How Patent Law Has Made Me A Better Parent


My three-year-old son and I drove to see the Easter Bunny this weekend.  In the car, I asked whether he was excited to meet the Easter Bunny.  He answered, “My teacher says that bunnies are wild, and I should look with my eyes and not my hands.”  He thought for a few seconds and followed with, “Mom, what does wild mean?”  That’s when it hit me.  Being a patent attorney has made me excel at this parenting job.  Define a word – I’d love to!   Ask probing questions – yes please!  Last night after we put all three kids to bed, I sat down at our kitchen table with legal pads all around me and really thought about how lucky children of patent attorneys are.  For example:

Every Lego® creation is an invention disclosure ready to happen.  Whether the Lego® creation looks like a building or a racecar, the first words out of a patent attorney parent are, “Tell me about what you’ve built here.”  Followed by, “Is there any other way we could make this?”  I’d like to believe that we are setting them up to be some of the most well rounded engineers.  Their future patent attorneys should thank us. 

No fear about being your own lexicographer.   Sometimes there just isn’t a word in the English language that can describe what a patent attorney parent is seeing or doing.   Patent attorney parents know that every word doesn’t need to be found in Webster’s (or  There are times when you need to be your own lexicographer.  For example, is there a higher level of exhaustion at the end of a two-year old’s birthday party?  Yes.  A patent attorney parent knows exactly the word for it.

Rocking the “why” phase.  Every parent knows this phase.  It’s the phase where your child forgets every phrase that exists, except for “WHY”.   The amount of times they ask this question in a given day is amazing.  Patent attorney parents can answer this question in their sleep.  Why?  Because the why question is the rabbit hole that we sometimes fall into when a new technology crosses our path.  Patent attorney parents understand the why phase, and are never afraid to pull out references to jump down that rabbit hole with their children.  “Okay kids, let’s start by seeing what wikipedia says about this...”

My children are still young and we are slowly drifting out of toddlerhood into the elementary school years.   I hope that my skills as a patent attorney parent will continue to help our family make it through this next phase.   Do you have any words of wisdom for a fellow patent attorney parent?  I would love to hear about your experience too.


Photo by Cat Mattingly Photography.



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