Like most of your colleagues, you have a background in engineering. How did you find your way to Intellectual Property?

I graduated from Boston University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Throughout that time, I worked in research and found it to be very narrow and limiting. I couldn’t envision studying the same thing for the rest of my career, but I still wanted to find a way to use my engineering degree, so an advisor of mine recommended patent law. I enrolled in the University of Michigan Law School shortly thereafter.

After graduation, I worked for one of the largest firms in the industry, focusing on mostly patent litigation for almost five years. I decided I needed a change, so I went to work for Federal District Court Judge John Manos as a law clerk in the federal district court in Cleveland, Ohio. It was one of the best experiences in my career because I was exposed to all areas of law in a manner that showed me very directly the effects the law can have on ordinary people. After Judge Manos passed away, I knew I didn’t want to go back into the big firm atmosphere, so I found my way to Renner Otto. I had known of this firm for years and knew several of the attorneys, so I joined in 2007 principally as a litigator. Over the course of the next few years, I moved over to the patent prosecution practice.

What made Renner Otto the optimal fit for you?

The boutique atmosphere is very collegial here. We have such a cooperative work atmosphere, and we also have a great balance between work and non-work life. We represent large to small clients from all over the world, from large corporations to small business entrepreneurs including individual inventors, doing some of the most interesting and challenging work, but we also prioritize finding as many opportunities outside of work as possible. I also think we do a great job on-boarding and mentoring our new hires - especially brand new attorneys. We provide high quality assignments and responsibility early on, so our new attorneys get trained up very fast while making sure they have a team of experts guiding them along the way.

Most importantly, I get to use my science background. I love all things science and engineering, and I get to use science in a way that gives me a wide-variety of exposure to different up and coming technologies. I get to work alongside inventors from so many different fields and companies, so that I’m exposed to cutting edge development all the time.

Any particular innovations that have been your favorite since you’ve been here?

I have worked on a lot of consumer electronics like high-definition televisions and cameras, and I find those to be the most fun because I get to see the end-products actually in the marketplace. These are things that I actually purchase, and I get to see the work I did brought into my home. Another of the more fascinating or innovative products was an exoskeleton device that was made to help paralyzed people walk using sensors and motors, and I got to see footage of people operating these devices and how being able to walk changed their lives. It was fascinating and extremely fulfilling.

You mentioned prioritizing work/life balance. What does life outside of work look like for you?

My wife and I live in Twinsburg, and we have a daughter attending the University of Minnesota and a son who is at Northern Kentucky near Cincinnati. We are big on travel and as soon as that’s allowed, we are looking forward to heading back to Europe; I lived in Denmark as a summer exchange student and really want to get back to Scandinavia and check out Portugal and Spain. The attached picture shows my family at the Austrian Alps on a trip to central Europe.

We’re also a very active family. My wife was an ultra-runner for awhile, and now she’s looking into coaching teenage girls doing ultra-marathon running. My son also is an avid runner, completing a 50-mile run this past summer. My daughter and I are really into Jiu-Jitsu. We took it together and 3 years ago we became black belts in Goshin Jiu-Jitsu. We actually are the first father-daughter pair to test for (and achieve) black belt on the same exact day! I am looking forward to getting back into Jiu-Jitsu after the pandemic.