Patent Lawyer with the U.S. Patent Office
“It’s rare to see a lawyer with an engineering degree.”

jon head

When Jonathan Ng looks back at his time at UT Austin, he remembers the family aspect. As a 2006 alum, Ng was a member of the department’s first graduating baccalaureate class and recalls what it felt like to a be a part of something at the beginning.

“We became a tight knit family. Everyone became friends and everyone knew each other, which is such a big deal for such a big university,” he said.

Ng was born and raised in Houston, and came to UT Austin because he knew people coming here, and Austin wasn’t far from Houston and his family. He knew during his senior year of high school that he wanted to study biomedical engineering because of the many post-grad options – medical school, graduate school and law school, to name a few.

As an undergraduate, Ng took part in BMES and drug delivery research in Dr. Peppas’ lab. He said he is glad he experienced hands-on research while in school because it gave him a good background on what it’s like to work in a lab. He also said it helped him realize what his talents were, and that he did not necessarily want to pursue research after graduation.

He remembers the biomedical engineering classes encouraged students to get acquainted—everyone was taking the same courses at the same time—which is something he says wasn’t true of his friends in other majors. The classmates he met through biomedical engineering later helped him decide on a career path: law school.

Today, as a patent attorney, Ng uses his engineering background to work with inventors to protect their intellectual property. He works with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), specializing in health care inventions.

“It’s rare to see an attorney with an engineering degree,” Ng said.

He examines patent applications and makes sure they are unique, and then he talks to inventors and lawyers about what they are doing and how it compares with previous inventions. The ultimate goal is to get the application done in a way that makes the patent viable.

Having a patent is a fundamental part of being an entrepreneur, and Ng is pleased to be a part of that process. He enjoys watching Shark Tank, the reality show for budding entrepreneurs, because contestants are always asked if they have a patent.

“If you have something you believe in, you should protect it because someone will always try to copy it.”

As he continues his work at the USPTO, Ng said his time at BME help prepare him for where he is today.

“The mindset you get, going through engineering, especially at BME, sticks with you even after 10 or 20 years after you get out,” he said. “The goal-oriented approach of engineering sets your mind to have a goal in your mind and the process for what is needed to get it done, no matter what road blocks come your way.”