Steve Gigot was an engineer at a manufacturing facility when he noticed jobs were disappearing. So he took a job as an engineer at a law firm, evaluating situations such as rollovers to determine what might have happened.
“One day an attorney said to me that I should consider becoming a patent attorney. I was able to shadow one and thought it would be something I would enjoy,” said Gigot, chair of the IP practice group at Michael Best & Friedrich. “I went to law school and never looked back.”
Gigot found patent law was a good fit for his personality and work style.
“It just really suits me. I enjoy how I get to meet with clients when they are at a very exciting moment in their business since they have something new they are looking to protect,” he said. “I enjoy helping them to develop their strategy as they move forward. I’m also a little bit of a geek and it’s cool to see the new things being developed.”
Patent attorneys need to have a science background and Gigot’s previous career as a manufacturing engineer comes in handy.
“Clients appreciate their attorney can grasp the ideas and new technology quickly,” he said. “They also want someone to be excited about what they’re doing.”
As businesses innovate and develop new ideas and products, it is vital to defend their space in the market, Gigot said. Sometimes that means filing a patent, but not always.
“You need to strategize what is the best path to follow,” Gigot said. “Sometimes that is thinking offensively, while other times it is thinking defensively.”
Gigot enjoys getting to know his clients and their businesses and has worked with several for many years.
“That longevity with clients helps you better understand their business and goals,” he said.
It’s also important to understand the competition facing his clients, said Gigot, adding that right now the biggest challenge facing many of his clients is patent trolls.
“They come in and threaten the business and it can be very disruptive,” he said. “There’s a lot of pressure on businesses. They are watching foreign markets and dealing with patent trolls while developing their own portfolio. My job is to make that as easy as possible.
To read the full feature article, click here.