IP shield: Patent attorney enjoys protecting clients' interests

By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

One of patent attorney Matt Mitchell's first clients invented a unique children's toy and authored an accompanying book. After copyrighting the book and filing the patent application, the author/inventor honored Mitchell with a signed copy.

"It was a satisfying feeling reading it to my kids this year, knowing I helped protect his business and get that book to market," says Mitchell, an attorney with Fraser Trebilcock in Lansing.

Another client has invented an assortment of beer distillation equipment and a novel process for distilling beer.

"While building a prototype is not a required step in the patenting process, in some cases the patent attorney really needs to see and test the invention before drafting an application," Mitchell says with a smile.

A patent attorney concentrating his practice in intellectual property law, Mitchell has prepared and prosecuted patent applications in numerous technological disciplines including telecommunications, automotive components, mechanical, electrical, and computing technologies. His practice includes IP portfolio management, IP acquisition (patents, trademarks, copyrights), licensing agreements, due diligence investigations, freedom-to-operate opinions, prior art searches, validity studies, and infringement and patentability opinions.

His services provide clients valuable insight into competitor's products and advice on navigating around patent and IP rights.

"Being a patent attorney is a great job," he says. "We get to work with new and exciting projects daily and with innovative clients who are enthusiastic about their inventions and growing their businesses."

Mitchell joined the firm last November, after previously working in private practice in Milford and then running his own law practice in Fenton for four years.

He enjoys the close and direct relationship with clients and their businesses as he works to guard their intellectual property interests so they can continue to innovate.

"It's particularly enjoyable to defend and develop patent portfolios for clients who compete in competitive markets," he says. "I joined Fraser Trebilcock to expand the legal and intellectual property services I could offer my clients."

Protecting a client's intellectual property assets is similar to solving a puzzle, he explains.

"Each client operates in a different competitive market and has different goals and challenges. With those client considerations in mind, we work to maximize patent and intellectual property protection for the client - an always interesting and unique task."

Working with clients in the medical field has been especially gratifying.

"I've been fortunate enough to work with technologies ranging from medical device tracking systems to various neurosurgical devices including spinal fusion plates and aneurysm clips to medical-based software applications - it's heart-warming to work with people and products that directly improve people's lives."

Mitchell earned his undergrad degree in electrical and electronics engineering from Michigan State University, a background that helps him appreciate the creative and inventive nature of his clients.

"I was drawn to engineering by a competitive nature for mathematics and a desire to learn how things worked, but mostly I followed my dad's footsteps into the technical world," he says. "Growing up I saw all the great projects he was working on - such as a real robot - and slowly made decisions until there was no turning back... I was a nerd!"

That same desire to learn how things worked that drew him to study engineering also drew him to study law.

"I wanted to know, exactly, how society functions," he explains. "The law guides business and individual relationships and explains the order of basic societal functions - studying the law was enlightening."

He stayed in East Lansing to earn his juris doctor from MSU College of Law, where he also served as vice president on The State News Board of Directors, a student-run newspaper.

"I enjoyed the people, beautiful campus, and closeness to home," he says. "I received a practical, ??real world' education at the MSU engineering and MSU law colleges. It has opened doors and led to a fulfilling and enriched life."

Published: Mon, Jun 16, 2014