October 11, 2021
Caleb Bates

Caleb Bates, PhD'10, shares his experience and advice as a patent attorney at Fish and Richardson.  

U-M Pharmacy: What was your most memorable learning experience or impactful faculty mentor?

Dr. Bates: My most memorable learning experience was attending group meeting. The lab worked on the interface of chemistry and biology, and seeing how different scientists with different backgrounds approached scientific questions and thought about science greatly helped my development as a scientist.

U-M Pharmacy: What was your favorite extracurricular activity?

Dr. Bates: Playing indoor soccer or early morning hoops with other students and postdocs!

U-M Pharmacy: How did your fellow alumni or professional network impact your career?

Dr. Bates: The Michigan Alumni network is very strong. At nearly every industry event that I've attended, there are alumni present that love to chat about their time in Ann Arbor, and hear about how the city/campus has changed. Now I'm one of those people, since I haven't been back in a few years!

U-M Pharmacy: Tell us about your current position.

Dr. Bates: I'm currently a patent attorney at Fish and Richardson, a global patent, intellectual property litigation, and commercial litigation law firm. My practice focuses on patent prosecution and portfolio development for startups and emerging companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology space. It's exciting to work with smart, driven scientists, that are exploring new scientific space to get drugs into the clinic.

U-M Pharmacy: How did you discover this career path?

Dr. Bates: About mid-way through graduate school, I began to question whether a career at the bench was right for me. In my search for alternatives where my chemistry training would still be relevant, I landed on patent attorney. Having a technical background such as chemistry, physics, or engineering is required, but you're not at the bench. A winning combination for me!

U-M Pharmacy: What advice do you have for students interested in this career path?

Dr. Bates: Explore your options early, ask questions, and build your network. But most importantly, learn the science. You'll need a solid scientific foundation to keep up with the work your clients are doing.