Merging work life with personal interests is a tough feat to accomplish, but in 2015, Phillips Murrah Attorney Cody J. Cooper set in motion a two-year journey to make that a reality.
“I’ve always enjoyed science and looking at things to figure out how they work, and Intellectual Property is a great fit for that interest,” Cody said. “I like the idea of working hand-in-hand with inventors to help them along with the process, with the end goal of getting them a patent on their unique idea.
Intellectual Property is a perfect blend of law, science and entrepreneurship that perfectly aligns with my personal interests and passions.”
With this motivation in mind, Cody began the process of obtaining a license to become an official Patent Attorney.
“Everyone on the planet has had an idea at some point in their lives,” said Martin G. Ozinga, Of Counsel Attorney and Chair of the Firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. “There aren’t many practicing Patent Attorneys in Oklahoma, but there are plenty of folks who need one.”
Aside from personal gain, the designation of a Patent Attorney offers credibility and security for clients which isn’t afforded to those seeking patents on their own accord. However, the process for obtaining a patent license can be demanding, especially with a full-time legal workload.
In order to sit for the Patent Bar, candidates must have a scientific or technological background, typically in the form of an undergraduate degree in a science or engineering field, in addition to securing a law degree.
“I had accumulated undergraduate credits in chemical engineering, but I was short by 13 hours,” Cody said. “When I knew I wanted to pursue getting my patent license, I looked at the University of Central Oklahoma’s enrollment requirements and their course catalog to find classes that I could attend in the evenings after work.”
Because it had been several years since he took engineering courses in college, Cody tried to find a line of classes that qualified but from which he could start at the beginning. The best courses that worked for this were biology courses, he said.
Over the course of three semesters, Cody took four evening biology classes at UCO: biology, biology lab, microbiology and human anatomy with cadavers.
“During school, I had class two to three nights per week, and classes lasted two to three hours each night,” he said. “I also had homework, quizzes, tests and finals as part of these courses.”
Much like the standard college experience, he was in class with undergraduate students and had homework, regular tests and finals.
“When I was completing my third semester, I went to San Francisco and took a Patent Bar study course. The course was essentially a full-week course put on by the Practising Law Institute,” Cody said. “After I finished my last semester, I applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to take the Patent Bar and proceeded to take the exam.”
Cody spent a several hours most nights and weekends studying for the two months leading up to taking the Patent Bar. He passed on his first attempt, and as of July 2017 has officially obtained his Patent License and the ability to practice as a Patent Attorney.
Learn more about Phillips Murrah’s Patent, Copyright and Trademark Practice Group by visiting the Intellectual Property Practice Area page here.