Ted Mahan Student Profile
Eyes on a patent law career
The patent application process is a complex series of back-and-forth actions between the applicant’s counsel and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. So, when Ted Mahan successfully navigated the process for an electronics control technology created by Airbus, he had reason to celebrate.
“The process is a choreographed dance, a straight-up obstacle course, and getting through it successfully is a thrilling thing,” says Mahan, a law clerk at Greer, Burns & Crain Ltd. “Reaching the finish line was the most exciting moment of my clerk experience.”
“I’m blown away by how many meaningful, varied legal experiences I’ve been able to add [to my resume].”
As the primary caregiver for his four children as his wife, Katie Mahan (MD ‘02), finished medical school and launched her career, Mahan came into law school knowing he wanted to do intellectual property law and patent law in particular. His pre-law school employment background includes helping to design, build, and test an imaging satellite mobile ground station for the U.S. Air Force. After he left military service, he was a radio frequency engineer and managed wireless network planning and mobile device testing for U.S. Cellular.
“Patent law is the mesh point between my technical experience and the law, so it was a natural starting point,” Mahan says. “I knew I had a distinct goal.” Mahan structured his law school roles—which range from research assistant for IP Professor Cynthia Ho to editor of Loyola IP Bytes—around that objective.
He’s still weighing options for post-commencement employment, but Mahan has already passed the patent bar, an impressive accomplishment for an exam with a low pass rate. With this status, he can do a significant amount of patent prosecution work even before he’s admitted to the general bar.
Mahan says his approach to law school has been based on lessons learned in his work experience: “With engineering, I went quickly from bench level to management, but going into law, I didn’t want to miss those formational early opportunities,” he says.
“When I came to Loyola, my resume had lots of details about my work experience,” Mahan says. As his legal education progressed, those pre-Loyola work descriptions grew briefer and briefer. Now, when he looks at his resume, “I’m blown away by how many meaningful, varied legal experiences I’ve been able to add.”