Associate, Waller Attorney
Areas of Expertise: Legal, Marketing, Operations, Product Design, Technology
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Blake Bernard focuses on patent and trademark prosecution and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the areas of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret law. Blake primarily prosecutes patents in the mechanical, electromechanical and industrial arts. Easy-going and straight forward, Blake enjoys working with clients as they develop new products that could evolve into the next big thing. He frequently prepares freedom to operate opinions related to new product development and marketing efforts for clients ranging from start-ups to well-established corporations. He also represents private equity and venture capital investors in due diligence and analysis of international patent portfolios held by target companies.
- J.D., The University of Alabama School of Law, 2013
- B.S., with highest honors, Georgia Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering, 2010
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- Power Equipment
- Medical Devices
- Consumer Products
- Emerging Companies
Q. What excites you most about the Wond’ry?
A. The innovation that is coming out of Vanderbilt and the Wond’ry is truly amazing. It is great that students and faculty can find such great resources at the Wondr’y to move toward commercialization of their ideas and technologies so that they can actually go from concept to market.
Q. What do you feel are the most important skills you have to offer in your role as a mentor?
A. My goal as a mentor is to make sure that those I meet with know the legal framework surrounding the formation and operation of their businesses, as well as the proper way to protect their intellectual property and the hard work they have put into their innovations. It can be very easy to make missteps from a legal standpoint early in the process which can be very costly down the road. Getting started on the right foot is very important.
Q. What has been your proudest moment in your career?
A. I have a client in the medical field that has developed a new piece of surgery equipment. I have helped them set up their company and file for patent protection on the new device as well as navigate the FDA process for the new invention. I have recently found out that they have approached and have been getting handsome offers from several medical device companies to buy their business outright. It was very rewarding to have been with that client at the beginning, set them up for success, and then see them now in a great position with their venture.
Q. What has surprised you most about your job?
A. The “business” of being an attorney. Knowing the law is only part of being a good attorney. To be successful, you also have to be skilled at knowing where you fit into the market and what value you can provide to clients, identifying clients that are in need of your services, and marketing yourself to those clients (along with every other attorney in town). Even within a large firm like Waller, each attorney is their own entrepreneur in developing their practice and their career, and the truly successful attorneys are the ones that have the discipline to learn their craft very well and also have the ambition to develop their business skills in order to successfully market and sell their expertise.
Q. If you could do everything over again, would you make the same career choices?
A. Absolutely. I really do enjoy my job. It is very challenging, but I get to meet great people along the way and am exposed to really cool, cutting edge innovation on a daily basis.
Q. In your opinion, what is the most important quality for success?
A. Perseverance, everyone will stumble at some point along the way or things won’t progress quite as you had hoped. The people that end up doing well can push past that adversity, believe in themselves and their business, and continue forward.
Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A. I was always great at building things as a kid and was a math whiz so I had always wanted to be an engineer. Somewhere along the way I got really good at arguing with my mother and she insisted that I go to law school. Now as a patent attorney I get to do both!