Melis Tirhi

Summer Job Diaries: Rising 3L Melis Tirhi '23 Uses Background in Engineering to Contribute to Knobbe Martens IP Litigation Team

Melis Terhi poses in front of Knobbe Martens

Melis Tirhi '23, a research assistant to Prof. Rebecca Delfino and previously a U.S. Army 1L JAG Intern, is a summer associate on the Knobbe Martens IP litigation team.

How did you land your summer job?

I have my career counselor to thank for landing my position as a summer associate at Knobbe Martens. OCI came and went and I hadn’t found the right fit. The end of the Spring was rolling around and I became interested in Knobbe, but the firm had not participated in OCI nor were they taking direct applications. My career counselor went out on a limb for me and shared my resume with the firm, securing me an interview. Many of the attorneys at Knobbe have technical backgrounds, and they were seeking a summer with knowledge in sensors and imaging. Miraculously, my degree is in Bioengineering and I focused my research and last two years of study in Bioimaging and Signal Processing. I got the job an hour after the interview!

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Many of the cases I work on involve very large clients and products that we are all familiar with. It is not uncommon that I am given a project involving an item I have at home or even with me at that very moment. It has been fascinating to see the behind-the-scenes of these products as well as the relationship between competitors and how the firm navigates these issues. Most of all, Knobbe encourages you to pursue a variety of practice areas. The project pool system allows you to see a list of projects and corresponding attorneys and gives you a “choose your own adventure” experience where you can do as much or as little of what you want when you want. I’ve been able to write an article about NFTs with a Seattle partner and publish in IP Watchdog and then the next day turn around and draft a motion for a copyright infringement case with a member of the LA team and then turn right back around and pick up a trademark case from the OC office.

What has been your most challenging assignment thus far?

A few summers, including myself, helped one of the partners prepare for an upcoming oral argument in front of the Federal Circuit regarding a patent infringement issue. The briefs were hundreds of pages and incredibly dense. While the case is confidential, over 20 million US households have purchased multiple of these devices and you would be lucky to find a person who hasn’t heard of it. I was given only a few days to familiarize myself with the case and come up with questions to try and “trip-up” the very seasoned attorney who would be arguing before the court. It was nerve-wracking and intimidating, but overall a very unique and fulfilling experience where I was able to see experienced attorneys in practice prepare for and present oral arguments.

What new legal skill have you acquired during your summer job?

Before this job I knew nothing about trademark or copyright law. Since the start of the summer, I have done numerous projects in both of those areas. From experience alone I have acquired knowledge pertaining to those subject areas as well as legal skills related to drafting motions before the federal courts, writing stipulations, and utilizing decisions of the TTAB and PTAB.

What bit of legal knowledge have you been able to display?

Civil Procedure has been a large part of my work here in drafting motions, and I have Professor Adam Zimmerman to thank for the knowledge I carried with me into this position. Additionally, much of the work I do here has a global element. Clients frequently have patent filings in other countries and/or engage in international business operations that become relevant in litigation matters. Many clients have dynamic IP portfolios that play a large part in mergers, business transactions, and eventual disputes. Professor Aaron Ghiradelli’s International Business Transactions course covered many topics that gave me literacy coming into Knobbe, including international service of process procedures and issues surrounding intellectual property as it relates to international business.

How has Loyola helped you map your career path?

LLS has helped me map my career path by allowing me the freedom to pursue the opportunities I felt were right for me while supporting me along the way. Even though I could not find the opportunities I wanted online through LLS or external websites, my biggest resource has been my career counselor. Additionally, LLS has a wide variety of course offerings that increasingly diversify into 3L. Now that I have been able to experience IP litigation and take note of my interests, I will be further directing my career path through my 3L course choices.