BigLaw

I never got around to mentioning it on this blog, but a few months ago I took a dive into the world of “BigLaw” (i.e., large, for-profit law firms). My fellowship at the mental health law nonprofit came to an end, and, seeking more litigation experience, I landed a job at a global law firm in an office that focuses largely on patent law (I purposefully avoided law firms doing disability law, as they’re usually on the side of corporations defending against discrimination claims, ¬†which would in many circumstances make me uncomfortable).

It’s been an awesome experience so far, and a bit of a culture shock. I’m certainly not “out” at this new place, as I’d like to give people the opportunity to come to their own conclusions about me and my skills before I disclose a disability (when disclosing, there’s always the risk that people will interpret every mistake you make or every quirk you have as a “symptom” and come to negative conclusions). Being in the closet requires a certain amount of complex maneuvering, which so far has included: (1) disclosing single aspects of my disability without disclosing the actual full diagnosis; (2) taking decompression breaks in my office with the door closed, which luckily most people interpret as me being really busy; (3) coming up with really creative sensory toys that “pass” as athletic equipment or normal desk toys or jewelry (I even have started a tumblr blog about this, Sensory Squids).

That said, patent litigation is really fun. I’m a bit of an autistic stereotype in that I greatly enjoy math and technology, and many of the other lawyers have advanced degrees in science and are therefore used to dealing with geeks even if they aren’t geeks themselves.

So with that, I give you perhaps the most ridiculous patent ever granted:

Method of swinging on a swing.

I’m pretty sure what happened here is that a patent lawyer was very amused by his child’s innovative technique of swinging on the swingset, and decided to try to patent it. The fact that this patent was awarded is truly amazing. I wonder how they’d ever collect royalties on it.

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3 Comments

Filed under Admin, Practicing Law While Weird

3 responses to “BigLaw

  1. Katie

    That patent is ridiculous. Every kid does that. And how can you patent an action? Can I patent the way I vacuum a room?

    • Twitchy Woman

      Yeah, I would say that that patent is invalid because it’s not new. You can patent actions, though – they’re called “method” patents. For example, a method of creating a particular chemical compound, or a method of manufacturing a product. It’s pretty standard. So you can patent a method of vacuuming a room, but only if you’ve come up with a truly novel and better way to do it.

  2. Gallian

    Love your sensory solutions blog. Since I do the same thing, I’ll let you know if I come across anything interesting/worth reviewing.

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