Patent Attorney Damian Kotsis once worked in a research lab housing a refrigerator and freezer from Invitrogen (now Life Technologies). A series of fluorescent protein tags sold by the biotech firm emitted some colors of light, but not others.
“When I asked why they didn’t sell various colors, I was told it was because they only sell colors to which they have patents,” he says.
The answer intrigued Kotsis — who eventually turned his life sciences background into a career as a patent attorney with Harness, Dickey & Pierce in Troy, where he revels in this legal niche.
“Every day I use my biochemical and chemical background while drafting and prosecuting patent applications,” he says. “The variety of subject matter is especially great — in the lab I studied various ways of solving one general problem, as a patent attorney I work on wide range of projects.”
Working on patents for rocket fuels, nanotechnology, medical equipment, and new drugs and therapies, his work includes prosecuting a patent application involving lasers than can be used remotely to detect such things as environmental chemicals and biological agents, including toxins, explosives, and diseases. He also has prosecuted patent applications describing methods for generating fuels in bioreactors, part of the race to develop alternative sources of clean, green energy. Another interesting patent involved hybrid antibody-type molecules used to fight cancer cells, a more personalized approach to fighting the disease.