Technical advisors at Erise make critical contributions during the patent prosecution and litigation process. Their intense research skills and depth of technical knowledge build strong and successful cases, helping Erise’s clients expand their intellectual property protection.
No day is the same for these professionals, whether they joined the firm in the past few years like Duncan Bauserman, a technology analyst who recently passed the exam to become a patent agent, or have been with Erise since the firm’s inception in 2012, like Kathleen Fitterling, a senior patent agent.
How they got here
Both have engineering backgrounds. Duncan joined Erise after earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Kathleen worked in healthcare software after earning a B.S. in system science and engineering, then became a patent agent.
“It’s technical, but you get to use your communication skills,” she said. “You get to argue. It’s definitely me.”
Duncan has been interested in law since high school, when he participated on the mock trial team. He likes how his role at Erise allows him to write about engineering principles and technical skills at a high level.
What they’re doing
Kathleen and Duncan take advantage of Erise’s flexible work policy. Kathleen has three children and opts to work from home on certain days. Duncan is training to box and sometimes comes into work in the early morning so he can leave in the early afternoon to work out with his coach.
Once they’ve started their work day, research is the main objective.
Kathleen likens her job to that of a private investigator. She’s handed a case and she immediately researches the technology involved, then starts to follow leads that could be useful to the attorneys.
Depending on the stage of the case, she could be researching prior art and documents from her home or the office, or she could be on location at a deposition or a trial, feeding her knowledge about the technology to the attorneys.
“Every case has a story. You just have to uncover it,” she said. “The other part of my job is serving as a technical translator for the attorneys. Their witness said something that’s wrong, here’s the document that shows why that’s wrong.”
Duncan assists with patent prosecution and litigation. He spends a good chunk of his morning looking at patents or court documents, then opening dozens of tabs on his computer browser to learn as much as he can about the technology, such as 5G communications.
“A typical day is going to involve reading and writing for sure,” he says. “And a lot of strategizing.”
He might spend an hour writing a crucial argument that will help protect an innovation or defend it in court, asking these questions along the way: What’s the best way of getting my point across without making concessions? How do I spruce up an area that might be a little bit weak? How do I make it sound strong?
“I want to make sure that the work product I create is technically correct,” he says.
While his time spent on work is serious, Duncan also finds light moments during his day. When he stops by a colleague’s desk to ask their opinion about a matter, they might chat about last night’s college basketball game. Around noon, he might join a group who wants to go out for Mexican or Thai food. To encourage everyone on the team to learn more about each other, Erise offers a free lunch for employees once a week if it’s spent with three coworkers.
Why they love it
Duncan enjoys the collaboration at Erise. New analysts are given casework right away, and he quickly found everyone, from shareholders and associates to other analysts, was willing to help.
“I’m always amazed at how smart the people I work with are,” he said. “All these smart individuals are under the same roof. It takes me two seconds to walk over to someone else’s desk and ask a question instead of spinning my wheels for two hours.”
Kathleen loves her job because she can play a big role in a case from start to finish.
“I get to see it through,” she says. “In our law firm, we send the best team for the job, not just the lead attorneys. So when a case gets to trial, I keep everybody honest. When the other side’s not being accurate, I get to use it against them.
“I love the people that I work with. I trust them completely. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else because of that.”