At Suiter Swantz IP, we take great pride in providing our clients with the highest level of intellectual property representation and we recognize this would not be possible without our elite team of patent attorneys and staff. Each month we feature one of our team members and give you the opportunity to learn more about their experiences and background. This month it is our pleasure to introduce Kaz Toyama.

Kazuya (Kaz) Toyama is a patent agent with Suiter Swantz IP and holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Kaz obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from St. Francis College. While attending St. Francis, he researched tangential purification methods for Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) as a visiting researcher at Princeton University. Kaz went on to receive his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Nebraska. His research focused on the development of new asymmetric catalysts and total synthesis of natural products. Prior to Ph.D. work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kaz worked as a research scientist with Bayer Chemical to improve the quality of polyurethane foam.  During his years of research, Kaz gained hands on experience in a broad range of analytical instruments and techniques.

How did you get into patent law?
My interest in patent law started before applying to the Ph.D. program at the University of Nebraska.  At that time, I was working for a manufacturing company and my supervisor was an organic chemist and an inventor listed on several chemical patents.  He enthusiastically told me interesting stories about the relationship between research, patents, and business strategy.  I love learning new aspects of science, engineering, and technology, so following the completion of Ph.D. I jumped at the opportunity to be involved with patent law.

What do you like most about working at Suiter Swantz?
I enjoy learning inventions in various fields.  The best part of my job is that I get to see the finished products ready to be on the market without any experiments on my part.  This is both satisfying and stimulating, since I, as a researcher, understand how much effort goes into developing each invention and I, as a patent agent, have a privilege to protect valuable inventions.

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced professionally?
Transitioning from a researcher to a patent agent was one of the biggest challenges I have faced professionally as I had never been exposed to the legal field prior to joining Suiter Swantz IP.

Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in a country side of Niigata (200 miles north of Tokyo) Japan and came to the United States for college.  To provide a frame of reference, my hometown and Omaha are about the same size in population.

As a child what did you want to do/be when you grew up?
I have watched many TV shows featuring medical doctors so naturally I wanted to be a medical doctor.  However, as I progressed through schoo,  I found myself interested more in expanding the existing boundary of science, which ultimately led me to chemistry.