Questions You Should Definitely Ask in a Job Interview

I recently saw this article that listed things you should definitely ask in a job interview. I thought it was worth sharing because the questions are good ones that you might not think about asking. When the interview is over and you have all of your questions answered, keep these 5 in mind to show you are interested in the company and its culture. I’ve posted the link to the entire article  at the bottom so you can check out the 10 questions to never ask- just in case you are interested.


1. Can You Explain the Culture to Me, With Examples of How the Company Upholds it?

Asking for specific insight into the company’s culture is key. “Everyone will tell you that their culture is great, but examples prove it,” says Kohut. This will help you decide if you want to work for them. At the same time, most interviewers are also trying to assess if you’re a good cultural fit for the company.

2. How Have You Recognized Your Employees in the Past?

This is another example of a smart question that digs for specifics. “You want to be sure that your new company appreciates its employees,” says Kohut, and that the company values morale.

3. What Do You Like Most About This Company?

By nature, most people like to talk about themselves, so this question helps warm up your interviewer, suggests Barrett-Poindexter. It also provides critical insight into whether you’d be happy working with this individual or company. “If your interviewer’s answer excites you, that can further reinforce your decision to continue the interview process. If the response is lukewarm, it may give you something to think about before deciding to invest in a future here.”

4. Can You Give Me Examples of Collaboration Within the Company?“This is a great question for team players,” says Tolan. It not only shows that you have a quality that’s very valuable to the company, but it also gets down to brass tacks when it comes to company culture.

5. What are the Most Important Things You’d Like to See Me Accomplish in the First 30, 60 and 90 days of Employment?

This question shows you’re in invested in what you can bring to the company, and not just what the company can do for you. “Expect the answer to go deeper than just a basic skill set requirement,” says Barrett-Poindexter. “Hope that the interviewer will wander a bit, providing personal insight into qualities he favors–perhaps even offering nuggets of detail you can use to reinforce your value in the follow-up-thank-you letter.”


By Debby Winters

This is Part 2 of my blog on the new patent law.


You’ve probably heard that the final phase of the America Invents Act (AIA) takes effect on March 16, 2013. And you are probably wondering what that mean? It means that any patent application filed in the U.S. on or after March 16, 2013, which, at any time during its pendency, contains a claim that is not fully supported in an application filed before March 16,

2013, will be subject to the new first-inventor-to-file rules under the AIA.


In light of the change in the rules, here are some things to think about:


1.  If you have any disclosures or any new continuing applications that you are considering filing, and you believe such disclosures or continuing applications might benefit from the current first-to-invent system, then file as soon as possible and before March 16, 2013.


2.  You should consider filing a provisional application to establish a priority date before the March 16, 2013 change. To the extent a provisional application provides support under 35 U.S.C. § 112, it can help you secure an effective filing date before March 16, 2013. But note, even if the application is filed by March 16, 2013, it will not be entitled to consideration under the current, first-to-invent law if it contains, or contained at any time, a claim that is not fully supported by the priority application filed before March 16, 2013. Consequently, a provisional application filed before March 16, 2013 might be of little value if it does not fully support all of the claims in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013. This means you should think carefully about what you want your patent application to look like two months, or 2 years down the road, before filing the provisional application now.


3.  Even after March 16, 2013, time-sensitive applications may benefit from the filing of one or more provisional applications. One option to consider would be to file a provisional application submitting the original invention disclosure. Alternatively, (or in addition) you could file a provisional application upon receipt of sufficient disclosure details from the inventors, submitting a synopsis of the clarified disclosure, and perhaps submitting a partial or full set of claims, if available.


4.  After  March  16,  2013,  you  may  also  want  to  give  serious  consideration in  some situations to filing two parallel applications, with one application claiming no more than what is expressly supported by a pre-March 16, 2013 application (or a provisional application filed on or after March 16, 2013), and the second application claiming any additional subject matter.


The bottom line is that you probably should at least file a provisional patent application before March 16, 2013. If you can get most information in a provisional patent application now, you may be able to claim priority to it once the new system goes into effect. Doing so will probably benefit small companies and independent inventors. If you need help, contact me.

Science of Innovation

By Debby WintersMivey1_rdax_150x120

If you are a science geek who loves innovation, you won’t want to miss the new 11-part “Science of Innovation” series put on by  the Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), along with the National Science Foundation (NSF), and NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News. The series is intended to coincide with the 165th birthday of American inventor Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison was born February 11, 1847 and is known for his many inventions including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the light bulb. He is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

The program represents the latest intellectual property (IP) education efforts by the USPTO and serves as a public-private partnership leveraging the best strengths of federal agencies, industry, and educators to demonstrate the connection between IP and the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Narrated by NBC News’ Ann Curry, the series features innovators from across the country, including scientists and engineers working on projects in industries as diverse as healthcare, energy, transportation, agriculture, and more. “Science of Innovation” looks beyond the popular concept of innovation as the result of a single event or brilliant idea. Instead, it examines the processes and steps that anyone from a garage tinkerer to a federally funded scientist can take to discover new solutions to pressing problems or to add value in new ways to existing products, services or technologies.

“Science of Innovation” is a continuation of the Emmy-winning NSF-NBC “Science of…” partnership that has produced five other educational video series. Each video segment will be available to NBC affiliate stations and on the web for free at In addition, the series is aligned to middle school and high school lesson plans produced by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), as well as national education standards.

Segments feature innovators working on cutting-edge innovations, including bionic limbs, biofuels, anti-counterfeiting devices, and 3-D printing. A full list of videos can be found online at

Tune in and let me know what you think!

Should I file my patent application before the new law goes into effect?

By: Debby Winters

The answer to this question might be yes. If you have any of the numerous activities that will be considered “prior art” under the new law but which isn’t considered prior art under the current law, then you should file before March 16, 2013. The new law contains many provisions that dramatically expand the prior art the U.S. Patent Office can use to determine whether an invention is patentable in the United States. Currently, prior art includes evidence showing that the invention disclosed and claimed in the application was sold, offered for sale, or in public use more than one year prior to the filing of a patent application, but only if that activity occurred in the United States. Starting March 16, any sale, offer for sale, or public use the invention anywhere in the world more than one year prior to the filing of a patent application is considered prior art, rendering the invention unpatentable in the United States. If you are in a situation like this, consider filing a provisional patent application now. You are not required to wait a year before filing the utility application but if you file before March 16, 2013 you can claim a priority date under the current system rather than the new system.