Sunday, November 23, 2008

Touch of Auburn.

Could there be a farmer in the family after all, to follow in the family tradition. Our four have never shown the slightest interest, but little Ffion loves her John Deere. The next generation is coming through. Actually, I suspect she would prefer the full-size version. She's now thirteen months old, about as cute as its possible to be, but just a tad too young to take charge a real John Deere yet. It won't be long though. She's definitely inherited a touch of 'auburn' from her Gran.


Dr. Christopher Wood said...

... in the alternative your Ffion may want to carve out a career in law, and more precisely in American law. I am of course referring to that U.S. Supreme Court case of Graham v. John Deere Co., 383 U.S. 1 (1966). It's a case taught to all students of patent law; a patent infringement "nonobviousness" case involving a combination of old mechanical elements, for a device designed to absorb shock from plow shanks in rocky soil to prevent damage to the plow. A legal case that changed the patent world - well, in America, but isn't it strange that an American baseball team always wins the "World Series" - very strange.

To get over the shock of learning that you have a granddaughter in the family who is heading into 'the legal profession', a fair nip of Welsh Whiskey might be the order of the day, the obvious anti-dote to traumatic news of this nature providing you have no intention of being in charge of a John Deere soon thereafter.

Christopher Wood, PhD, JD (DePaul, ABA accredited law school, Chicago), Esq.,
Wood and Eisenberg, PLLC
6911 Richmond Highway
Suite 403
Alexandria, VA 22306
TEL: 703-660-9700
FAX: 703-660-9218

Glyn Davies said...

Christopher - I have owned several John Deeres over the years - though I'm normally a Massey Ferguson man. And I've known a lot more poor farmers than I have poor lawyers!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glad you are taking this well Glyn. Of course, there will always be a place for Ffion in my law firm. We took on two student/undergrad engineers from a well-known university a few summers back, they did summer internships in our wee law firm. Patent law is one of the toughest areas of the law - requires both legal and engineering/science skills.

All patent lawyers have a technical degree and a law degree - consequently we are almost recession proof because about 90% of lawyers don't have an engineering or science background. Being in the 10% category makes us special and highly valued. Even a Harvard law school graduate like the President elect can't do our work, whereas patent lawyers can handle criminal and civil cases because we are lawyers, but because we can leverage our technical backgrounds we typically find a home in the patent area of the law.

Patent lawyers usually, but not always, earn more money than, for example, lawyers with history, political science or sociology degrees. It's not their fault, they just don't have a strong science or engineering background.

One of our summer interns was so good I gave him an excellent rating and wrote him a reference letter praising his skills to the cow shed and back - the reference helped him win a summer internship at NASA. (Probably at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, located just outside of Washington, DC; this NASA facility does a lot of testing and materials research.)

He was so good he became my 'right hand'. I would show him something once and he took to it like 'a natural'. At the time we had a few contractors working for us who had some years experience of patent work, but this lad out-shone them all. I even started him on doing patent drawings using our in-house 3D AutoCAD setup, and writing up information disclosure statements (under my supervision), he hardly ever made a mistake.

He was a born administrator - he will make an excellent engineer-administrator at NASA or one of NASA's contractors. He had such a strong flair for managing complex projects. I told him, after his NASA internship I would make a patent engineer out of him and would get aeronautical patent and mechanical engineering projects for him to work on, but he wants to be part of the renewed American effort to return to the Moon. NASA contractors are already working on a replacement to the Saturn 5 for the next man-moon launch.

My law firm received a letter last year from a female engineering student in his class. I wanted to interview her and another prospective intern and hire them for the summer, but we had so much going on I sadly didn’t have time to see them. Since our interns are engineers they naturally want to work on patent projects. Since I handle the patent side of our law firm I must see them before they are hired. I give them real projects to work on so they get responsibility and challenges from the get go. Something they wouldn’t get at a larger law firm.