Think About Intellectual Property Often
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Think About Intellectual Property Often
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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we see is people thinking about intellectual property too late um and they start to run up against those deadlines and they lose out on some property rights um so my biggest thing uh biggest piece of advice i guess would be to think about intellectual property early and often um intellectual property is one of those things that you can lose out on um and not just from you know the the typical ways that we we hear people inventors and entrepreneurs complain that someone else is ripping them off right sometimes they're their own worst enemy as far as making sure they're getting very on time [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several businesses in the seven and eight figure companies as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with earth patents and trademarks and if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have a bit of a different guest on normal oils have founders co-founders entrepreneurs and other startups darren is darren burnham and he is one of the attorneys at miller ip law and so we as as you can catch with most of our intros we uh myself and a few of the other attorneys at the firm help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and so darren's one of the attorneys here at miller ip law that will that uh that we that helps out with everybody works on their matters and gets it going so as an introduction there's a way to introduce darren wanted to kind of talk through a bit of his journey how he got started where he started at how he got or what degrees he has where he's worked and how he ended up at miller ip law and just doing patent law in general so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast aaron thanks david appreciate it so maybe to start out with you know tell us a little bit about kind of undergraduate what you are doing and then how you just how do you first of all got into intellectual property or ip law sure um so i studied mechanical engineering at the university of utah and uh it was actually during my undergraduate that i got introduced to intellectual property i was good friends with a gentleman who had gone to law school and just started up his own practice and he he offered to introduce me to intellectual property and uh i took him up on it and what was supposed to be just a a two-week introduction uh or so turned into a much more of a relationship and a little bit of a career path change i had actually intended to go on and probably get a master's in engineering um go work for some engineering firm or company in-house with them developing their products but once i got the taste of intellectual property in my mouth i decided i was going to change change pace a little bit so ended up going to law school after i graduated worked through my undergraduate for uh holman ikey law which became wilson hammond hulman at some point and worked through the undergraduate uh went to law school worked for the same firm all through law school and uh then a few years after i graduated from law school so before we do before you dive in one question following up so i mean i don't know if you're like me and everybody has their own experience you get into what is you know engineering school and it's very technical it's very you know a plus b equals c you do the math you do the you do the calculations and you're good to go and then you get into law school and it's for me at least it was a fairly big mind shift and now i have to write papers and lay it out the arguments and there isn't necessarily an a plus b equals c and it's all subjective it all depends and so it's always kind of that and that not only that your work you're you're competing against everybody else that for their undergraduate they were doing writing they were writing to the professor they were used to that and so what was your experience in law school was it a major mind shift did you love it did you hate it did you work your way through it kind of how did law school go as you were shifting from engineering to doing more uh law in general before getting or graduating going to intellectual property sure yeah there definitely is a bit of a shifting approach and how you handle and are successful in in engineering versus how you're successful in law school um it definitely was uh more of a shift for me than probably most at law school just because i came from a technical background it was interesting some of the first few classes you went to everybody went around the room and you kind of introduced yourself you know where you're from what you studied before you came from came to law school and uh a lot of heads in the room kind of turned when i said i studied engineering before coming to law school uh you know it's pretty common to have the political science english history majors things like that you know most most of my classmates in law school came in with that background there were very few of us that came in with an engineering background and yeah you do you do have to make some adaptations um coming in and writing persuasive papers versus a technical analysis uh it's a very different thing but i think it did actually lend itself um pretty well because as engineers were were fairly organized were able to kind of set things out in a structure and you know a lot of arguments that you make a lot of the persuasive viewpoints that you put out there benefit from having a really nice structure a nice way of stepping through those those arguments and so i think engineering kind of lended itself to that a bit um but it was certainly a shift you know with with engineering you either you got the right answer and your your widget works uh or you don't have the right answer uh and something just doesn't work now i'm going to follow up with one more question so i mean every now i'm going even further back in time which is the wrong direction but we'll catch up to after you graduate but you know you mentioned a little bit about because you were had plans to go for engineering you know you didn't undergraduate in mechanical engineering you're going to go for a master's you talked with you know somebody you knew about you know maybe for patent law but what was it that for lack of it or drove you away from engineering and or drove you to patent law because engineering is a good career and you can do that and a lot of people have done it and successful and it's a good thing so what made you say okay i'd rather be going into patent law as opposed to going into air furthering your career in engineering yeah good question um one of the big things was i was really interested in kind of cutting edge technology and what i wanted to do was eventually work as an engineer in research and development um but the more that i kind of asked around and asked the question how do you get to r d how do you get into research and development how do you get to work with some of those new cutting edge technologies uh the answer that kept coming back was oh you know we'll just work in the industry for 20 25 30 years and you'll get there and that sounds horrible i wanted to work in it now i wanted to be working with new technologies uh seeing some of the exciting stuff that was coming out of these these companies and these engineering firms i wanted to see it before 20 25 30 years in the industry so as i started to get my feet wet with intellectual property i found that's exactly uh what we do with intellectual property we start from day one looking at new technologies figuring out why these things are cool but what kind of advantages they're going to bring to to science to technology to the arts and how how it's going to impact lives we do that from day one not 20 25 30 years down the road uh so being able to work with that new technology uh immediately was was one of the big convincing factors um oh and that makes perfect sense that's probably a little bit i mean i a little bit similar story in the sense that i kind of got to the end of the engineering school i didn't want to be an engineer but i wanted to be i wanted to still work with technology and so you kind of you know otherwise to your point you have to you're you work on a very small project for a long period of time you're stuck on it for months or years at a time and eventually you'll work your way up to you'll actually get to work on the cool technology after being in grunt for a period of time and i decided i didn't want to do that so now is with that realization you didn't engineer mechanical engineering undergraduate went graduated from law school and you're coming out of law school so you know looking at jobs you already worked for the firm for the person that you knew worked at their firm for a period of time did you continue to work there did you go somewhere else kind of how was that transition where did you work with who did you work for what kind of clients and how did that go yeah good question so i was one of the lucky ones that kind of knew where i was going coming out of law school i had you know physician lined up um didn't have to worry about doing the job hunting thing coming out of law school um i already had a firm that i was working with and was going to continue to work with uh and i did for a number of years after that um there was a little bit of a shift in in the firm the the the owner decided to go in-house with a larger uh firm downtown salt lake um and uh i i decided to take a different path um during that transition so it was then that i i went over and started working with lowenstein sandler at the time they were kind of establishing their utah office and that's where you and i first met devon was over there well as we were both working with with lowenstein sandler a great very large firm based in new jersey and kind of the ip center in palo alto in california i had a great opportunity to work with kevin grange learned from him some great people over there um i had another opportunity with another firm come up after that um but during the during the time that i was with lois sandler got to work with a number of uh really cool clients a lot of medical advice clients a lot of software worked with a lot of a lot of big names and i guess starting back with home and iq law kind of cut my teeth with ibm and some software and then with lone science sandler same thing worked with red hat and google and a bunch of medical device technologies and chemical and material science kind of things a little bit of robotics especially with respect to some of the medical device got a really good breadth of experience with lone stein sandler and then from there i went to another firm looked for something a little more local uh as far as the headquarters i also worked with a uh a firm that was based out of salt lake city uh called kunzler bean and adamson that actually went through a couple of different name ships while i was with them it was with them for a number of years um and again i got to continue to work with uh some some big name clients and some some startups found that i like to have a little bit of balance of both um having working with some of the big name clients is fun and but i also found that i enjoyed working with the startups working with the small companies the entrepreneurs that are just getting going um i found that it was while it was nice to work with the big name clients and it was it was easy to work with them because they had some established processes in place it was it was good work um it wasn't as fulfilling as working with with the startups it felt like you made more of a difference instead of being a small cog and a really big machine with the big clients you were a very important piece of the strategy very important piece of the team when you're working with the startups um a little bit more that has to go into you know educating the inventors and the entrepreneurs there um helping helping make a difference there but it's really fulfilling uh to be able to to step in at that level and help help clients out that way so um after a couple of years with council green and adamson um i had the opportunity reconnected with you and uh with jedi who was another attorney firm and uh decided it you know it might be a good move to jump back into working more with some of the startups and um small to mid-size entrepreneurs um and uh the rest is been here ever since so now going through a little bit of your journey so you so now you've you know you worked with some of the the bigger law firms you work with some of the medium law firms miller ip law is an awesome law firm but it is on the smaller side and so you know as you go through what was the you know giving people an insight what was the benefit or what did you like about the large law firms what did you like about the small law firms and if you're kind of you know putting yourself in the bit of the the client's shoes you know which one would be the how should they go about making a decision or why would you recommend if you're to look back at the different law firms you work with you know is there a benefit to a bigger law firm smaller law firm how do you make those decisions and based on you know which ones you liked and kind of your experience with them yeah yeah good question um i mean first from my perspective one of the reasons why i came over to milleric law is because i like that that small firm feel right i like having a little bit more involvement uh just like i mentioned with the clients you know i prefer working with you know some of the small clients because it's more fulfilling you're more involved um same thing with the firms you know with the with the smaller firm where i started at home in ip law it was a little bit a little bit of a smaller firm um i was actually the first uh employee at that firm and uh it got to have a lot of say in you know how things went with marketing and reaching out um you know identifying the kind of clients we wanted to help out how best to help them out and we were really really agile that way it was a more dynamic practice we could kind of tailor make ourselves and fit the services that we provided to to our clientele um and help them the best way possible and then you know that that's very different at a large firm it's more of a rigid structure and they kind of have things set in place they know where they're where they want to be and how they want to do it and you know each individual attorney has very little influence on that um so i think that's i think that's a huge selling point for the smaller firms uh you know if you find a big firm that's a great fit then that's fantastic but are they going to be a great fit for everybody probably not the smaller firms can be more agile we can identify exactly the kind of clientele uh that we want to be able to help the exactly the kind of inventor you know we've we've picked out the the startups and the small entrepreneurs um and we've been able to to tailor ourselves because we're smaller and can be more agile and change our approach we're able to help them in in the ways that they they really need it and provide a greater value and be a better asset to them than you know even some of the big big dollar uh and big name firms um we can we can provide even better service than than you would find there no i think i and i'm agreeing with you i mean it's certainly a bit of a self-biased answer because obviously i started the law firm to do it a bit differently but i do think that you know the the fun thing about working in a small law firm is you get to have a greater impact and influence on how you work with the clients and you can actually give them advice you can give them strategy you can sit down with them more versus with the bigger companies often times and you know and the bigger law firms you you have a rigid way of you doing it you want to make sure it's done the exact same way you don't have quite that ability to strategize and sit down with them well i always have two questions at the end of each podcast we're going to change them up slightly but ask you so along your career journey along the law firms and along the or the educational journey in that what was the biggest decision or what was the biggest mistake you ever made and what did you learn from it interesting a good question um i don't know what i would say is my my biggest mistake so how about i give you a second to think and i'll give you my biggest mistake and that will give you a bit of a time to think about yours so you know if i were to look and say what is the biggest i don't know if it was a mistake but you know it's one where i've had now 150 plus interviews with various people or entrepreneurs startups and small businesses and i would say the number one note that i hear from them is that they wish they got started sooner and they wish that they got started more quickly and they spent a lot of their career and their time and efforts working for other companies or other businesses and then they've started their own business or their own error startup and that's what they love and they wish they'd got started earlier in the career and that's probably a little bit the same with me at miller ip laws you know what i've been doing the law firm now we're coming up on three years since it was started and it's been fun it's been enjoyable you know there's certainly ups and downs and times that are fun that are not but i wish i'd probably got started sooner and so it's one of those where you can always look back so with that that would be my biggest mistake and my also advice a lot or would be to get started sooner when you find something that you love and you want to do so i give you a bit of time to think so i don't know if you thought of anything else that would be your biggest mistake that you would that you would change ah yeah um i mean the timeline thing is is is a common thread with a lot of people and you know that that might be uh something that i would probably list um there's been a number of opportunities where i've had to be more involved with a couple of different companies that i've helped and because usually hesitants on the part of the firm to see attorneys be involved with the clients on a different level than just as their attorney but maybe as an investor or as you know someone who's actually involved on a board or something like that i've had a couple of opportunities to to do that and just because of the firm i was with had to pass on those opportunities and i think it could have been uh you know a really good opportunity um that i could have taken advantage of and but it turned out really good um and it's always one of those woulda coulda shoulda hindsight's 2020 right it's hard to say exactly how that would have worked out um but that's probably one of my uh bigger regrets there were some opportunities that i passed up a little bit and it would have been interesting to see how they played out all right great answer now that you had the time to think about it now i'm going to ask my second answer a second question i'm going to tweak it a little bit normally the question is if you're talking to a startup or small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them i'll tweak that slightly if you're talking to a startup or small business given that your intellectual property what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them with regards to intellectual property uh yeah i mean the biggest thing is uh know when those intellectual property rights become at risk right we get a lot of times uh inventors and it's awesome they get really excited about what they've got right and they want to tell the world they want to they want to get out there they want to be at the trade shows they want to you know get their product out on a platform like amazon or you know they want to go do a gofundme or an indiegogo you know they want to get out there and kick start their uh their their path because they're excited about what they've got um unfortunately sometimes intellectual property gets pushed off to the side a little bit you know they get caught up in that excitement they really want to get out they want to want to show the world they want to start selling their product and they don't realize that a lot of times that starts a certain set of clocks for their intellectual property rights as soon as they start to share that with the world and it's great they're excited about it but that that sets some deadlines for when their intellectual property becomes public becomes owned by everybody so one of the biggest mistakes i think we see is people thinking about intellectual property too late um and they start to run up against those deadlines and they lose out on some property rights so my biggest thing uh biggest piece of advice i guess would be to think about intellectual property early and often intellectual property is one of those things that you can lose out on um and not just from you know the the typical ways that we we hear people inventors and entrepreneurs complain that someone else is ripping them off right sometimes they're their own worst enemy um as far as making sure they're getting very actual property on time so that'd be probably my biggest thing all right although that's a good piece of advice that people can take to heart well as we wrap up i already know the answer but i'll ask you anyway if people want to reach out they want to be your client they want to find out more or they otherwise want to pick your brain about intellectual property questions what's the best way to connect up with you yeah the best way is just to you know check out our website head over to uh milleripl.com and uh check out uh the the resources that we've got available um we've got a lot of things from uh kind of self-help products that we can uh get you started and you can get in with a pretty pretty slick set of tools um and then if they wanna if you the clients want to uh reach out we've got a great set of attorneys here i'd love to help out we've got a lot of uh breadth of experience a huge range of backgrounds we're able to help out pretty much everybody so all right and i'll plug for darren himself as well if you want to or grab some time on darren's schedule or otherwise meet with him specifically you can go to meetdarin.com darren and spell d-a-r-r-i-n so it's gonna meet darren.com and you can grab some time specifically on his calendar so well thank you for coming on it's been fun it's been a pleasure wish the next leg of your journey and uh hopefully with miller ip law but wherever you go success thanks devin i appreciate the opportunity [Music]