Brad Czerwonky (J.D. ’18), Mitch Foley (J.D. ’18) and Brandon Reed (J.D. ’18) took first place in the third annual International Patent Drafting Competition, held in Detroit in February.
This is the first time Georgia State University College of Law participated in the competition, which is hosted by the Midwest Regional Office of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). The team was among the 15 law schools that prepared a patent application based on a hypothetical invention, then presented it to a panel of judges comprised of patent examiners and practitioners. According to the organizers, the quality of the submissions was strong across the board.
“While I believed that we could win, I am not sure that I really expected it – especially after meeting some of the other teams and getting feedback from the organizers,” Czerwonky said. “I sensed that the teams really attacked the problem, but we worked really hard as a team. We struggled through the process of communicating and comprising on various points, but our process was rewarded in the end. One of the judges commented on how many different issues we touched on in our presentation, and yet I laughed a bit in recalling all that we left out.”
Unlike other teams, Czerwonky, Foley and Reed did not have a “staff coach,” so they relied on what they’ve learned through the Center for Intellectual Property.
“Our team worked alone from start to finish but mentoring by our professors and the private practice attorneys whom we have interacted with over the last three years was a tremendous asset,” Czerwonky said.
According to Yaniv Heled, associate professor of Law and co-director Center for Intellectual Property, Center for Law Health and Society, the team deserves all the credit.
“The team is gracious to mention the program, and I would like to think that they indeed benefitted from the instruction they received and experience gained studying in our IP program,” Heled said. “The bottom line is they did it all by themselves, and we are extremely proud of them.”
Reed, who plans to practice patent law after graduating, joined the team to learn more about patent drafting. He, Czerwonky and Foley have varying degrees of patent experience – he and Foley interned with the U.S.P.T.O., and Czerwonky is a patent agent.
“As a team, we discussed many of the lessons we have learned over the past few years. I believe that bouncing ideas off of each other was one of the keys to our success,” Reed said. “We were up against strong competition from well-respected IP programs, and we tried to represent Georgia State Law and our IP program well. The law school and the IP Advisory Board do a great job providing students the resources needed to concentrate extensively on patents and other intellectual property.”
The team hopes students continue their tradition and continue to participate in this competition.
“While a lot of hard work, the IP Drafting competition is a great opportunity for students interested in patent prosecution. I recommend a diverse team that forces discussion and compromise,” Czerwonky said. “I also learned a lot more about my teammates in the process. Who knew Mitch almost made it to the Olympics in boxing before entering law school? Both were great to work with, and overall it was a rewarding experience.”