to take the course for optimum effect is the summer before your Senior year, so you can augment your resume before interviewing and further use your new patent skills to prepare smarter for the interviewing (the course says how). For other scheduling options, see more suggestions in the webpage of the course.
b) Move your initial reminder to the first of those 3 days, and rename it: Take patent course.
c) At the same time, order the Patent Ready® book by Kavounas (about $35 from Amazon), in time to arrive before the time you planned for taking the course. All the other materials that you will need for the course are on the web.
d) Keep this email in your updated reminder, for the last step:

STEP 3) WHEN THE TIME COMES, TAKE THE COURSE. Go to the webpage of the course, at: http://www.patent-ready.com/patent-study-course.html, and follow the instructions.

Good luck!

(Your professor - signature block)


STUDENT'S SUMMER CALENDAR:

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"The [Patent Ready®] book provided me with an efficient and clear introduction to patents. The presentation of the material is systematic ... the diagrams ... are very intuitive ..."
Senior B.S.E.E. student


The 3-day independent patent study course helps develop patent skills by:
a) reading the Patent Ready® book (about $35 from Amazon), which goes fast thanks to its more than 50 intuitive engineering-like custom diagrams, and
b) in parallel with each chapter of the book, going through the Patent Ready® Study Guide, which is a free download that has further explanations, curated sample patent documents, sample situations from industry, real-life exercises plus the solutions in the back, for checking, two industry-like 1-hour homework assignments, etc.


Want to repeat this year's email to your next year's Juniors? They, too, will need patent skills. Create your own annual calendar reminder for early April, reminding yourself to revisit this webpage.


* Previous survey results:
In a survey of engineering graduates working in industry about experiences important for recent graduates' competitiveness in the job market, 56%-70% of the respondents ranked Intellectual Property as important or critical. (Source: Christine Kelly and Amy Nguyen, Skills and Knowledge Important in Bioprocessing Design: A Survey of Practicing Engineers, Presentation, American Society for Engineering Education, 2017.)

And if it is hard for you to find the ASEE survey, try a quick study on your own: Calculate the PEPI™ score of your students from http://www.patent-ready.com/pepi-score.html. (PEPI™ stands for Prospective Employer Patent Interest.) Try it with employers that you aspire your students will have a chance to work for. This may convince you that there are patents in that industry, and that your students will need patent-working skills to navigate around them.


AFTER READING AND DOING THE ABOVE, YOU CAN STOP HERE. YOU WILL HAVE STEERED YOUR STUDENTS RIGHT FOR DOING WELL IN INDUSTRY.


OR, YOU CAN MAKE EVEN MORE OUT OF IT:

Do you want to do your own study of how useful this patent-skills course becomes to your graduates? Ask your students to take a survey 2-3 years after graduating! Plan to stay in contact with them. Here are some possible survey questions:
For relevance: have you been working in a company that makes new products (not software) (Y/N)?
The independent study course you took:
... did you read the entire textbook, or less?
... did you cover the entire Study Guide, or less?
... did you do both 1-hour industry-standard homework assignments, or less?
Study Guide:
... did you find the sample materials of the Study Guide helpful (scale 1-5, 5 being best)?
Patent Ready® textbook:
... was the book clearly written (scale 1-5, 5 being best)?
... did the drawings help make it go faster (scale 1-5, 5 being best)?
Interviewing:
... did you take the course before interviewing?
... if yes, did you use your what you learned in the patent course to prepare for your interview?
... if yes, did it seem to help?
... if yes, how? was it as suggested in the Study Guide?
Using skills in industry:
... did you feel that knowing the material helped you with your work (scale 1-5, 5 being best)?
... did you ever search patents as part of your job?
... if yes, did you have facility with the results (scale 1-5, 5 being best)?
... did you ever report an invention for patenting?
... if yes, did your company apply to patent your invention?


The rest of this webpage explains the why and the how you can do the above, and how you can do even more, like teach them patent skills.

Patent-working skills that are important for engineers:
From at least the fact that new product designs are expected to avoid all rival, valid, and yet-unexpired patents, engineers are expected to be able to:
* search patents,
* recognize what the patent search results mean,
* understand when some patent documents cannot be found in a search, and how to minimize this over time,
* understand relationships among the found patent documents (earlier/later, families, etc.),
* parse a patent document to identify the part that must be avoided from the part one can learn from,
* look up information needed from a patent document without wasting much time with the rest of it,
* identify when it is time to call the patent attorney for help in difficult situations (such as when designing a product against a threatening patent),
* do one's part so that the company's patent attorney can patent one's inventions, etc.
Most of the above are for at least navigating around existing patents.


It has been hard to focus on teaching such useful patent skills, for many reasons:
1) Core classes tend to squeeze out other things, which is why we recommend the summer time.
2) Let's face it, academia is safe from patents: for example even if the Capstone design project that a a student chose to do infringes a patent, and even if the owner of the patent knows about it, it is very unlikely that the patent owner would sue your student for infringement; their revenue will not be threatened - and even then your student might even have a legal defense. In fact, that patent owner may be interested in hiring that student. Upon graduating and working in industry, however, your students will not be safe this way for anything their employer asks them to design.
3) It is hard to untangle teaching patent-working skills from the teachings of patent law, the latter of which engineers are NOT expected to practice. This untangling is necessary, however; indeed, far more than writing a patent, your graduates will be expected to have the above-mentioned patent skills.
4) I saw the need for this project when I worked, for a decade, as an in-house patent attorney in industry that develops new products, which is a type of job that many patent attorneys in law firms never have. I observed engineers struggle with patents while having little, or plainly wrong guidance, yet be held responsible for making designs that avoid rival patents. Some of them told me they had even been taught "patents" in college as engineering students, by an adjunct professor who was a patent attorney. Upon pressing, I discovered that they had been taught things that we patent attorneys find interesting, such as patent law and other topics, but which engineers in industry are never asked to do. This is why I took the time to define what are patent-working skills from the point of view of engineers - even though most patent attorneys would find them too basic for attorneys, and write the Patent Ready® textbook for presenting them, and create the course for people to be able to study them.

So, we have made the right patent-working skills easy for your students to learn, by a self-study course that uses our $35 Patent Ready® textbook plus our free Study Guide that links to sample curated patents, etc. Your students can learn:
1) either by themselves in a 3-day Self-Study course during a school break,
2) or with your guidance, by offering an appropriate course to enhance the student experience and validate their learning. We provide free, comprehensive course planning materials to qualified Professors, Instructors and Course & Curriculum Planners. For example, see what they write about these materials in Cal Poly Saint Luis Obispo:

We have been teaching patent-working skills to our Senior EE students using the Patent Ready® book and the associated teaching materials continuously since 2015. The book is clear, the materials are helpful, and the assessment tool shows us that our students learn well from them.

Dennis Derickson
Electrical Engineering Dept. Chair
California Polytechnic
San Luis Obispo, CA

Rich Murray
Lecturer Electrical & Computer Engineering
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo


If you also want these teaching materials, email us for a link.


Thank you
Greg Kavounas
BSEE, MSEE, Eng.EE, JD, MBA
Founder, Patent Introductions, Inc.
Patent Attorney

The Patent Ready® book will not replace a patent attorney; more specifically, it will not help one make legal determinations that pertain to one's specific facts.