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Internship Field: Engineering, Commercialization of Patents

Major: International Relations
Minor: Materials Science & Engineering

Host: ZukunftsAgentur Brandenburg GmbH (ZAB: Brandenburg Economic Development Board)

Location: Potsdam

Duration: 3 months in Summer 2006


Description: "I helped a number of coworkers with their projects involving licensing of patents. Specifically, I often did patent searches and market research for new innovations to determine the viability of new ideas. I also helped to develop strategies to market the ideas to potential licensees, particularly in the US.  I also helped do some translations of promotional materials into English.  I learned specifically a great deal about international patent law, business practices surrounding innovation, and marketing strategies.  I also of course significantly improved my capabilities in German, particularly regarding technical subjects."

Comments: "Helping to try to make new ideas and inventions into viable products is quite rewarding.  It was also nice to know that the proceeds from the transactions would in part return to the universities to fund further research.

My coworkers were all very friendly and open, and through them I gained a much better appreciation and understanding of German culture. Talking with coworkers about their experience growing up in the GDR and debating German political issues that are often quite different from those considered in America definitely gave me new perspectives that I take back with me."

German language skills:"I translated documents involving topics ranging from nanotechnology to metal processing machines.  I also did research in German patent databases, requiring reading and comparing existing patents with the new ones we wanted to get, and discussed these topics with my coworkers, all in German.  My comprehension skills have thus improved dramatically. Most notably, my knowledge of technical German vocabulary has exploded.  However, I also dealt with marketing materials and discussed politics and social life casually, so my knowledge of German has approved all around.  I also had to compose memos and present a number of presentations for the group in German, so my spoken and written German also improved of necessity, but in general, my improvements in communication were less marked than my improvements in comprehension.  That said, I felt much more confident speaking German at the end of my internship than I had felt at its start."

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