Ward Parkinson, Class of 1997
Patent lawyer and entrepreneur
Ward Parkinson is the founder, Vice President and member of the Board of Directors of Ovonyx, Inc., a technology company that develops and optimizes manufacturing processes and PCM device structures that are compatible with existing commercial memory products. He has more than twenty years of experience in the IC memory business and is the author of numerous patents in the field of microelectronics. Prior to co-founding Ovonyx, he was a co-founder of Micron Technology, Inc., where he served as its initial Chairman and CEO from 1978 until 1989, including through its initial public offering in 1984. Also a licensed attorney, Parkinson served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Canyon County, Idaho after finishing law school. He established and funded the Boise River Trail Foundation that built extensive bicycle sections and bridges along the Boise River and serves on the Board of Overseers for Chicago-Kent, the board of Blue Cross of Idaho and the engineering board of Utah State University.
Why did you choose Chicago-Kent?
Chicago-Kent was focused on not just the normal course work, but also the computer survey and patents; things that I was interested in.
What were you like as a law student?
I was very into studying, pretty much alone. My brother, who was a professor, told me to study on my own. Also to know that I was to know I was the most prepared for a course where I had the shortest set of notes because that meant it was boiled down. Law review was very special because we got to review the works of others, do the proofreading, and hustle around Chicago to verify sources. It just taught us the thoroughness that goes into a complete set of work.
What advice would you give to young attorneys just starting out today?
I would say: forget what your grades were in law school. They open the door to your job, but just know that you’re most important to your clients if they can come to know and trust you. Understand what you can do to best assist them. Stay very loyal to those who get with you first.
What was your experience with the Intellectual Property program?
I had a wonderful experience with the Intellectual Property program at Chicago-Kent. I took 4 courses in the area. It was a real advantage. The courses were very thorough and exactly what I was looking for. They were taught by very experience practitioners who were very dedicated to us. After that set of courses, I was able to pass the patent bar exam and practice immediately after graduation.
What does your future hold?
For me the future certainly includes a lot of legal work- patent work and integrated circuit design. I enjoy doing the design to help protect intellectual property.