Li-Chung Daniel (Dan) Ho is a Partner at Resolute Legal PLLC. Dan devotes his practice to technology law, with an emphasis on patent and trademark prosecution, patent and trademark litigation, technology licenses, and service agreements. With 23 years of legal experience, he is knowledgeable in all aspects of patent and trademark litigation in federal court and arbitration settings.
Before joining Resolute, Dan’s experience includes working as an in-house attorney at two large global companies, as the intellectual property lead of five operating groups, as an attorney at an international general practice law firm and several intellectual property boutique law firms, and has also served as an arbitrator on several arbitrations. Before his law career, he was a Product Planning Analyst and Product Engineer at Ford Motor Company.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Dan Ho talks about his background in engineering and why he began a career in law
- How Dan started working in product liability and patent prosecution
- Why is developing a healthy work-life habit a necessity?
- Juggling risk management as an in-house attorney
- Dan shares his proudest moment writing a patent application
- An in-depth look at the lifecycle of a patent
- Dan discusses a typical day
- The importance of helping clients and establishing lasting relationships
In this episode…
The most accomplished leaders are focused on building lasting relationships. Dan Ho’s background from engineer to lawyer helped him bring value and innovations from various environments as he navigated the world of litigation and patents. How did he do it, and what steps can you take to find the same success?
Before getting into patent and trademark prosecution, Dan Ho began his career as an engineer for a major motor company. Bringing his knowledge of designing and patenting vehicle parts, Dan entered a career in litigation and trademark preparations. Now, Dan is here to share strategies for how he became a successful attorney.
In this episode of 15 Minutes, Michael Renfro sits down with Dan Ho, Partner at Resolute Legal PLLC, to discuss developing leadership skills in patent and trademark prosecution. Dan talks about healthy habits for juggling work and life, writing patent applications to help others, and establishing credible and lasting relationships with clients.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Michael Renfro on LinkedIn
- Gladiator Law Marketing
- Li-Chung Daniel Ho on LinkedIn
- Resolute Legal PLLC
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing, where we deliver tailor-made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential.
To have a successful marketing campaign and make sure you’re getting the best ROI, your firm needs to have a better website and better content. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and decades of experience to outperform the competition.
You’re listening to 15 Minutes, where we feature community leaders sharing what the rest of us should know, but likely don’t.
Michael Renfro 0:13
Hello, everyone, Michael Renfro here I’m the host of 15 Minutes where we talk with top notch lawyers and law firms about what it takes to grow a successful law firm and successful practice. In this episode is brought to you by Gladiator Law Marketing where we deliver tailor made services to help you accomplish your objectives and maximize your growth potential. In order to have a successful marketing campaign, you do need to make sure that you’re getting the the optimum ROI. And part of that is that your firm needs to be better than the competitors just simply put, at Gladiator. We use artificial intelligence along with me machine learning and literally over a century of combined experience now to outperform the competition and do just that. To learn more, please go to GladiatorLawMarketing.com, which you’ll see at the bottom of the screen there. So I’m not going to bother spelling it out for you today. Today’s guest, Li-Chung Daniel Ho. And Li, if I remember you are on the East Coast, right? Or are you on the well actually in Chicago? Chicago’s. Okay, Midwest, Midwest. And but Li has been doing or Dan, excuse me, Dan has been doing collectively for I think for around the last 25 years. But I remembered in intellectual property in the technological realm. So mainly with technology, but like patents, trademarks, that kind of thing.
Dan Ho 1:34
Yes, yeah. So I do started off doing a hand, both patent litigation and prosecution. And then when I was in a law firm atmosphere, and then I went in house, and so when I, when I was in house, I did a mix of things, just like you know, most in house attorneys, you know, you don’t have one responsibility start collecting more and more, you know, a lot of transactional work when I was there, you know, and a lot of contracts and things like that, you know, and then that just recently, about five years ago, went back to law firm atmosphere. So I would say I spent probably, you know, bulk of my career to ensure properties. But then also, when I was in house, I was involved in other things. Oh, cool.
Michael Renfro 2:21
So how did you get started originally in law, like in the, you know, how did it? How did you go from being Dan, the guy to Dan, the one of the rule Knowers? Yeah,
Dan Ho 2:31
so that’s actually kind of interesting story. So anytime I tell that people are kind of fascinated about my background. So I started off actually, as an engineer, you know, I went to, went to Michigan received my bachelor’s, undergraduate and graduate degree in chemical engineering. And so I worked at Ford Motor Company, for some product playing around. And then later on, I worked in, in, in Designer release activities. And so basically, you know, we have vendors who does most of the work in terms of the design, but then I will review the specifications and let them know what is acceptable and stuff like that. So when I was working as an engineer, and especially my last job, I was doing, I was released engineer for, for truck operations for their steering, steering suspension mechanisms. And then when I was there, it was like, every time there’s a roll over their time, there’s an accident or something like that, they always blame it on the steering suspension that was on a vehicle rather than so. And so I started meeting with lawyers quite a bit.
Michael Renfro 3:41
So I was I was kind of thinking, you just you kind of ended up being on the other side. So you’re like, I want to we want to learn that side.
Dan Ho 3:48
Exactly. That’s what happened. It’s actually like, you know, I was, you know, they started going through my documents, all that stuff like that
Michael Renfro 3:55
does have a lot of privileges.
Dan Ho 3:58
Actually, like, the my predecessor, who, you know, who released probably more of the stuff that was out in the field, because I was watching you more on the newer stuff, obviously, you know, the stuff that’s been out there, not that long, but he was telling me he was being deposed a couple of times a week, you know, that was became my full time I was just
Michael Renfro 4:18
so it was for him. It was part of his regular week at that point.
Dan Ho 4:23
Right. Exactly. You know, he said, I was like, Yo, you know, he was he was here, even though he moved down to the different jobs within Ford. He said he was just working all the time, in terms of working with attorneys doing depositions. That time I started getting into that a little bit because they’re going through my stuff. And then I always had to sit down with attorneys, you know, products, liability attorneys, going through the documents, explain to him what this means and stuff like that. And this is why we did whatever. And then, you know, there’s some of the trees I might want to say that you’ll you’ll be really good lawyer, you know, maybe you should think about being a lawyer and stuff.
Michael Renfro 4:59
As attorneys really argue well, buddy, like getting past you.
Dan Ho 5:04
Right? So it was actually kind of interesting. So I was kind of thinking, you know, I think I’d rather be the person that’s doing that up during the deposition rather than be deposed. And so absolutely. So that’s when I decided, you know, like, I’ll go to law school at that point. Yeah.
Michael Renfro 5:19
So you were in, based on what you told me, I’m guessing you were in like your early 30s. When you went back to law school I was
Dan Ho 5:24
I was six years I’ve poured so I was probably like, late 20s, maybe 28? When I’m 2828 When I go to law school. Gotcha. So So I was actually all like, probably one of the older law student when I was certainly a lot of people would imagine directly from undergrad to law. But actually, it’s
Michael Renfro 5:45
interesting, but it’s not unheard of. Yeah, your story, although it’s very unique. And I love it. I’ve heard other similar ones where, you know, like, these guys had been attorneys for 30 years, but like, they had a whole nother life for the first 2530 years, you know, like, right, exactly.
Dan Ho 6:02
Especially in my field in technology, and especially IP, especially, you know, there’s a lot of people who first started off as engineers or even like, not even IP, and you know, I work with transactional attorneys, who work with us as a CPA for a couple years and then decided later on going like, hey, you know, maybe I’ll try law school now. And I’ll give you
Michael Renfro 6:24
an example of somebody that I met. He was Army. Oh, what’s not army? Sorry, Marines. Right, Marines. And literally, this attorney, I won’t say his name, because, you know, due to an anonymity, but his left arm has 23 tattooed skulls? Oh, sure. You know what that means, because that’s the number of of kills, but this guy now is both a criminal defense and a personal injury, which is really funny, because the fact that he even became Attorney to me is is a little different in and of itself, right? Because he is a biker. He’s like, he’s, uh, you know, he’s part of the one percenters like in a big block one of those large bike gangs. So he became a personal injury attorney, but after being that someone asked him, a criminal defense guy just said, Hey, could you take a case for me? Just one case, right? And he ended up doing the case and he’s like, man, after doing that case, I saw how horrible the criminal justice system is. Right? So now he does. So you never know. You never know what’s going to lead you into which you know, when he first told me that he was from the Marines I was like, so where the heck did becoming a criminal defense? He’s like I didn’t even go into being an attorney for criminal defense I started right. For personal injury
Dan Ho 7:40
Yeah, so I get that so initially, I went in for going into law thinking I want to peroxide it though, because that was what I was familiar with. Were you going to do I’m sorry? products liability.
Michael Renfro 7:51
Okay. That’s what I write product liability. Absolutely. You already know both you know the other side already. Right now you would have the advantage of knowing both right?
Dan Ho 8:00
Yeah, so I went to did the practice thought about doing proxy stability that went to law school with with that intention, and then I went back to Ford my first summer
Michael Renfro 8:10
was this now after you had gotten your your law degree? No, this is when I was in law school. Oh, so while you were in law school, you went back
Dan Ho 8:17
went back to Ford? And then realize I hate it peroxide No, I mean, it’s boring. People who does that kind of work. I mean, I’ve worked out a little bit later on when it became a lawyer. You know, when I was a junior block, which is a large law firm Yes, Chicago was when I was a Ford that was like the most depressing area
Michael Renfro 8:40
which which which vehicles did you do all vehicles that did you I think you truck right so big ones the big 18 wheelers?
Dan Ho 8:49
No, no, no, no, no truck. So So I worked on like truck Okay, so like Ranger Bronco to wood right
Michael Renfro 8:56
now I understand now but I’ve got four does make the big ones too so I didn’t know if you worked on
Dan Ho 9:01
Yeah, so work on the F series right kinda line Yeah, not not the not the semi truck. Got it what’s in Ford there there’s like truck and heavy truck Yes. Oh that was within electronica was in
Michael Renfro 9:15
but you worked when you say like truck that covers basically anything that had a bed
Dan Ho 9:19
on it. Oh well that or also like SUVs basically
Michael Renfro 9:23
she also SUVs fell under the light truck. Okay, cool. Right. So like an SUV. That’s right. Because you did say I’m sorry. You did say the Explorer, which is an SUV and on it. Right? Yeah. So expeditions all those floor because it was a wasn’t around. It was Bronco to back. Bronco. Right? And then and then that’s what you said Bronco, Bronco. I tells you how old I am though. I know that a Bronco is an explorer. So I went to the
Dan Ho 9:49
Yeah, actually it was Bronco to become explorer and Bronco tonight Broncos became expeditions but yeah, right. But then uh, but that’s like, the Bronco twos were one that’s you know, and also the Bronco Also a lot of, you know, because it’s it’s an SUV and people drive it like a car. Yeah, they know they try to go around the corner and they roll it over. And so on vehicle, but so no. Part of it too. It’s like you’re not driving it the way it was intended. But yeah, but that’s, that’s no complete. We can talk about that for hours. No,
Michael Renfro 10:22
I just Just curious do you remember the Suzuki sidekick to exactly that? It was like 45 miles an hour. 25 miles an hour? And you would?
Dan Ho 10:30
Right? Oh, yeah. Oh, Sookie, I think it was worse than even our practical to it’s,
Michael Renfro 10:35
oh, it was? Well, that’s why I’m saying I believe it. 25 If you’d like to turn tight, I mean, what you’re like 25 is nothing you should be able to pretty much whip almost any car around, you know, and it would?
Dan Ho 10:47
Yeah, I mean, like, but then I mean, that’s the thing, though. I mean, like, you know, people think that they can drive it like a sports car or?
Michael Renfro 10:52
Dan Ho 10:53
It’s not a Mustang.
Michael Renfro 10:58
Yeah, that’s funny. So what would you say was was your biggest turning point? To go? Because, you know, and what I mean by that is, you’ve sounds like you’ve had a couple of turning points. Number one. All right, which one do you think would be the biggest one? That and you’re gonna love how I do this? Because really, I believe question four and five, just so you know, I think kind of go together. So I’ve always kind of put them together. What do you think your biggest turning point? Is that also created your best milestone, if you will?
Dan Ho 11:31
Oh, that’s interesting point, I would say, because, like, he said to me, I had my career change so much to write less. I mean, you know, start off for sounds
Michael Renfro 11:42
like you’ve had about three careers inside of your
Dan Ho 11:44
exactly this, I think that’s probably going to be true for a lot of people, you know, it is for me, too. So there’s so many so many things that happens. You know, like, obviously, one is, you know, becoming decided to go become an attorney, you know, as an engineer. But also another thing that happened was, you know, like, I worked at a smaller that started off working in a smaller boutique firm IP, basically. So we did strictly panel, panel litigation, patent prosecution kind of work. For people just not familiar with patent prosecution, patent prosecution, people think that it’s somehow dealing with like, litigation, but then it’s actually different pan prosecution’s writing of their patents and litigation, litigating the pens are for
Michael Renfro 12:31
now. So it’s still it’s prosecuted in this case, it
Dan Ho 12:34
was not, I guess, not not like prosecution. No, it’s not like criminal prosecution. Right? Not the same way. Yeah, that’s, that’s a term we use for writing patent application. So your real patent applications, did a lot of litigation. You know, I went to a large law firm for a while, yeah, started off with boutique firms. And I went to general block, which is one of the larger litigation firm here in Chicago. You know, and a turning point for me at that point, was that, um, you know, I think maybe a lot of attorneys kind of go through that, at certain point. They’re kind of like, oh, yeah, like, especially at a large law firm, you know, working now, easily, like 80 hours a week, you know, and then a couple of days, when we’re getting into like a Cait, you know, getting ready for like, or arguments or getting ready for the briefs and stuff like that. We might be working like three, four days straight without sleep and stuff like that. And then at that point, you know, I was coming home, if I’m coming, you know, sometime I would actually stay in the office, I’ll be coming home at 11 o’clock at night, you know, and then, and then I was like, you know, at that point, I was late 30s. And then we got married a couple years before that, and then now we just had a kid, it also brings that family. Exactly. So that’s when you kind of start thinking about saying, you know, like, work life balance. Right.
Michael Renfro 13:54
Right. And so do an 80 hours a week for
Dan Ho 13:57
exactly, I can’t be doing that coming home late. And then, you know, basically, see my kid, maybe a couple hours during the weekend, and then have to if you’re going to the office, and then that’s when you kind of decide decide to send yell, that it’s not, you know, it’s it’s kind of fun. I mean, I enjoyed litigation. I mean, you know, it was that the challenge of
Michael Renfro 14:21
trial, you obviously enjoyed the arguing back and forth. Right.
Dan Ho 14:25
It’s a lot of fun. You know, I’ve been very blessed. I mean, I think it’s, you know, if I was single
Michael Renfro 14:33
that might have gone a different way if you didn’t fall in love.
Dan Ho 14:36
Right? That’s all that’s, you know, this was a big change for me was realizing, saying that, you know, like, hey, you know, like, maybe it’s time to start going in as an in house attorney, you know, so that was very different from a law firm mammosphere. So
Michael Renfro 14:51
in house in house, just I just want to let people know who don’t know, but an in house is when you become a counsel for a specific company and they’re in House attorney you you become their counsel.
Dan Ho 15:02
Exactly. Exactly. So yeah. So I know I’m we’re kind of throwing out off terms.
Michael Renfro 15:07
No, no, I just some people that might just might not put it together just want to make. Right.
Dan Ho 15:13
Right. So So basically, it’s, you know, in house you worked for a company just like a regular employee, you, you’re a W two employee. Right. Except, you know, just being an engineer. Yeah. You know, so, Sonia, like going back there. And then it’s like, you know, I wouldn’t say nine to five job, but then it’s 95 job, then then you will and a law firm. Yeah.
Michael Renfro 15:36
So and you don’t get to, I would say, I’m guessing in house, it’s not quite the same flexible atmosphere. And what I mean by that is, let’s face it, if you’re at a law firm, as long as you’re getting your job done, you can pretty much decide your hours of when you walk into the firm, and when you walk out of the firm. Whereas if you’re an in house attorney, they really kind of want you to be there at the same hours as like the other executives and things like that. Right and have on hand. Right?
Dan Ho 16:01
Actually, that’s the thing that was interesting for me was that I decided to take a job at Accenture, which is I’m not sure familiar, essentially. But Accenture is a consulting company. So I was working there, you know, as one of the senior counselor. And then the way they work, which worked out great for me was that, you know, most of our consultants are only in the office once a week, you know, because they’re traveling all the time. Right. And so they had a deal with the attorneys coming in and saying that you only have to work. You don’t have to be in the office half the time. Yeah, that’s cool. And so I’m able to work at home during that time, but then obviously, I’d be available for right you’re
Michael Renfro 16:46
still there. The regular workaholic away today. We’re right. Like the way we work remotely today. You Right,
Dan Ho 16:51
exactly, exactly. Doing it early. So yeah. So when we went remote. I’ve been doing that for a while. So now, Ted,
Michael Renfro 16:59
I’m right there with you, brother. I’ve been remote. Yeah. I mean, I’ve had my stents like you were I’ve gone back into a couple of jobs where it was just the right time, but the bulk of the last 20 years has been working out of the home because I just found it much more productive here. Right.
Dan Ho 17:15
Exactly. Exactly. Like me. Oh, it was a very interesting transition. I mean, both in terms of the work hours and then and also, like you said, as long as you get the work done at a law firm, yes. And no. No, I mean, I was like way above my billable hours. But then as you know, a law firm says billable hour requirement. You know, and so you know
Michael Renfro 17:40
what I meant as long as you’re filling your quota. Right, really, they really not? I’m not saying they don’t care at all, like they don’t want to, they still want to see you they want to make sure they see your face. Right. Right. Right. But you have a lot more leeway if you’re if you’re killing your quota, you have a lot more leeway.
Dan Ho 17:55
Period. Right, right. Sales face time.
Michael Renfro 18:00
Just say, you know, Dan, like, you know, it’s the old, the old adage in the sales world, is that sales fixes all problems?
Dan Ho 18:06
Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, it was. So that was an interesting transition there. And then obviously, there was a transition for me to go from in house to, you know, back to back to work for a law firm. And that mean that the reason I did that was that I began to realize, you know, it’s always like, grass is greener on the side of the fence. And always, always look at advantages. Right. So when I was, you know, working in a law firm, I was thinking back to Okay, yeah, it was great when I was working at Ford Motor Company, that, you know, like, I don’t have to worry about, like, billable hours and stuff like that, you know, but then when you go into back to, you know, a company, I began this to realize that, yeah, there’s whether there’s politics, you know,
Michael Renfro 18:58
not just interoffice politics, but then there’s the politics of the hierarchy of the, you know, the, the executives and the,
Dan Ho 19:05
exactly, that’s what I was referring to, as I started, you know, it’s, I guess, you know, being in, in house attorney, you know, rather than being an engineer, engineer, I just kind of do my job I, you know, like, I do it right, and people are happy with it, you were a pivot point. Right. But then now, when you’re, like you said, you’re an executive and a company. Now you have to, you know, you have to please the people, and then sometimes it’s kind of like, okay, you know, like, Am I doing this because I’m trying to please you know, the person that’s head of marketing, or am I doing this for the good of the company?
Michael Renfro 19:40
That’s what I meant when I just to interrupt. That’s what I meant by you, you became a pivot, a pivotal person, as the attorney as the in house attorney, and obviously other officers knew and obviously, you know, if they’re very close to you, you know, they’re gonna whisper in your ear one way Am I? Am I doing this? Because I really like Jim, or am I doing this? Because I think it’s going to be the best thing for the company like, Right, exactly, is a very
Dan Ho 20:10
tough decision. Yeah. Which, which, you know, like, which I kind of think back to, like, when I was a law firm, you can’t say, This is my recommendation, take your insight, you know, and accompany now, it’s not as easy as that, you know, because there’s, you know, that’s part of it, too, is that, you know, as a, as an attorney in house, which I didn’t mind as much as that you’re not just an attorney, you’re also an employee of the company. And so, so there’s pressure, right? It does always have pressure saying that, you know, like, basically, okay, now, like, do I can I make this decision, even though there’s a high risk here? You know, do I want to take that risk? You know, which sometimes I don’t mind making that decision, you know, because I’m thinking, okay, you know, I can make that take that risk. Because, you know, that’s, it’s something that this company has to do. And then I, you know, I can’t just say no to everything, like I can’t, well, no,
Michael Renfro 21:05
and I imagine that over a year, I guarantee, I know, I don’t even have to think about this, you’ve been an attorney. So I know that you understand risk management, and right to assess risk. So if you know everything, everything we do, from the moment we walk, tell, we don’t even have to walk out of our room. No, slip down the stairs. And I mean, it’s risk fool to walk down a flight of steps every day. Right, right. So there’s risk and everything we do. The beautiful thing is one of those things you learn as an attorney, both and as an engineer, is risk management. Right? Like, so you already know how to do that. Yeah, exactly. Split
Dan Ho 21:41
that maybe it was, you know, but then I mean, the problem is, is like when you’re in a company now, you might have trouble with Yeah.
Michael Renfro 21:51
Look, it’s here. But for you, Don, I’m gonna, I’m gonna make it here. All right, that’s what Dan’s gonna do for you. I’m gonna, I’m going to push the needle back.
Dan Ho 22:01
Yeah, so like, you know, so that’s one of the sided, I mean, at, at some conflict with some of my bosses, and then I’m gonna like, maybe it’s time to think about going back to a law firm atmosphere, and then where I feel more comfortable in terms of what I do as an attorney, rather than being the person that’s, you know, saying that, hey, you know, we can’t take this risk, because it’s going to be jeopardized our company, and then having to, to, basically, keep my fingers crossed.
Michael Renfro 22:31
I see it like this, Dan. And I mean, this sincerely, as an in house, you were a you were one of the back row of chess pieces, right? You were not upon by any stretch, but you are one of the you know, really, you could you could kind of consider yourself like the queen, if you will, if you look at it, because you could go anywhere, and pretty much do anything because of the fact that you were an attorney. But you know, you still answer to somebody. Right, Ryan? Right. And that, that, that was where you know, but you had, what I mean by that is, then you have the bishops, the knights, and the rooks all whispering in your ear. Because you’re right, the end. So I sincerely. But then when you know, when you go back to a law practice, you really become you take all the chess pieces away, and you’re just the king of law. Right? Right. And usually your area you have, you know, generally at a practice, you have a specific area that you are the master of if you
Dan Ho 23:27
Yeah, exactly. That’s what when I was like in house, I was kind of jealous or somewhat of my outside counsel to like, point these guys. All they have to do is give the recommendation. That’s right. You got the need to do but
Michael Renfro 23:42
you had to give a recommendation and then prove to people why you were saying it, I imagine many. Yeah, yeah. So what would you say is your proudest overall moment? When you let you know the one that you would say maybe your your career highlight?
Dan Ho 23:57
biggest success? Yeah, whatever way you want
Michael Renfro 24:02
to put a couple of successes. You want to mention a couple please, please. Yeah. The one that I’ve
Dan Ho 24:07
probably brag about the most if you want to say that there were people well go
Michael Renfro 24:11
ahead and brag man, where’s the brag? This is it’s a comfortable atmosphere. Yeah, no one’s gonna judge you you are judging. Brag about what you’ve done, Brother and I’ll give you a lot of bragging back.
Dan Ho 24:23
Yeah, probably look back to some of the stuff I did earlier in my careers that count as an engineer. That’s what it was more fun. You know, it seems like so I I was I did a I wrote I wrote a patent application actually, for personal watercraft I’m not sure if people know for personal watercraft is basically like jet skis exact
Michael Renfro 24:46
skis and anything that it has a motor on the water right. Yeah. So so this is a cover boats. Does it cover full boats?
Dan Ho 24:54
No. The one that I wrote about? No actually though, was in some of the It became it was a it was a, it was a case that that was litigated quite
Michael Renfro 25:04
a bit. Right. Right. And probably in some of the law books as a reference. Right, right.
Dan Ho 25:08
And so so it was back, you know what I was probably like, four or five years working in the first law firm I was at and that continued on I keep prosecuting a bunch of pens for the company that we’re dependent on fishing for was Arctic Cat. So they make no snowmobiles, they make ATV
Michael Renfro 25:29
Okay, so now I get it. So the recreational vehicles the like anything that’s not
Dan Ho 25:34
Yeah, they made a bunch of stuff. And so, um, so back then I was doing a litigation for Artic Cat that was dealing with snowmobiles, you know, this is Bucha for snowmobiles. And then they asked me come like, Hey, Dan, you know, like, I understand that you write pen applications. Also, you know, we have this issue here, you know, because back then there was, you know, that the way a personal watercraft works is that the steering is done by the thrust, you know, so basically, there is not a, there’s not a rudder in a way, like a boat does. And so you basically turn the throttle the thrust, rather, you know, what, when you turn on the throttle, and then we turn the throttle the plus on a throttle, and then that that’s how it turns is that you turn basically the direction of the jet of the water coming out of the watercraft. So
Michael Renfro 26:28
if I may, I just want to make sure because I’ve always understood it. And I think I just want to explain it back to you make sure I understand. But it literally is called a a jetski. Because water is sucked in through the front, propelled out the back. And that’s how you not only get propelled, you know, the the propulsion itself, but that then mechanism is at the front and say exactly, turning to give you back, the back of oh, it’s still it’s still in the back. Okay,
Dan Ho 26:55
so back to the boat. And then basically direction of word, the chat, you know, the Why
Michael Renfro 27:01
did you change the trajectory of the jet stream to turn yourself?
Dan Ho 27:06
Exactly. So there’s not a runner like a rag? Right? Well, but it’s really turning, you know,
Michael Renfro 27:13
but there’s still a mechanism that is physically turning, there’s still a mechanism that physically turns in order to give you that
Dan Ho 27:19
change. Exactly. Yeah. So So kind of like, you know, you’re asked to vote,
Michael Renfro 27:24
I guess, you know, like, I’m writing for people
Dan Ho 27:25
who’s familiar with all that works, you know, don’t and so back then they were, they had a lot of products liability litigation, because what happens is that, you know, is that you have to have grace in order to turn because that’s how, you know, that’s how you need what well, you can you can turn the direction, the jet, but there’s no propulsion and doesn’t turn because there’s no water pushing it. And so what happens is that a lot of people when they were driving their personal watercraft, or riding it, they come up to a barrier or something else, and they panic. And so they turned to the weak the steering, but then they let go of the throttle. And so when they do that, nothing happens. They just keep going straight, because there’s no
Michael Renfro 28:12
proposal if you turn the boat out, proposed propelling it, then you’re not going to turn you’re just going to just go keep going the momentum going back and forth. And for a little bit,
Dan Ho 28:22
right, and so on. So there were when I was working with Artic Cat, you know, they they said there were tons and tons, but I mean, there were a lot of litigation products liability litigation that’s going on, because of that, that system, but that’s a system that everyone uses back then, you know, you know, like, you know, Yamaha uses that POM Honda uses that, you know, everyone uses that. Right. And so, um, so there, so basically, they’re, you know, they’re trying to determine, you know, how are we going to fix this problem, you know, and so, so, so they said, Oh, Dan, next time you’re up here, you know, I want to show you some serious something. And so what also what their next meal because I go there periodically, you know, for for litigation and stuff, right? Because they were there for the snowmobile litigations and things like that. And then they show me this personal watercraft. And then that’s actually it’s kind of funny because it was like, yes, they’re up in Minnesota, you know, freezing temperature and it was probably I’ll say November timeframe, so it’s not snowing yet but I mean, so it gets cold early, you know, so they’re going to say Hey, Dan, you don’t want to go on the boat. You know, like personal watercraft on the lake out there. I’m not gonna that’s freezing. Tell me how it works. You know, that’s all basically they you know, they have this proximity switch and so that way if you turn certain amount, then the pulses and puts out you know pulses of water to turn the click. So even if you’d let go the throttle if it senses that the wheels you know that the steering is turned a pulse the water so that way you get a Little bit of thrust, so it can be able to turn at that point. Right? And so and so on. Yeah, like I worked with him quite a bit, you know, the different vendors, we worked on the claims. And so we found the application for it, you know, and then and what’s really cool, you know, cool invention. And then I didn’t really hear
Michael Renfro 30:19
because it’s also saving, I imagine that there’s people that lives are saved, because this because I mean, that’s the whole idea. The whole idea is to lower the liability of the product make it more enjoyable and less people get hurt, right, or possibly die.
Dan Ho 30:32
Right, exactly. So I thought was a really cool invention.
Michael Renfro 30:36
That’s, and then did you get any awards or anything like that, for that? Just add to
Dan Ho 30:42
that? Yeah, I know, that’s a couple. Government agencies are very interested in it. And so they were talking about saying, hey, you know, like, we might want to make this sort of standard, the Altet watercraft has to be able to turn, you know, even if you even when the throttle is like a little the throttle, right? And so and so, which really
Michael Renfro 31:00
makes sense. Like, I mean, people are used to doing that with boats forever, right? Because the wheels turn and
Dan Ho 31:08
you still turn and then it’s so yeah, there’s still turns because there’s a runner in the back. Right. Exactly. No. And so, so at the time, you know, like I left, you know, I left thing, law firm atmosphere, so I was no longer, you know, we had, I had a bunch of patents that issued for Artic Cat on this area. And then, you know, like, I know, there were some companies, you know, that contacted me, you know, because my name is on the pan.
Michael Renfro 31:38
You know, what, right, you’re part of that I was involved in terms of I get it. I just say, you know, I meant to tell you, Dan, I actually have a patent myself, but go okay.
Dan Ho 31:46
Right. So So yeah, so, so it lists the name of the law firm, but they look in the patent office, they know, the attorneys that work on this. And so we had, you know, so I had, like, different companies call me, you know, major companies? Oh, yeah. No, it’s awesome. You know, contact me saying, hey, you know, like, how do we get a license for this? You know, like,
Michael Renfro 32:07
I’m assuming you probably got some additional business due to that. Yeah. Not necessarily. I mean, like you as an attorney, maybe somebody’s using you for something I have to believe somebody use you for something. I mean, yeah, pretty. That’s, you know, excuse my French, but that’s a pretty badass thing. Because you, you took something that was a major problem and turned it around, you know, that’s not just spinning it that’s fixing it and making sure that less people get hurt, right. And I
Dan Ho 32:34
thought it was going allergy wise, I thought it was one of the cooler technology I worked on. But that soon after that, I, you know, like, basically any sort of, you’ll get you get to talk to somebody at our account, you know, for licenses. And I’m, you know,
Michael Renfro 32:48
I get it because you worked, okay, so you can only do so much. And you
Dan Ho 32:56
got to talk to them and get their approval, but it did give you notoriety. It’s all right. So I knew what some of the stuff that Arctic Cat was kind of thinking, you know, they’re, they’re thinking about, you know, saying that, hey, if we were to do this, and maybe we can package it something else, right. So I said, okay, that you can negotiate that with Artic Cat, you know, right. You know, I’m not the right person to negotiate this stuff. But then I was like I mentioned when I went and house and so I went to Accenture, Accenture, I went to Tata. You know, I’ll tell you what was that second one? Tata communications. Tata is an Indian company. I’m not. Yeah, a TA TA. So, you know, they’re pretty big. They’re like a GE kind of thing.
Michael Renfro 33:37
Okay. Just over in India. I get it. But that’s yeah. But there’s a billion people over there close to it. So right.
Dan Ho 33:45
I think they’re like, actually the largest company in India. Wow, I worked in their community, you know, the telecom, I was the chief IP counsel for the telecom group. I think that was when, you know, like, one of my previous partner called me and said, Oh, just like, you know, that that pen is being litigated now. You know, so they’re probably going to contact you. They I told him saying that, hey, this is, you know, you know, Dan is not working here anymore. Yes, go find him. You know, so they probably looked me up and found out that I was in house attorney didn’t want to get me involved or something like that. But then that pen actually was highly litigated and went up to like, the Federal Circuit for people. This isn’t a Federal Circuit, it’s kind of like our Supreme Court for the private groups. So went up there a couple of times, you know, it was you know, it also was, you know, basically, I think it was a one through P tab, which is the patent office, or, you know, pet the group of the patent office, which determined the validity of the patent now, and so I want to pee tab and they found out that you know, like that it was it was, you know, there’s a valid patent, and then there’s not you know, now there’s like a big thing with patents is like whether As a panel subject matter, Nussle went to that it passed that. And then And then also, they sued Bombardier on it. And that turned out to be, I don’t recall how much of damages were, I think is like close to $200 million of damages that they received from Bombardier for for that particular patent, you know, and so it was kind of fun in the sense that, you know, also, in addition to, you know, two things, looking at this, this what, the podcast, you know, I lecture at PLI, you know, quite a few times about that. And then during that time, there was like that pen actually came up a bunch of times.
Michael Renfro 35:36
Well, yeah, I would imagine.
Dan Ho 35:39
They use an example.
Michael Renfro 35:41
I mean, why wouldn’t you do? Some people want you there to hear and understand how you did that. So they can apply it? Well, actually, they
Dan Ho 35:49
didn’t know that I was an attorney that prosecuted it, I will certainly, I was actually to talking about some other cases. A couple of times, they bring up that case, because, you know, that case, also involved later on, you know, there’s a Western patent law, there’s, you know, if you were to license that pen to, to accompany that, you know, there should be a marking saying that it was, you know, that company has to mark saying that, you know, like, I licensed the patent, you know, for the, for this use for my product and stuff like that. So, it’s, it’s kinda it’s kind of like, you know, supposedly violating a patented product, right? It’s kind of like a disclosure. Really. Right. Exactly. And so, so there’s sold during that time, that’s like, last year, two years ago, you know, in addition, you know, went through its whole round of litigating whether there’s infringement, you know, whether the patent is valid. And then Then now, after it’s done there, bring up the defense pet Obama do is bring up the fence, they’ll say that it was, you know, it was licensed to Honda, you know, which I kind of knew that was gonna happen, because I spoke to Honda before, back when I wrote back when I was a law firm, we’re pressing this patent, but that was licensed to Honda. But then Honda did not put down that it was licensed, you know, it was a licensed pen. And so now, you know, they bring up that case, you know, so that, so that pen brought, you know, has a lot of a lot of intricate details that keep coming up. Whenever I
Michael Renfro 37:27
imagine that you’re gonna continue to see a few more over the next 10 years, I would imagine it
Dan Ho 37:32
could be more stuff coming out. Okay. So now it’s like, you know, it’s actually kind of interesting that, you know, that, you know, that I was wanting to bring Walter Original panel, from
Michael Renfro 37:42
the people with a history man. Right. So yeah,
Dan Ho 37:45
so it’s kinda interesting that I was like, I think at another PR conference, and somebody said, oh, you know, what, we actually had some, the guy that actually wrote this patent mentioned here, before that I was sitting there are actually I think I wasn’t a phone. That’s gonna be so yeah, that will Dan Ho. He’s on the phone right now.
Michael Renfro 38:07
That’s really cool, man. That’s really Yeah. So what are a few of your daily rituals that you find most important, like, an A typical day, give me like, you know, three of the things that you’re guaranteed if you want to get more, that’s fine. I’m just giving you kind of an idea. But you know, give me some of those things, like from the time you get up that you have to do that you feel like a part of your
Dan Ho 38:30
success? Oh, well, that’s an interesting question. Because I think it varies day to day, obviously, you know, and I’m sure you probably get, you probably hear that from a lot of people. I’m not sure if I have any, particularly ritual. I mean, I think I kind of go through something very similar to what most people do, right? You know, I kind of, you know, check my emails, you know, and I mean, on a day where there’s not much going on, not just check my emails, respond back to emails and things like that. And then, like, you mentioned about saying that it varies a lot, because, like, the type of work we do, right, so, you know, let’s say there’s something that’s urgent, you know, I know, I have to get up in the morning, and then I have to prepare, getting ready to look at this, or something like that, and get that out by the end of the day, and so on. So I just hurry up and do whatever I can and then get that work done. And same thing, you know, like, if, you know, like, I still do, litigation, not so much penalisation because I work for a smaller firm now, still to litigation in terms of breach of contract location, which which can be handled by like one or two attorneys. So do that kind of work and Sonia, like, you know, there’s times where I know how to prepare brief or get ready for a hearing or, or whatever like that. So so it kind of varies day to day, in terms of, you know, what my what, what a day Is because there really is no typical day I think no, I compiled for
Michael Renfro 40:05
attorney, I think there’s a part of your typical day is that it’s non typical.
Dan Ho 40:08
Right, exactly. No, it’s probably more typical when I was in house,
Michael Renfro 40:14
right? Because it was more of a nine to five.
Dan Ho 40:17
Exactly. There’s more of a typical day, there’s a lot of times, you know, we have like, set meetings that I would meet with people, you know, you know, I will look on my calendar saying that, hey, you know, like, for whatever 10 o’clock, you know, I’ve been meeting with the leader of this group to talk about what they’re doing. You know, I have just so there’s all these meetings, that’s pretty much set. And then yeah, like, obviously, there’s six exceptions, right? There’s, there’s the big man, and then you come up and takes the whole day. But But there’s more much more structured, I think, in a company, when I’m when I’m here, in a law firm, especially a small law firm that I met now, it’s just, you know, there is, like you said that, you know, there is no typical day, and then it depends on, you know, what’s going on, you know, I’m obviously every day, I have to check my email.
Michael Renfro 41:08
Right. So the, the, the only typical part is you check that email and then plan out your day. Right, exactly, exactly. Now I get it. So here, this is the last question just because we’re getting close on time here. So it’s a two parter. What I’m looking for is maybe one or two, if you have more, you can obviously name more than one. Who would you consider a mentor? And what would you consider the best piece of advice that they
Dan Ho 41:33
gave you? Oh, boy, that’s I would say, my all my mentor would be the person I started off my legal career with, you know, I’m not gonna say his name, but Bob Jambo where he was, yes, please
Michael Renfro 41:46
say his name. Yeah. So
Dan Ho 41:47
Bob Shambo, or he’s retired now, I believe, you know, we still keep in touch. You know, so I actually, you know, during my law firm career, you know, before I went to house, the I was at four different law firms. But actually, I was with him the whole time. You know, so So he, so he was, you know, so I started working with him, when I was, you know, at the original law firm, you know, which he was one of the name partners of the law firm. And then that law firm broke off. And so we had when we formed our own law firm, the two of us, so we had gambler and hole which took the two person law firm. And then later on, we joined Jenner and Block, which is a mega law firm. And, you know, we still kind of work together quite a bit, right. Even though I probably work more ungenerous clients, and then I did with his, then we went to light a void. And so the whole, my first full worked for law firms, which, you know, took over a little bit over 10 years. I mean, he was my mentor, and I worked with him during that whole time,
Michael Renfro 42:56
when you got to continue to work with him no matter what, like the situation just kept allowing. All right, continue to work together. Right. Exactly.
Dan Ho 43:05
Exactly. So. So we, yeah. So even though we, you know, move law firm to law firm during that time. I mean, for various reasons. You know, I mentioned about one time, it was basically, you know, the law firm was going to merge with a law firm. And then we decided, saying, hey, you know, we rather be on our own. So we did that, right. And we decided, saying, hey, now that it’s just too much work from one to two, now
Michael Renfro 43:32
it’s time to merge.
Dan Ho 43:34
Yeah, so, so that’s so that’s all, you know, like, so he was my mentor the whole time during that time? And I mean, there wasn’t a lot of things. You know, I think, um, you know, that, that he taught me that during that time, I mean, obviously, there’s the technical aspects of it. Right, as I came in, you know, as, you know, I worked as an engineer and never worked in a law firm before, you know, I mean, he taught you a lot of the ins and so being an attorney. Exactly. So actually, the things I remember when I just joined him, or joined his law firm, he told me say that, Hey, Daniel, that first two years, we’re not gonna make a dime off of you. You know, if anything, you’re going to cost us money during the first two years. Right? You know, what I think it’s, it’s, it’s very different than I would say, I’d saw at like a law or largest law firm, like Jenner Block, you know, right. throw you in there. They, they, they don’t, they’ve kind of mentor as much as they can. But then they have to put you have to bill your 2000
Michael Renfro 44:39
hours, right, but they want you to be productive and making money for the exact first year really, by the end of the first freaking quarter. You’re gonna show signs that you’re going to be a moneymaker for Right? Exactly.
Dan Ho 44:52
So many of you have, really, it doesn’t matter what you do, but you’re yet to build your hours so they can fill out that time. I, you know, so during that time, you know, when when I, I don’t want to say bad things about large law firm, but then I mean, it’s, you know, that’s,
Michael Renfro 45:09
it’s different than I mean, you really have like four different types of law firms from the single solitary solo practice all the way up to the giant mega practice.
Dan Ho 45:17
Right. Exactly. And so, so basically his point, which I think is true, I even to practice now is that, you know, it’s not so much the money, you know, it’s really providing good service for the client. And sometimes, sometimes, you know, you have to, like, not bill every second because, you know, like, basically, you know, agenda, you know, like, if I’m doing litigation, I billing pretty much every second I’m working, you know, I’m doing legal research, even if it’s a dead end, you know, if I spent five hours kind of trying to find something out, it’s a dead end, I’m still gonna go five hours for it, you know, right. From the jail, like that budget, though, right? It’s legit. I mean, it’s, it’s actually spent the time, but then his than his view, and then and so in terms of why, you know, Sam, saying that, hey, you know, we’re not going to make any money off of you first couple years. Because if you’re not that productive, we can cut your time. You know, right. And so, you know, if that’s something that should have took two hours of you were really efficient and found out what you have to be done in two hours, but you took a whole day doing it, we’re only going to build two hours, because the, you know, the client is going to come back and say, you know, why? The guy took eight hours to figure this out, or something like that, you know,
Michael Renfro 46:32
they’re not gonna be
Dan Ho 46:35
quite friendly, in terms of being at an atmosphere like that. And that’s the thing that, you know, I kind of carried over, which probably made me, you know, make less money than I could have when I was at Jenner Block, because, you know, some of the stuff I some time, I don’t know, my whole time, which, you know, they’re telling me to, but I’m going like, okay, no, I really, especially like, the clients that we brought over, you know, that who familiar with who I am, you know, it’s a relationship with a client, in a way, is sometimes much more important than just making money hours.
Michael Renfro 47:08
If I may, say, an intern, interject here, if you leave off a couple hours every week, to continue to have me for a client as 1020 years, what makes the most sense, because if you overbill me, or bill me when, you know, you really shouldn’t have like, morally, you know, it wasn’t right. Well, then obviously, I’m going to eventually catch on to that and feel offended. Right?
Dan Ho 47:30
Exactly. It’s not even morally right. Because I mean, morally, if I spent the people’s argument is, well, if he spent the time you should build for it, you know, right. And same thing, you know, but the thing is, like, you know, if you nickel and dime someone they can, like he said, Look, it’s it’s not gonna go somewhere, but they’re going to know that you nickel and dime, you know, like, basically, sometime they feel like attorneys, you know, we we write down what we did during that time. You know, you write down even sometime I know that we had some client back then that basically, you know, we billed for like paralegal time and stuff like that, you know, because we’re going like with a pair of paralegal, but then the paralegal might put down 15 minutes to docket something. And then, and then date, and then what, which is legit, but then the client might be like, oh, like, wait a minute, isn’t it your overhead, you know, like, why are you billing
Michael Renfro 48:22
when Where do you take some of the costs of running a business?
Dan Ho 48:25
Right now? So sometimes it’s a little, you know, so it’s basically, you know, you have to kind of look at it in terms of, is it more important to keep this client and keep them happy? Yes. You know, even though I might not make the instant gratification of being able to make a couple 100, a couple $1,000,
Michael Renfro 48:46
you know, well, to me, it’s just like you said, you’re not nickel and diming them. So you might lose a few dollars every month, but you’re keeping a client for 1020 years, that ultimately is going to be spending a lot more, and when you do need to build them properly, or you need to be like, Hey, we we spent a ton of time on this, and I can’t not bill you this time, they’re not going to have a problem with it either. Damn. Right, you do occasionally come and say, ma’am, we you know, and you know, just to give, for instance, like I would say, you know, something I would feel like comes from you would be like, Hey, we spent like 15 hours, I really want to believe that but I can’t believe anything less than 12. I mean, it’s just it’s what we did. Right? Exactly. Exactly, exactly. But that might be well over what they’re normally used to seeing, but they’re gonna be like, Hey, we understand. Thanks for giving us thanks for cutting us a break on the three hours, you know, right, exactly, exactly. Lifetime Customer. I consider customer loyalty, customer support, and how to keep a customer for life. Right. Right. So hey, thanks so much for your time today. Dan, I really appreciate you joining me because I will tell you this the same way that I tell all the people that I’ve really engaged well with, why don’t we think about you know, reaching out to you in about a year. or so and doing like a follow up and see how the firm is doing and how you’re doing and see where you’re at. never know what’s gonna happen between now and then. Right? Okay, great.
Dan Ho 50:09
Thank you, Michael, thank you again for us. Oh, thank
Michael Renfro 50:11
you, man, I really appreciate it. Li-Chung Daniel Ho. And let me just say the name of the game. I don’t have it in front of me here just for a moment. I’m gonna say it. It’s Resolute Legal is who? Right? So that’s the firm I’m at now. Yes, that’s the firm that just wanted to mention their name before we before I forgot to that one.
Dan Ho 50:28
Okay, great. Thank you so much for your time.
Michael Renfro 50:31
Thanks so much. And with that said, I will just sign off real quick by saying thanks, everyone for tuning in to, again, another episode of 15 minutes. Technically, the name of it is 15 Minutes, share your voice. And we heard Dan’s Voice today. And it was very cool, very interesting stories. And it’s very, I love how you know, everybody, and I’ll say this, Dan, I really believe that everybody has a piece of history, they just don’t realize, sometimes, you know, because we touch we touch everybody, and I believe in six degrees of separation. So, you know, even sometimes the people that think they’re not making a decision they they have, you know, I’ll give you just a real for instance, there had to be a lot of bad accidents, where the thing didn’t turn, while each one of those bad accidents had a piece of making you, the person who could have helping you excuse me, be able to create the pattern that needed to be in place. So, you know, think of it that way. That’s how it all works. So anyway, thank you so much, everyone for listening. We will be back again next week. And with that said, have a wonderful day.
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