Canadian Professor Seeks Interviewees

Study Proposes to Examine the Culture and Norms of Patent Attorney Practice

Professor Wissam Aoun

Professor Wissam Aoun

Professor Wissam Aoun (University of Windsor Faculty of Law, Canada) has spent the last several years studying the patent profession from an international comparative perspective. He will be spending the summer of 2019 visiting at Oxford University and the Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition in Munich and continuing his research into the European patent attorney profession.

Professor Aoun’s project proposes a qualitative exploration of the norms and culture of the patent profession. The purpose of this work is to better understand how the culture and regulation of patent professionals, through which the majority of patent applications must pass on their way to and through the patent office, influences the norms, rules and processes surrounding patent application preparation and prosecution. This includes an examination of how patent professionals are educated and trained, how they approach the art of patent application drafting, what they believe the role is in representing their clients and in furthering a greater public interest.

This Project also proposes a normative orientation directed towards the issue of patent quality, and the question of how the norms and culture of patent practice effect patent quality.
Methodologically, this study will utilize semi-structured interviews asking patent professionals questions revolving around the following issues:

  • What is an ‘invention’? Is the invention synonymous with the claims?
  • Where does the invention exist? Who is responsible for ‘locating’ the invention? The attorney/agent? The applicant? The patent office? Courts?
  • How do you approach the exercise of claim drafting? How do you approach drafting a claim set, and correspondingly, the independent and dependent claims? How do you approach drafting the detailed description?
  • How did you learn claim drafting? Who taught you the ‘art of claim drafting’?
  • How do you view your role vis-à-vis the patent office (and patent examiners)?
  • What do you believe the applicant’s goals or objectives are in terms of acquiring protection for their invention through the patent system? What is your role in furthering that objective?
  • What does ‘patent quality’ mean to you? What is your role or obligation, if any, in promoting ‘patent quality’?
  • What do you view as the ethical or professional obligations you owe to the public (if any at all)?

Professor Aoun is actively seeking individuals who might be interested in participating in this study. Interested attorneys are encouraged to email Professor Aoun at for more information on participation.