Productivity hack (for patent professionals) #1

Some folks asked me to share some of my productivity hacks, so here’s one of them:

At the end of each workday, I select the exact tasks I want/need to work on tomorrow. I put them in my calendar (yes, I really make appointments with myself). I make sure that everything I will need is directly in reach.

This involves things like:

  • Putting the paper file on my desk if I’ll work in the office
  • Downloading the files I’ll need from our document management system if I’ll be working from home
  • Putting that booking number directly into my calendar appointment so that I can check-in for my flight right-away
  • Putting the text for that scheduled social media post directly into my calendar appointment (having a clear structure for time sinks like social media is probably a topic for another hack)

You see, the overall goal is to minimize “ramp-up time” in everything I do.

Disclaimer: This works for me, but might not work for you obviously, so apply with caution.

Please let me know if this is helpful, and I might share more productivity hacks. Also, please don’t be selfish and share one of your productivity hacks in the comments 😉

Don’t sacrifice the important for the urgent (#myweek 08/2020)

My work backlog was just about to get somewhat tense, so this week’s focus was on down-to-earth patent prosecution work. Also, this week I had an unusual amount of unplanned but urgent things coming in, which always bears the risk of sacrificing the important for the urgent (think quadrants 1 and 2 in Stephen Covey’s time management matrix 😉). It was a good stress test for my scheduling and prioritization skills.

Personal takeaway: Plan ahead, but don’t overplan.

This means:

  1. Schedule your week ahead of time to make sure you move forward on your quadrant 2 projects (not (yet) urgent but important), BUT:
  2. Reserve an empty time block every day to take account of quadrant 1 things (urgent and important).
  3. Minimize quadrant 3 (urgent but not important) activities to the extent possible, and eliminate quadrant 4 completely (not urgent and not important).

This is actually taken from Stephen Covey’s all time classic “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“, which I can highly recommend. I just finished listening to the abridged 3-hour version on Audible and will now start the full book.

I give some more context in my #myweek video on LinkedIn and IGTV in case you’re interested.

How was your week? What are your top time management hacks?

#myweek 07/2020

Happy Friday everyone, here’s what happened in my week:

I attended the (very helpful) “Opposition and Appeal” seminar by epi and the EPO. One highlight was Marcus Müller‘s presentation of the new Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (Mr Müller is the chairman of one of the Boards of Appeal and was part of the drafting group that created the new rules).

The new rules codify the current trajectory of the Boards to make the appeal procedure a judicial review only and not a second substantive instance. For the parties, the new rules mean that the procedure is heavily front-loaded, forcing everyone to file all requests, facts, objections, arguments and evidence as early as possible.

Let me know if this is an interesting topic and I’ll maybe share more.

How was your week? And what are you up to?

#myweek 06/2020

Happy Friday everyone. This week…

  • We had a video shoot at the firm with our video production company – thanks to the highly professional people of Regiepapst. Please follow my firm’s LinkedIn to see the results.
  • My colleague Maggie made her long-awaited return from parental leave and we’re happy to have her back again.
  • I’m working on a new patent application in the FinTech space. The objective is to bridge the gap between cryptocurrencies and the traditional financial networks. Fintech really is an exciting but challenging topic when it comes to patenting, let me know if I should share more on this topic.

Next week I’ll attend the “Opposition and Appeal” seminar by epi and the EPO. Looking forward to Cornelis A.M. Mulder’s and Marcus Müller’s practical tips as well as insights into the new Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal. Say hi if you’re there as well!

How was YOUR week? And what are you up to?

Three power hacks for more productivity

Three power hacks for more productivity:

  1. Take care of your body and mind: sleep, exercise, nutrition
  2. Structure your day: think maker schedule vs manager schedule, and consciously decide in which mode you’re operating
  3. See the bigger picture, and pick the right things to work on

I just got this from Jonathan Morrice on Tijen Onaran‘s How To Hack podcast. Absolutely recommended if you’re into new work, productivity, entrepreneurship, social media and whatnot.

If you don’t know the difference between a maker and manager schedule, you probably don’t make optimal use of your time. Here’s a good explanation.

What are your productivity hacks?

#myweek 05/2020

Happy Friday everyone. This week was a pretty standard work week filled mainly with patent prosecution work.

One highlight: I’ve got my 3rd speaking gig this year. In March, I’ll give a guest lecture on AI and patents in Europe as part of the master of laws in Advanced Studies in European and International Business Law at Leiden University (NL). Many thanks to Ana Ramalho, Sheena Bruce and Veronika Yefremova for the opportunity!

Today is also the last day of January, so I’ll take some time for a monthly review to make sure what I do is in line with my 2020 goals and my broader life vision. You should do that too, right?

How was your week? And what are you up to?

Can an AI be an inventor? No, says the EPO

Do you remember the two patent applications filed in the context of the Artificial Inventor Project which named an AI system called DABUS as inventor and which were refused by the EPO?

The EPO has just published the written reasons of the decisions.

As a reminder, in the designation of the inventor filed in both cases, a machine named DABUS was indicated as the sole inventor:

Designation of inventor in EP 18275163.6

In the original designation of the inventor, the applicant indicated that he had acquired the right to the European patent as employer. In a later submission, the applicant filed a corrected designation of the inventor indicating that the he had obtained the right as a successor in title.

The applicant explained that the invention had been made by a machine which “identified the novelty of its own idea before a natural person did”. Therefore, so the applicant, the machine should be recognized as the inventor and the applicant, as the owner of the machine, was an assignee of any IP rights created by this machine.

For both patent applications EP 18 275 163 (EP 3 564 144 – “Food Container”) and EP 18 275 174 (EP 3 563 896 – “Devices and MEthods for Attracting Enhanced Attention”), the Receiving Section of the EPO has decided:

The application is refused in accordance with Article 90(5) EPC since the designation of inventor filed for the application does not meet the requirement of Article 81 and Rule 19 EPC.

In a nutshell, the EPO’s point of view is that the inventor designated in a European patent must be a natural person, and not a machine.

The written reasoning is worth a read and can be found here:

It will be interesting to see whether the applicant will appeal the decisions and take the cases to the Boards of Appeal.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

#myweek 04/2020

Happy Friday everyone, here’s what happened in #myweek:

I’ve been invited to give a workshop on patent filing strategies at an IP conference in St. Petersburg (Russia) in May. This is my second speaking invitation in 2020 already, so please keep them coming 😉

Other than that, it was a pretty normal workweek with lots of patent prosecution work (authentication hardware tokens, data recovery techniques, telecommunication protocols, cryptocurrency platforms). I also drafted a new patent application about IoT cloud connectivity for industrial controllers.

Next week will be all about patent litigation. There’s a court hearing coming up which needs to be prepared, and a large brief to be drafted in another case.

Motto for the week ahead:

Old keys can’t unlock new doors.

(I don’t know who said this, let me know if you know)

How was your week? And what are you up to?