'Bullseye': Avid archer hits target in his patent law career

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Patent attorney Andrew Maurer hails from Ubly, a small rural town near Bad Axe in Michigan’s “Thumb.” His childhood roots also launched Maurer on a career culminating in his current position as a patent attorney at Howard & Howard in Royal Oak.

In boyhood, Maurer spent a lot of time helping to maintain farm equipment on his parents’ small cash-crop farm with his father, who is a mechanic by trade.    

“When I was young, that meant holding a shop-light for my dad while I watched and absorbed what he was doing,” Maurer says. “As I grew, I took on those tasks for myself.  In school, I excelled in science and mathematics. I began to realize mechanical engineering was the way I could combine the skills I had at home with the skills I had in the classroom.”   

After earning his undergrad degree, cum laude, in mechanical engineering, from Lawrence Technological University, Maurer became a project engineer at a local automotive supplier where he worked in product development and engineering of airbags and steering wheels across numerous vehicle platforms for several OEMs. He also designed custom design validation and production validation test equipment.

“I enjoyed taking a project from a concept, through design, and into production,” he says. “It was rewarding to see a tangible product in a car or truck that I helped to bring into production.”

Working with in-house patent counsel piqued Maurer’s interest in studying law and becoming a patent attorney.

“I enjoyed communicating with others and working to develop solutions to problems,” he says. “I also enjoyed technical writing. Patent law became the natural progression based on my skills.”

Maurer took up the challenge of working in the Intellectual Property Intern Program at Howard & Howard by day, followed by evening classes at WMU-Cooley Law School.

“There were many long days,” he says. “However, the IP intern program exposed me to many of the tasks I would eventually have as an attorney, especially in patent preparation and prosecution, which helped ease my transition into a practicing attorney.  The legal reasoning I used during the day as an IP intern also aided me in the classroom.”

Maurer enjoyed the diverse backgrounds of the WMU-Cooley professors and students, who were similarly there in the evening hours.

“Many of my professors were still practicing attorneys and many of the students worked in fields where they could transition into a practicing attorney after the bar exam,” he said. “This fostered practical discussions regarding the application of the law in their various respective fields.”

Maurer concentrates his practice in IP law with an emphasis on patent preparation, prosecution, and clearance work primarily in the mechanical arts. He has assisted clients in a wide variety of mechanical and electro-mechanical technologies including automotive transmission shifters, vehicle seats, pedal assemblies, motion transmission cables, differentials, axles, four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive systems, chassis components, window assemblies, weather-seals, antenna systems, building door systems, semi-automatic firearms, and medical devices.

“I’ve performed work relating to medical beds and devices that are used to help patients in many hospitals and medical centers,” he says.

 “I’ve also performed work relating to vehicle powertrain and drivetrain components that improve vehicle performance and fuel economy.

“My engineering experience assists me in deciphering an invention,” he adds.

 “In addition, it gives me insight into the internal structure and processes of engineering-based companies, and I’m able to tailor my practice to support similarly situated clients.”

A member of the Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association, Maurer enjoys interacting with and counseling clients.

 “IP law is very complex and it’s rewarding to develop solutions to a client’s complex IP issues,” he says.

Utilizing his engineering background, Maurer enjoys working with inventors to develop a clear understanding of their creations.  “It’s incredibly rewarding when an inventor reviews my work product and says, ‘You get it!’ That’s when I know I successfully captured the complexities of their technology and transformed it into a legal work product.”

An avid archer (or “toxophilite”) and bow hunter, he relishes the skill and discipline required for accuracy. 

“I think it’s partly due to my engineering background,” he says. “Archery is a pure application of physics and melds together man and machine.

“If the bow and the archer function properly and work together in unison, then the arrow is going to be on the mark.”

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