David Hsu lives by this proverb: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”
In that sense, his current success as an early-career patent attorney is the product of his hard work as an undergrad in MIT, then a PhD candidate in chemical engineering, then an engineer — then in law school.
Hsu’s clients through his firm, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, are also reaping the fruits of his pre-law experience. A semiconductor manufacturer sought a patent for an invention involving a microplasma — and not just any microplasma but the type on which Hsu happened to have written his PhD thesis at the University of California – Berkeley. The patent office had rejected the client’s first patent application, pointing to another patent that it said already existed for that invention. Hsu stepped in and, feeling quite at home with the subject matter, pinpointed the nuances in the client’s invention that distinguished it from the “old” patent, and he got the patent granted in a few months.
Editor’s note: This excerpt was updated to list the correct law school from which Hsu graduated.