Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Intellectual Property associate Ralph G. Fischer was featured in the first Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Law Association newsletter. In the interview, Fischer discussed his role with Buchanan and his life outside the firm.
On his practice:
"I handle a lot of preparation and prosecution work for inventions in the furniture industry, window covering industry, telecommunications industry, injection molding industry, and the cement and minerals industry. I also do a lot of opinion work, litigation related work, and design consultation work in these industries and also in industries related to power generation and automated process control."
On building a niche:
"I have actual trial experience and served as second chair trial counsel in a patent infringement suit that resulted in obtaining a permanent injunction and monetary award for one of our clients, have directly handled and managed trade secret litigation that resulted in a complex settlement arrangement involving an acquisition of a party alleged to have misappropriated trade secrets, have directly represented a number of different clients during patent and trademark prosecution related matters, which include trademark opposition proceedings, appeals to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, and interferences, and have helped draft employee handbook materials related to IP issues that explained (among other things) client policies related to trademark use, patent application filing and invention disclosure assessment, and how different types of information was to be treated to ensure it remains confidential.
"I also routinely review new product designs and provide guidance related to the development of those designs."
On the best career advice he's received:
"Work as hard as possible and stay true to yourself."
On industry changes:
"The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) is significant. The prior use defense for example may have a substantial impact on decisions made related to what types of IP protection should be sought for different innovations, development of policies on how development and use of innovations are documented, and whether such innovations should be preserved as trade secrets."
"[My favorite bands are] Pink Floyd, Arcade Fire, Cat Stevens, Cake, and Paul Simon."
On work-life balance:
"My hobbies include: Making my 2-year-old son breakfast, changing diapers for my 2-year-old and 4-month-old sons, watching the Indiana Pacers on TV, and savoring an occasional alhambra negra beer."