Jan 262011

A few years ago, I took a class at the Harvard Extension school entitled Internet and Society: Technologies and Politics of Control. We covered a lot of emerging Internet concepts including the power of the masses and net neutrality. A lot of the concepts we covered were very much in their infancy  including Wikileaks, Amazon’s mechanical Turk, Wikipedia and crowdsourcing. I recently came full-circle with crowdsurfing on my blog. According to Wikipedia, crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call. While doing price checks for patent translation services, I came across a free translation WordPress plugin by GTS Translation. The plugin provides a widget (utilizing crowdsourcing) that allows you (or your readers) to convert your blog (or whatever other text you have) into Spanish, French, or German. It also caches the results so that search engines can mine your content in other languages.

I have used computer-generated translation services before. Google’s translate service, for instance, used to be awful, but has made a lot of improvements lately. I was expecting this plugin to be awful as well because most of my posts are very specific and it would take someone that knows what I’m talking about in English to make a good translation into another language. But I don’t know French, Spanish, or German to really evaluate each translation. That is why I was pleasantly surprised when my good friend Spencer looked at it for me and informed me that a reader could get the gist of what I was talking about. To me, that is the most important. I am sure the technology will only get better as more people participate in crowdsourcing. My next hope is that they offer additional languages, like Russian.  After all, the world is obviously becoming increasingly interconnected. You may as well get your message to this increasingly interconnected audience.

The plugin can be found here.

 Posted by at 6:33 am
Jan 182011

My last semester in law school will actually be at a small bio-tech startup. I feel pretty good about getting practical experience in an area I am interested while avoiding the midterms, the papers, and finals of law school.

On my first day, I have realized that there is a lot of work to do. So far I have sat through a conference discussing a receptor in great detail, I have started reading a biology book, I have read an agreement with a company’s licensee, and I have started reading Robert C. Kahrl’s Patent Claim Construction.

Here are some of my goals that I want to get out of my new experience:

I would like to work on patentability studies of technology relevant to the company. If I get the chance of using Innography, I will become more familiar with the program. Otherwise,  I look forward to using other prior art search programs. If the chance presents itself, I would like to draft patent applications and office actions–further expanding my patent experience. In addition to drafting patent applications and researching the patentability of technologies, which I have already done to some extent previously, this experience will allow me to work with licenses and agreements. I would like to learn how to modify or draft agreements. I also look forward to the opportunity of conducting training on recent changes in the patent law to the scientists who may not have much experience in that area. I would like to be mentored with a decent level of supervision, but allowing me space to figure some things out on my own. This I feel is the appropriate balance for me, preparing me to enter the job market running. But I am excited to interact with a broad range of attorneys.

 Posted by at 12:55 pm