Nicholas Lane

Patent Examiner, United States Patent & Trademark Office

2008 | Detroit, MI

Michigan State University| Mechanical Engineering

“The various programs tailored to particular interests help the school feel small, and further introduces you to classmates with similar interests.”

As a Patent Examiner, Nicolas Lane reviews patent applications, from the initial filing of the application to its final disposition. He checks applications for compliance with statutory requirements, researches prior art publications for subject matter related to the application, works with attorneys representing the inventors, and determines the patentability of the application under review.

“On a broad level, my current position is rewarding because I assist in furthering the mission of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and play a part in fostering innovation and improving the economy,” Nicholas said. “On an individual level, my current position is rewarding because each day brings a new challenge, which keeps the job interesting. The patent applications I deal with are related to a wide variety of technologies, and each patent application has its own legal issues.”

As a law student, Nicholas found that MSU provided a large selection of intellectual property classes that are applicable to his current position. “From my first day as a 1L student, I was introduced to intellectual property issues in my Research, Writing, and Analysis class. In my 2L and 3L years, I was able to take classes in Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Patent Law, Patent Application Preparation, Cyber Law, Federal Jurisdiction, and Administrative Law. These classes provided me with the knowledge I needed to start my career in intellectual property,” he said.

Nicholas noted that MSU Law is large enough to offer classes and programs directed toward many different areas of law. “I was able to take classes applicable for a career in intellectual property, as well as participate in Moot Court competitions that dealt with intellectual property issues,” he said. “The various programs tailored to particular interests help the school feel small, and further introduces you to classmates with similar interests.”

He recommend that new students find their own niche at whichever law school they attend. “This may be a program directed toward a particular type of law, a moot court program, a law review, a legal clinic, or any of the various legal societies within a law school. These types of programs will put you in touch with like-minded students and will ultimately make your law school experience much more enjoyable,” Nicholas said.