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Dr. Joseph (Yu) Chen
Dr. Joseph (Yu) Chen

2022 Unsung Legal Heroes: Dr. Joseph (Yu) Chen

Robins Kaplan LLP

While pursuing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota, Joseph (Yu) Chen took a job in the Technology Commercialization program.

A native of China, Chen studied whether products and research created by professors had market potential. While considering a career as a patent engineer, a friend reached out about a science advisor position at Robins Kaplan LLP.

After joining the firm in 2014, Chen helped develop a group of scientific experts to provide case analyses involving patent infringement, intellectual property monetization and litigation. The firm’s “Acumen Powered By Robins Kaplan” program includes Ph.D.s in the fields of science, engineering and economics.

The science advisors work on cases with complex technologies where they can help attorneys evaluate evidence such as algorithms, source codes and other data that informs, for example, patent infringement cases, Chen said. These internal experts advise attorneys on whether litigation should be pursued and follow through on everything from discovery to external expert deposition.

“We provide the technical support to the attorneys to make sure that for complex litigation we are 100% accurate about the technical arguments that we make,” he said.

The group built “Pinpoint IP,” a tool that incorporates artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis to determine the value of patents, Chen said. Clients with hundreds or thousands of patents “can rank patents from the highest score to the lowest score to determine their value,” he said. However, the scores are not used in trials but to give clients insight into whether they should diversify their patent holdings or take other actions.

Chen, who works as the science advisor and technical consultant manager, said he enjoys collaborating with attorneys, clients and fellow science advisors. Science papers he published while at the university gave him a keen understanding of research and he wanted something different.

“Sometimes it could be boring because you’re just focusing on the same research and you seldom speak to someone else — you just talk to the machine,” Chen said. “What I like most about my current job is the human interactive focus and being able to get involved in cases related to many different types of technologies.”

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