Christmastime is here again, and IPWatchdog is back with the 2020 edition of our Christmas list for patent attorneys. If you have a patent attorney in your life and you have no clue what to get them, the following options should provide you with a few good ideas for gifts—from smaller stocking stuffers to very practical gifts that will show your patent attorney that you’re serious about helping them succeed in their professional life. Merry Christmas!
Patent Art Shadowbox
For the do-it-yourself and crafty types, putting together a patent art shadow box can make for a very personal gift for the patent attorney in your life. These interesting displays published online by Krista’s LadyBug Adventure blog are a great starting point. A large frame or large shadow box frame can be purchased from most large retailers or craft stores for $40 or less. Prints of patent art are available online; Retro Patent and Frame a Patent are two sites offering custom patent art printouts, and there are likely others. Consider buying prints of patent diagrams for your patent attorney’s favorite invention. (Frame a Patent offers several, such as the electric guitar, the Atari or the floppy disk drive, for about $30.) For a more personal gift, consider getting custom art from the attorney’s first patent prosecuted at the USPTO, or a patent from a major infringement case, though this may be a tough sell if your attorney works primarily as defense counsel. A few additional touches, like pictures of a prototype or a tiny model that can be mounted in a shadow box frame, and this idea can make for one of the more thoughtful gifts your patent attorney may get this or any year.
Faber on Mechanics of Patent Claim Drafting
In the 2005 Christmas horror film Santa’s Slay (a holiday film beloved to this writer and featuring WWE wrestler Bill Goldberg as Santa, the son of Satan), Grandpa, an angel played by Robert Culp, gives his grandson Nicolas a bullet-firing nutcracker to fend off Santa, telling him that “the only worthwhile gift is a practical one.” With that sage advice in mind, Faber on Mechanics of Claim Drafting might not be as festive as an evil Santa flying through the snowy skies on Christmas Eve while riding a demonic bison (more properly known as a “hell-deer”), but it is an ultimately useful gift providing directions on claim drafting, examples of different types of office rejections, and tips on expressions and transition words that can create interpretation problems for most examiners. At $525 for the Seventh Edition of Faber, it’s certainly an investment, but it could be a great way to congratulate the patent attorney in your life for passing the patent bar.
If the patent attorney in your life has been talking about trying to keep more business in-house, getting them a computer-aided design (CAD) software gift could be a great option. Autodesk Inventor is a pricey option at $2,085 per one-year subscription but it provides advanced modeling tools for creating 3D prototypes as well as patent drawings and collaboration tools which could be useful when working with an inventor team. On the other end of the scale, Autodesk also makes available a program called Tinkercad, a free application used by hobbyists for 3D design and drawings. Obviously a free app platform is not an ideal choice for legal professionals who need to maintain the utmost secrecy to protect inventions, but the point is that there’s a wide array of options for patent image design software available at various pricing levels.
Patent attorneys are usually very technically minded but not every attorney has a great grasp of technical drawing, often forcing counsel to contract with outside providers for drafting images to submit with patent application filings. Paid training sessions through Autodesk or Lynda.com could help the patent attorney in your life grow his or her patent application filing business.
Keychain With USPTO Seal
For those who need stocking stuffer ideas, U.S. Patent Services, a firm offering custom personalized inventor gifts, sells a key chain with USPTO seal for a pretty reasonable $14. This key chain would be a nifty purchase for attorneys involved in patent prosecution at the USPTO, providing a bit of instant clout among the attorney’s colleagues even if the chain doesn’t have a key to a Tesla. U.S. Patent Services sells several other items with the USPTO seal including personalized drink coasters, coffee mugs and, for the patent attorney who doesn’t need cutting edge technology, mouse pads.
Patent Bar Flashcards
Maybe the patent attorney in your life isn’t quite a patent attorney yet but has plans on taking the patent bar at some point during 2021 to practice law at the USPTO. Kim Rubin, a registered patent agent and inventor, has published a set of 900 flashcards to help with study for the patent bar. The 2020 edition, listed at $79.50, covers various topics including Sections 101, 102 and 103, recent case law including Berkheimer v. HP (2018) at the Federal Circuit, and many other topics that are typically tested on the patent bar. Of course, for those attorneys who have passed the patent bar, we would be remiss to not mention the Patent Practice Training program offered by John White and IPWatchdog Founder Gene Quinn, which can give new patent attorneys a great head start on various facets of USPTO practice as well as additional one-on-one mentoring time with John and Gene.
Science-Themed Board Games
Many legal professionals wind up as patent attorneys in large part because of a love of science during their younger days. Thanks to crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, many unique board games with elaborate concepts have been released in recent years, including a few with intriguing science-based gameplay. Lovelace & Babbage, available from Genius Games for $19.99, pits players as computer programmers working in the 19th century on the world’s first computer, the Analytical Engine. Players compete by solving mathematical equations and unlocking advanced operations to earn more points. Another Genius Games title, Cytosis: A Cell Biology Game ($39.99), directs players to control cellular activity by building enzymes and hormone receptors and even translating messenger RNA (mRNA) into proteins to score health points. These and several other science-themed board games can help your patent attorney connect with their inner child on Christmas morning.
Science Fiction/Nonfiction Books
After long days of reading through documents dense with technical jargon, your resident patent attorney may enjoy some much lighter reading material whetting their appetite for science and technology. This year saw some intriguing new titles in science fiction, including Ready Player Two, Ernest Cline’s sequel to his 2011 hit that was made into a motion picture in 2018 by Steven Spielberg. In nonfiction science, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, a New York Times bestseller, explores the history of human breathing and how humans have lost the ability to breathe properly in recent centuries, leading to widespread health problems. Although it’s a 2014 release, What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions features a lot of scientific data but applied to very unusual scenarios, such as what would happen if a baseball traveled at light speed or if every lightning strike on Earth struck the same place at the same time. These and other titles could make for some great pleasure reading for many patent attorneys.
The writer would like to acknowledge contributions to this list from Amy Semet, Associate Professor of Law, University at Buffalo School of Law, and Kevin Bronson, J.D., Simpson & Simpson PLLC.
Image Source: Deposit Photos