Editor note: Barley Snyder patent attorney Kevin Myhre has returned home from Munich, Germany, after a four-week internship to enhance his knowledge of the European process and share his knowledge of the American patent process with his German colleagues. This is the final part of a four-part series on his experiences in Germany, though you can still catch up with part 1, part 2 or part 3.
Not all of my time in Munich involved me learning about European patent law. An important aspect of the internship was sharing my knowledge of the U.S. patent process with my colleagues at Grünecker, and that made up a large share of my final week in Germany. During a final-week presentation with the German firm, I outlined the American patent process. I focused on the parts of an American patent application with notes on the strategically important considerations, the prosecution process with insights from my time as a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent examiner and recent developments in patent subject matter eligibility at the USPTO. Throughout the presentation, I highlighted important distinctions between European patent prosecution and American patent prosecution that I had learned during my internship. My colleagues asked insightful questions on American patent law despite my presentation being the only obstacle to lunch from a local pizzeria.
With a better understanding of each other’s patent systems, and specifically the reasoning behind drafting, amendment and argument choices, we will be better able to efficiently prosecute patent applications that are filed in more than just our home jurisdictions on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. The common understanding of the various patent processes will allow us to find as much middle ground as possible, limiting work and changes that need to be made for a patent application originally filed at the European Patent Office and later filed at the USPTO.
I also took a few days away from my internship to travel to one of our European-based clients. I was able to meet, in-person, people I had only spoken with over the phone or worked with via email. The opportunity both for personal interaction and to relay some of what I had learned during my internship was invaluable.
My successful and fruitful time abroad was filled with learning experiences, opportunities to offer my expertise, travel, Munich culture and as many other things as I could pack into my month-long internship. I learned more and had closer, first-hand observations of processes at the EPO than I expected, and also left the seeds of USPTO prosecution knowledge along with a point of reference for USPTO patent questions. The experience allowed me to deepen relationships with existing clients, establish a network of colleagues at a major European patent firm, and develop a lasting, intimate knowledge of European patent practice.
Although it was very nice to come home, see my family, and settle back into a more normal routine, I will certainly miss my time at Grünecker. My flight home may have marked the end of my European patent internship, but it was more like the beginning of a business relationship with my colleagues at Grünecker and the integration of improved European patent knowledge into my everyday practice.
If anyone has more specific questions about the European patent process, please feel free to contact me any time.