Recently I came across a program at my alma mater called TI:GER (Technology Innovation: Generating Economic Results). It was apparently created in 2002, which is well after I stopped looking for work as an engineer, instead cutting my teeth as a baby paralegal. According to their brochure, they place students into teams consisting of PhD, MBA and law students. Personally, they ought to win some kind of award for getting eggheads, bean counters and lawyers to work together. From the website:
TI:GER takes an interdisciplinary approach to surmounting those obstacles, assembling students who win acceptance into the highly competitive program into five member teams. These teams include two MBAs and two law students who focus on the commercialization of a PhD student’s research over a two-year period.
From what I can tell, the program’s legal aspect involves understanding the use of patents to secure positioning with respect to use of the technology, understanding how legal strategies can be leveraged to grow a business, and evaluating patents to understand positions of relative strength and weakness. Hal Milton, used to say that lawyers will blow more deals than they’ll make, so hopefully part of this learning process for law students involves recognizing when to get out of the way.
Beyond that, this type of program has the potential to teach young lawyers how to communicate with both innovators and business leaders. Too often, lawyers come out of school with only the ability to effectively communicate with each other. I actually know very little about the TI:GER program and its effectiveness in producing better patent lawyers, but I’d love to hear back from anyone who has experiences to relate.