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CWSL Patent Students Achieve Success in National Competition

Laura Westergard, Yekun Ding, and Adam Turosky

California Western’s Professor Tabrez Ebrahim always announces major competitions to his patent law class. “I leave it up to the students to take the initiative—I just provide the information and help how I can,” says Ebrahim.

When Ebrahim announced the West Coast Region of the National Patent Application Drafting Competition was open to contestants, three of his students took up the challenge.

Adam Turosky, Laura Westergard, and Yekun Ding formed a team and set about preparing for the contest.

The National Patent Application Drafting Competition is hosted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The objective of the competition is to introduce law students to issues arising in United States patent law.

Students have the opportunity to develop their patent application, drafting, amending, and prosecuting skills by applying legal principles to a hypothetical invention scenario, writing a utility patent application, and defending their decisions before a panel of judges. The invention scenario centered on a hypothetical invention about a food container. The competition included two phases.

Ebrahim provided some informal coaching and information sharing with the students but stressed that this was primarily the students taking the self-initiative to participate.

The first phase was a written one, where the team wrote a patent application based on the invention. The second phase was a presentation in front of a panel of competition judges, where the team argued and reasoned why they wrote the patent using their specific strategies.

“We spent roughly two months researching and drafting the patent application for the written phase, and we practiced presenting our arguments many times before the presentation,” said Turosky.

The students’ efforts paid off as they landed second place in the competition, ahead of Arizona State University, Santa Clara University, and University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Creighton University School of Law took first place.

Turosky attributes their success to great teamwork and investing so much time in writing and rewriting the competition submission.

“While writing the patent application, we had many drafts and revisions,” stated Turosky. “We also had every member of the team review it and contribute to specific parts. We think that spending so much time revising the written application and having each team member review it so frequently made sure we had a great written product.”

Ebrahim is delighted with his students’ accomplishments and is proud of how they worked together as a team.

“It’s very exciting!” says Ebrahim. “It’s great to see the enthusiasm for patents here at California Western. I believe that participation in this competition will help those students in securing internships and jobs, as it’s great practice, great real-world experience, and great resume material.”

Speaking for the team, Turosky echoes that pride and says they are all grateful to Professor Ebrahim for giving them this opportunity.

“We are very proud of the result as it reflects the amount of time and hard work that was put into the entire competition,” he says. “It is great to place in the competition, but the satisfaction of creating a patent application and presentation before you graduate is best.”

“I hope that Professor Ebrahim will have a team next year as well.”