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This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the January 7, 2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

From Chemist to Patent Agent

Chemist David Gange was among the many who lost their jobs at American Cyanamid but have landed on their feet. Gange’s solution was to use his technical skills to start his own practice, Altimatia, to do patent prosecutions, patent and literature searches, and to give intellectual property workshops. He has just received word that he passed the federal patent bar exam, which means he can represent companies and inventors before the patent office as a registered patent agent.

"Just from being a scientist I have a lot of searching experience," says Gange. To practice law before the patent office you either need a technical degree (and are called a patent agent) or to be an attorney (and are known as a patent attorney).

The market for patent agents is not saturated, he says, because the barriers to entry are pretty high. "From what I have heard, the patent bar is the most difficult bar exam to pass." Gange took a couple of review courses but was elated to have passed the first time.

A chemistry major at Tulane, Class of 1977, Gange has a PhD in organic synthesis from Ohio State, and did two years of postdoctoral study at Columbia. After 13 years at American Cyanamid, he went to a small firm on Deer Park Drive, Transcell Technologies (then known as Incara) for five years. It was bought and closed down in 2000. Then he worked for a software company, Row2 Technologies in Parsippany.

Gange started his firm in June, 2003, and chose the name Altimatia because it was trademarkable. Before he took and passed the bar exam he was doing patent searches at a cost of about $500, depending on the difficulty.

As a sideline, he helps his wife, Susan, in her orchid business. He built a 2,400 square-foot greenhouse, and they specialize in phalenopsis and moth orchids, selling on the wholesale and retail markets.

Gange hopes to grow to a dozen employees in the next couple of years. "I don’t lie awake worrying, but I do wonder if this is going to make it or not – I work on the self confidence every day," says Gange. "I know I have the skills and qualifications, and if I just keep plugging away it will work."

Altimatia LLC, 65 South Main Street, Building C, Pennington 08534. David M. Gange, president. 609-730-1800; fax, 609-730-1818. E-mail: DavidGange@altimatia.com Home page: www.altimatia.com


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