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VOL. 123 | NO. 188 | Thursday, September 25, 2008

Barnes Joins Crone & Mason’s Intellectual Property Group

By Rebekah Hearn

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()
KENNETH E. BARNES
Position: Attorney
Firm: Crone & Mason PLC
Basics: Barnes focuses on patent and trademark protection.
“I’ve always been interested in interdisciplinary work. … You’re translating between the worlds of research and the law and trying to get protection for the intellectual property there.”
– Kenneth E. Barnes

Kenneth E. Barnes recently joined Crone & Mason PLC as an attorney focusing on patent and trademark protection. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Memphis, and he graduated earlier this year with a juris doctorate from the U of M’s Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Barnes is a member of the American and Tennessee Intellectual Property Associations and the Tennessee Bar Association.

Previously, Barnes worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a senior research technologist for the Scientific Imaging Shared Resource, where he operated research microscopes.


Q: What prompted you to make the change in your career to practicing law?

A: Well, I’ve always been interested in interdisciplinary work – working in areas that touch on more than one field and seeing how they interact. Intellectual property law, particularly patent law, is interdisciplinary; you’re translating between the worlds of research and the law and trying to get protection for the intellectual property there. The same thing for copyright, that touches on music, software, (etc.).


Q: What did you do specifically at St. Jude?

A: I was a research microscopist for five years, which involved operating laser scanning confocal microscopes, supporting the computers that controlled the instruments, and doing computer-based image analysis on the data, all in support of researchers looking to understand complex biological processes in development and how to fight cancers. I got to work with people who came from all over the world at St. Jude, and had a chance to look at a lot of interesting projects.


Q: What attracted you to patent and trademark law initially?

A: I guess it’s just my background in biology, and my technical background, because you can’t become a patent lawyer without having a technical background. The patent office requires that you have a technical degree before you can practice before them. (My undergraduate degree was) in microbiology. I went to the University of Memphis for all three degrees – bachelor’s, master’s and law – so I kind of joke that I got the third degree from the U of M.


Q: Have you seen your practice affected by the economy?

A: Well, research and development, unfortunately, is one of the areas that companies tend to cut when they’re running short on cash. But at least in Memphis, we’ve got a lot of tech resources, particularly with biotechnology and the biomedical field, with St. Jude, (University of Tennessee Health Science Center), the University of Memphis and Bioworks Foundation. At least the health care industry seems to be a little bit recession-proof. People still get sick.


Q: Because of the nature of the businesses in Memphis, do you think it’s one of the better places to practice that type of law?

A: Well, you know, it’s a fairly small market for patent law, but we do have some high-tech companies. Back in the early ’90s, I was working for a startup called Viral Antigens (Inc.) that was founded by some faculty members from UT, and they produced viral proteins for diagnostic test kits. That got me experience at the ground floor of a startup, and I learned the importance of intellectual property protection for those kind of biotech startups.


Q: What activities or hobbies do you enjoy when you have spare time?

A: Spending time with my family. I bicycle; we’ve got some hills around where we live. I’ve also got a hobby of home automation, so I’ve built a zoned air-conditioning system for our house, and a digital VCR, so I’m sort of a hacker that way.


RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 19 170
BUILDING PERMITS 28 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 25 98 716
BUSINESS LICENSES 4 26 302
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0