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IP lawyer engineers career change

Christopher Kukowski (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Christopher Kukowski (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

While working as a biomedical engineer at GE Healthcare, Christopher Kukowski took a leap of faith and began attending law school on a part-time basis.

“I’ve always been interested in the interplay between law and technology,” he said.

Now working in intellectual property law at Boyle Fredrickson SC in Milwaukee, Kukowski said he enjoys the variety afforded by his new career.

Engineers get focused on specific projects that they work on from beginning to end, he said.

“I found that a bit dull and wanted to work on a bunch of different things,” he said, “which I get to do as an attorney. I’m learning a lot about a lot of different things.”

The engineering experience comes in handy when working with clients, though, Kukowski said.

“A lot of them are very tech savvy so it’s good I can speak their language and know what questions to ask,” he said.

Kukowski joined Boyle Fredrickson in 2007 and is a nonequity shareholder at the firm. He spends a lot of time on researching to determine what’s unique about a particular invention or process.

“Inventors are very excited when you talk with them,” he said, “but you need to zero in on what’s different and what will help them receive the patent.”

Wisconsin Law Journal: What was your most-favorite class in law school?
Christopher Kukowski: Intellectual Property Law. It provided a good survey of the various IP areas like patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets, which were all areas that interested me.

WLJ: What would you have done if you hadn’t become an attorney?
Kukowski: I would have liked to become a statistician or advanced scout for a major league baseball team. I love numbers and stats as well as sports, and I think I would have enjoyed the interplay of the two.

WLJ: If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Kukowski:  Flight. I would love to be able to see more of the world and it would be nice to take a break from the Wisconsin winters on a whim.

WLJ: What song gets heavy rotation on your iPod?
Kukowski: Anything off the new Arcade Fire album

WLJ: What activity could you spend hours doing outside of work?
Kukowski: Watching and attending sporting events like baseball, football and basketball games. I am a fanatic when it comes to the Brewers, Packers and Marquette.

WLJ: What was your favorite childhood toy?
Kukowski: My Sega Genesis video game system. It was a reward for doing well in school and the first time that my parents would allow a video game system in the house.

WLJ: What trait do you admire most in others?
Kukowski: Honesty. Telling a client, friend, or relative what they may not want to hear can be quite difficult and I admire those that have the courage to come right out and be direct, open and honest with others.

WLJ: If you could have drinks with one famous person, who would it be?
Kukowski: Bruce Springsteen. My dad raised me on his music and I’m a Bruce fanatic. He’s easily my most favorite musician and I would love to sit down and talk with him about his music and life.

WLJ: What is your most prized possession?
Kukowski: I still have the first present my step-mom ever gave me, a small toy spaceship from when I was 5 years old. It was a special gift from her to me and has always symbolized to me the joining of me with her and her family, which has led her to be much more to me than just a step-mom but truly my mother and one of my best friends in this world.

WLJ: What do you consider your life’s biggest achievement?
Kukowski: Raising 4-year-old triplets. It’s been a difficult road. They spent several weeks in the NICU after being born 12 weeks early. Then when they came home life became one big wonderful blur that I would not trade for anything in this world. It helps that I have the greatest wife I could ask for helping me out along the way.

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