After 10 years as an engineer, Dan Blakeslee knew it was time to take the wheel and drive his career down a new road. Working in the auto industry during rocky economic times had resulted in a few stops and starts, but studying law put him in the driver’s seat.
After graduating from law school, Dan worked as in-house counsel for Whirlpool before moving to Nyemaster. Now, he combines his intellectual property practice with his fascination with manufacturing, assembly, and how things work. “I like being able to reach back and use that extensive engineering background—manufacturing and assembly—to craft arguments,” Dan says. “Nobody ever talks about that in a patent application, but it’s something I can read into what inventors and patent examiners are talking about.”
In his day-to-day work of drafting and prosecuting patents, Dan calls on that knowledge of manufacturing processes to serve his clients’ interests. “If I get an examiner who’s rejecting an application based on any number of things, it allows me to really read into and understand the references that they’re pointing to,” Dan says. “I understand from an engineering standpoint the purpose of each individual element. It allows me to analyze the actual differences between the elements and the current state of the art to establish the patentable aspects of the application.” That understanding of manufacturing helps him explain both how the pieces go together and why they wouldn’t work in another way. “It allows me to use all of my background industry knowledge for the benefit of the client’s application,” he says.
That’s true no matter the industry or manufacturing focus. “My background allows me to pick it up quickly and to really understand the technology at a deeper level than somebody who hasn’t had any engineering experience,” Dan says.
While Dan focuses attention on the nuts and bolts of his clients’ patent issues, he occasionally has his head in the clouds too. Dan has a longtime love for aviation and aeronautics. He’s a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and has written about changes in aerospace law and policy for Aerospace America.
No matter the industry or manufacturing focus, Dan applies his knowledge effectively. “My background allows me to pick up detail quickly and to really understand technology at a deeper level.”
His move from the auto industry to IP law has been paved with opportunity. For Dan, the career road is clear: Representing clients in intellectual property infringement analysis, patent application, and prosecution.
PROFESSIONAL & COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS
Iowa Intellectual Property Law Association
Board of Directors, 2017-present
Vice President, 2018-present
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Iowa State Bar Association
Intellectual Property Section Council