My name is Silvia and I am one of the two engineering graduates from the 2019 batch. As a graduate in Demant, I have the lucky opportunity to experience our company from different departments, and therefore, from different perspectives.
After a full year in EPOS, the personal communication brand of our group, I spent my second rotation in the department of Intellectual Properties as a wannabe patent attorney. Never in my life would I have thought to work in IP, but I was certainly curious about how the engineering and legal worlds could join forces in such a specific field. I had very little idea of how I could contribute to the activities of our patent attorneys but I wanted to know more about it, so when it was time to plan my second rotation and the opportunity came, I happily jumped on it and join the IP team. I truly enjoyed my time in Intellectual Properties and I want to share some of the learnings from these past six months with you.
First of all, when we talk about Intellectual Property, we refer to the creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works and symbols, names and images used in commerce. There are many types of Intellectual Property, but the most well-known types are copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. The leading Intellectual Property right for technical inventions is patents and it is patents that I have been working on during my six-months rotation.
So why patents?
What a patent does is prohibit our competitors from exploiting the inventions created and developed from our engineers, which allows our company to create a competitive advantage in the hearing healthcare industry. Patents are valid for 20 years and the process of getting a patent granted is rather articulate and can last for many years.
Drafting a patent is quite an exciting moment! It all starts from the raw idea of the inventor(s), which is described in a confidential document called “invention disclosure”. The patent attorney’s technical background is essential at this point, as the technology described in this document can be fairly complicated and specialized. However, the spectrum of topics presented in the invention disclosures is quite broad, even in a niche field such as the hearing healthcare industry: it can be a signal processing mechanism to reduce feedback in hearing aids, the design of earcuffs for headsets, or a method to use brain responses to evaluate the hearing abilities of a user. This was very exciting for me, as I was able to get to know the different technologies developed in our group!
The daily work of a patent attorney though is only for a small part limited to drafting patent applications for the potential inventions developed by our engineers. Most of the hard work is focused on guaranteeing that the patent applications get granted through a multiple step communication with the patent office authorities. Additionally, a big part of the activities of our IP department is providing the so-called “freedom to operate” to the different R&D departments around the organiation, which describe the ability to perform a specific activity with a commercial purpose without infringing third-party rights such as other companies’ patents. Finally, it is important for our patent attorneys not only to be updated on the new patents in the hearing healthcare field, but also to make sure that the activities of our competitors do not overlap with inventions our company has patents on.
Six months went by incredibly fast, but I still had the chance the explore a bit of the world of IP. It was honestly a bit hard at first to understand the peculiar legal “language” in patents but once I got the hang of it, I highly enjoyed replying to office actions, doing novelty searches for our invention disclosures and even attempting to draft my very first patent application.
I hope I was able to introduce you to the world of Demant’s Intellectual Property and to share with you how exciting this rotation was for me!
Remember, the applications are now open for the new graduates for batch 2021 so you could be the next Engineering graduate to join the IP team in our headquarters in Kongebakken!
Take care and feel free to reach out if you have any questions 🙂