Baylor College of Medicine’s Office of General Counsel and the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright have partnered to create an intellectual property internship for Baylor graduate students.
“I have been teaching an intellectual property law class for around 15 years in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Baylor and over the years, I’ve noticed that several of the students have gone on to pursue careers as patent agents, patent examiners or patent lawyers,” said Dr. Patrick Turley, associate general counsel in the Office of General Counsel. “That’s why Bob Corrigan, senior vice president and general counsel, and I thought it would be a good idea to have the internship opportunity.”
Because they partnered with Baylor for a similar internship in the past, the Fulbright team was eager to be involved when Turley reached out to them. James Arnold, a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was the first student to complete the internship.
“The internship was primarily working in the area of patent prosecution, which is where ideas developed in the lab are translated into legal documents and become protected intellectual property,” Arnold said.
For him, the best part of the internship was getting to represent the inventors during the back and forth of the patent prosecution process, Arnold said.
“The patent office will come back after looking at a patent application and have a lot of rejections and reasons why certain things aren’t allowable,” Arnold said. “I really enjoyed assessing the rejections and then using my scientific knowledge to generate logical and persuasive counterarguments to refute their assertions and provide support for why the patents should be allowed.”
Besides helping students learn how to use their science skills and knowledge in a practical setting, Turley said another goal of the internship is to encourage students to explore a different career path they may not have thought of before.
“Even if students stay in a traditional career path doing research at a university, I hope that through this internship, they will have a deeper appreciation of what happens in the patenting and technology transfer process,” he said.