Michigan patent attorney David Spears didn’t start out at Michigan State University with the goal of becoming a lawyer.
First, there was football.
In a new article published by the MSU Innovation Center, Spears discusses how he planned to live the life of a college football player until a cousin, who is a criminal defense attorney, encouraged him to pursue engineering. Spears was always interested in science and math, so studying mechanical engineering was a logical plan.
After positive experiences as an intern with DTE Energy and Ford Motor Company, Spears graduated from Michigan State.
And yet, his cousin’s career as a lawyer was calling to him. So he decided to go to law school.
While in law school at the Michigan State University College of Law, Spears worked with MSU Technologies at the MSU Innovation Center during his first year of law school. It was his first exposure to intellectual property law, although his experience as an engineer gave him some familiarity with many of the concepts.
In addition to working for MSU Technologies as a first year law student, Spears worked as a Summer Associate and then as a year-round Law Clerk for Harness Dickey in his second and third years.
After graduating from law school, he accepted a full time position with the firm in September 2017.
Looking back on his path to becoming a patent attorney, Spears says, “A lot of times, what happens is you start out as an undergrad saying ‘I want to do x, y and z,’ but then life happens. I was extremely fortunate to get to where I am today, and I didn’t get here by myself.”
Spears’s current practice with Harness Dickey includes preparing and prosecuting patents for clients in the automotive, consumer product and medical device industries. Many of the lessons that he learned under Coach Dantonio and as an intern with two major companies — such as team work, strategy and a constant drive for improvement — inspires him to bring the same level of focus to his new path in intellectual property law.