U-M engineering grad enjoys career as a patent attorney

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Jean McCarthy found the study of the "STEM" subjects naturally appealing.

"Today, schools and parents are teaching kids the importance of science, technology, engineering and math," says McCarthy. "I was lucky because those subjects naturally appealed to me."

She also credits her days at Mercy High School, where the all-girl population was encouraged to do well in math and science.

McCarthy, a resident of Farmington Hills, has engineering in her blood. Her grandfather was a civil engineer who was a manager for the Mackinac Bridge construction. Her father also was a civil engineer.

McCarthy saw plenty of career opportunities in engineering, especially in Detroit with the auto industry. After earning a B.S. in mechanical engineering with honors from the University of Michigan, she worked in the Environmental Protection Agency's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

"We developed testing and applied the emissions laws and regulatory rules as part of our work," McCarthy says, "so I saw how my engineering background could lead to a career in law."

After earning a law degree with honors at the University of Michigan, she moved with her family to Boston, working for a litigation firm; then to Ohio, where she worked for a law firm advising lending institutions.

McCarthy and her family returned to Detroit, and she returned to the law area she found most interesting.

"I had taken a patent law class in law school and really enjoyed it," she explains. "I felt the time was right to combine the engineering and law parts of my studies and work."

McCarthy joined Quinn Law Group PLLC in 2002, and is a shareholder. She concentrates her practice on patent law, emphasizing the preparation and prosecution of patent applications, litigation support, non-infringement opinions, freedom to operate opinions and client counseling.

McCarthy has researched, prepared and prosecuted patent applications in numerous technologies such as automotive powertrains, control systems, materials processing and athletic footwear.

"I find it very rewarding and challenging to be able to learn about an invention as deeply as its inventor," she says. "All of the attorneys at the firm enjoy constantly learning something new, and being at the forefront of new technology."

McCarthy runs half-marathons annually, and has tried sprint triathlons. She paints for relaxation.

McCarthy has served as a council member of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, and is a member of the Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association.

Published: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

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