Mitchell Hamline alum Megan Miller ‘21 co-wrote and recently published a go-to guide for patent law with Professor Emeritus Jay Erstling.
The guide, “The Practitioner’s Guide to the PCT,” is published by the American Bar Association. The aim is to help readers navigate the PCT, or Patent Cooperation Treaty, which is used by applicants who are seeking patent protection in multiple countries.
Miller currently works at Winthrop & Weinstine and Erstling is the former director of the Office of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) within the World Intellectual Property Organization.
But the duo’s history dates back well before working on the guide and even before Miller attended law school. Miller and Erstling worked at the same firm where Miller was an international patent paralegal and Erstling was of-counsel advising clients on international patent matters. That’s where Miller says she first considered law school and Mitchell Hamline’s blended program. “Jay urged me to take the LSAT, which spiraled into me starting at Mitchell Hamline a mere two months later.”
Erstling was already an emeritus faculty member when Miller began law school, but he continued to teach the international IP law seminar that she took her final year. “Megan was a superb paralegal and an expert in PCT filing,” said Erstling. “She also proved to be just as good a student as she was a paralegal.” Miller graduated cum laude. Erstling had written the first edition of the ABA’s guide ten years ago with two other authors, both of whom had retired. Shortly after Miller graduated, the ABA contacted Erstling about an update, which he agreed to write if Miller could be his co-author. The ABA agreed.
The guide took more than two years to complete, far longer than envisioned. “We knew the guide was going to require significant revision to incorporate the changes in the PCT system,” said Erstling. “But we did not anticipate how much re-writing and new writing we had to do.
I am proud of our effort, and I hope that we succeeded in helping to make the PCT a more accessible and user-friendly system for seeking patent protection worldwide.”
PCT is the heart of the international patent system. Explaining the treaty’s purpose and complexities, this book provides the tools to effectively use this global, treaty-based system, plus invaluable supplemental materials. Available for purchase through the American Bar Association.
Further reading: Breaking the Ice: From paralegal to IP attorney and now author (Minnesota Lawyer)