Family has always come first for Jane Daniel, an Intellectual Property (IP) Paralegal working for Koch Companies Public Sector (Koch). Despite being raised by two hard-working professionals, there was a time in Jane’s life when she considered putting her career on hold to raise a household instead: “At one point I thought I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and raise kids. But one of the great things about Koch is, they understand the importance of family and helping employees balance their time.”
Jane began her legal career working for a small law firm in Wichita, KS. Jane describes it as being ‘worlds away’ from her experience at Koch.
It was only when she took on the role of administrator in the IP division at Koch that Jane was able to realise her full potential in the IP industry. She explains: “When I received the call from Koch, I was really humbled and excited that they thought of me. The interview process was intense. They had such great questions. I could tell right away that I wanted to be a part of the Koch team.”
Learning IP and being proactive
A combination of positive role models and her own pro-active nature have made Jane a unique voice for women in the IP industry.
Her leaders have been and continue to be a huge source of support for Jane’s initiative and work ethic. When Jane decided that she wanted to commit time to training, Jane’s leaders were fully supportive and encouraging. “I was still new to IP and was very eager to learn. I didn’t solely want to focus on project or administrative work, so I asked if I could take on more responsibility by handling docketing, for example.”
Her manager, Amy Gagich, placed a great amount of trust in Jane, which Jane says empowered her to take on new initiatives: “I was working on the patent side but when I wanted to expand with learning new technologies and testing software, or other automation opportunities, Amy gave me the reins, she trusted me.”
Organising Koch’s IP Processes
When she arrived at Koch, Jane found there were many opportunities to improve and streamline processes.
“We had multiple layers of law firms – US law firms who were using foreign agents in various jurisdictions. The first task was to bring the work in-house and ensure we were doing high quality work as efficiently as possible,” Jane says. She has always been enthusiastic about implementing new processes and technology, which made Jane the ideal user of First-to-File.
Before implementing CPA Global’s IP management software, Jane and her colleagues manually updated records and filings. Implementing First-to-File and Memotech has meant that Jane has been able to automate many of Koch’s day-to-day administrative IP processes. Jane said: “We used to go to the US Patent and Trademark Office website every Monday morning, look for docketing, download it and then upload and distribute it to the appropriate persons. It wasn’t an efficient use of time.” Jane adds, “With the automation that is in place now, time is better spent by providing higher value-add paralegal services to clients and has left more time to focus on automation across all of the Koch IP groups, and other groups within the legal capability.”
“In the current state, the Patent team is using ‘bots’ that I have built to automate many of our processes with US Docketing and internal workflows. First-to-File features and document management including the USPTO Pair scraping has definitely been our saving grace, I talk about it to anyone who will listen.”
Teaching the next generation
Jane takes pride in her work and shares her experience with her children: “I feel like I’m setting a good example for them. They see that I get up every day and know that I work hard. It has always been a top priority to instill values and good work ethic into my children.” However, Jane does not let her work impact the time she is able to spend with her family: “For the most part, I go home from work on time and always take the opportunities to spend quality time with them. I make it a top priority to attend their school, church & sporting events. It is important to me to lead by example the healthy balance of work and family.”
Another way that Jane sets an example is her attitude in being a life-long learner of the IP industry. “I would say one of the most fulfilling areas of my role is to knowledge share with other IP professionals, at every level. Some of the most inspiring ideas for automation were ignited from a conversation at a conference where inefficiencies or problems we face in the IP community were being discussed.” Jane said: “Knowledge helps with automation. It is a powerful thing, all that knowledge. It helps IP automation come together.”
The knowledge she has gained has fostered trust between Jane and her leaders: “Everything is just as it should be. I find so much fulfillment because of Koch. I am enabled and encouraged to continuously transform in my role. My team and leaders trust me,” Jane explains.Working for Koch has empowered Jane to thrive both professionally and personally. Having Jane as an employee means Koch sets a fantastic example of how women can thrive in the right environment. Jane has become a thought leader and advocate for transforming the way corporations approach IP practice through automation and continues to grow her knowledge about the IP industry.