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IndyBar: Intellectual Property Section Awards Patent Bar Scholarships

June 29, 2016

Congratulations to Melissa Haulcomb, a second-year law student at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and to Derek Hamilton, a second-year law student at Indiana University Maurer School of Law! These IndyBar law student members are the recipients of the IndyBar Intellectual Property Section’s 2016 Patent Bar Scholarships. Both Haulcomb and Hamilton show great ambition and we look forward to seeing their careers move forward!

Read below for some insight into what this scholarship means to Haulcomb and Hamilton and what these two law students plan on doing in the future.

Q: How is your scholarship a benefit to you?

Haulcomb: This scholarship is beneficial as it aids in covering the financial burden associated with the application for admission to the U.S. Patent Bar Examination. By taking the Patent Bar Examination at an early stage, during my first year of law school, I believe it will provide me with an early and solid understanding of the USPTO procedures and regulations. This knowledge will be beneficial as I progress through my legal education and begin to narrow my focus to patent law. In addition, this knowledge will be useful in my position as scientist and project leader for Anagin, a biotech startup company. As I near completion of my JD, I hope to transition my career from scientific research to a position where I can begin my hands-on training in patent law. Thus, I believe that by successfully passing the Patent Bar Examination early in my legal education it will not only provide me with the knowledge and understanding of USPTO procedures and processes, but will also be a testament to my hard work and dedication to obtaining a career as a patent attorney.

Hamilton: The scholarship provides me with an opportunity to take the Patent Bar Exam. I have recently completed my first year of law school. I am hoping that taking and passing the Patent Bar Exam will provide opportunities for me going into my second year and beyond.

Q: What are your goals and ambitions once you earn your JD?

Haulcomb: Once I earn my JD I hope to work as a patent attorney for a private firm or as in-house counsel, with a focus on biotech or pharmaceutical patents. I am interested in both patent prosecution as well as litigation.

Hamilton: Following the completion of my JD, I am hoping to find a career that will allow me to utilize both my undergraduate degree in biology and my JD. There are many paths available that will allow me to accomplish this. The fields that I am most interested in include intellectual property, health law, and environmental law.

Q: What drew you to patent law?

Haulcomb: I have always been passionate about medical science, particularly the study of neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders. After graduating from Michigan State University, I worked for Pfizer Inc. as an analytical chemist. I obtained my PhD in neuroscience from Loyola University Chicago and completed my first post-doctoral fellowship at Indiana University. During my second post-doctoral fellowship at IU in 2014, I had the opportunity to continue my research part time at IU, while shifting a majority of my focus to Anagin, a biotech startup company developing novel therapeutics for post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. As a scientist and project leader for Anagin, I became more familiar with the importance of protecting intellectual property, as it relates to biotech and pharmaceutical companies. In 2015, I made the decision to apply to law school and envisioned a future career that merges the fields of science and law.   

Hamilton: Patent law has always been an interest of mine. Having a background in science, it is easy to see the need for patent attorneys. People have great ideas every day and these ideas need to be protected. In addition, patent law is constantly changing. I like the idea of being presented with the new challenges that the field presents and finding solutions.•

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