The annual November 11 observance of Veteran’s Day—a day dedicated to honor and recognize the men and women who served the United States in the Armed Forces—holds a place of veneration for Paul Ratzmann, a registered patent attorney at Troy-based Fishman Stewart and proud veteran of the United States Army. While reflecting on this year’s theme, “Honoring All Who Served,” and the centennial observance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 2021, Ratzmann values the central role the military has had in shaping his career.
“Without question, serving in the military was the best thing I have done from a career perspective,” Ratzmann said. “I go through life filled with a great sense of accomplishment, which I largely attribute to my start in the military.”
Ratzmann served in the Military Police from 1983 to 1986 where he was stationed for two years in Panama, which included three deployments to Honduras, before finishing out his service in Virginia. Now an accomplished attorney, a career in intellectual property law wasn’t initially on Ratzmann’s radar.
“Like many who enter into active duty, I joined the Army with an eye toward college through its educational program, which was my ultimate goal.”
Though Ratzmann didn’t have a clear idea of where his education and experience would lead him, he was driven to succeed, carving out time while in the service to study basic math subjects. After getting out of the Army, he went on to pursue both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering at University of Wisconsin – Madison. From Madison, he went south to Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois to work as a research engineer.
After Fermilab, Ratzmann went on to GE Healthcare to work in product development, where he obtained 11 patents of his own. It was his experience there that sparked his interest in becoming a patent attorney. With a wife and two kids at home, plus a full-time job, Ratzmann pursued his law degree in the evening, and after a few busy years, obtained his Juris Doctor from Marquette University in 2004. He started out his law career with a small patent boutique firm, before ultimately coming to Fishman Stewart in 2012. Today, Ratzmann’s practice focuses on managing various legal aspects of intellectual property matters for Fishman Stewart clients including domestic and foreign patent prosecution, due diligence, opinions, and design-around.
As an expression of gratitude for the experiences the military provided him, Ratzmann has given back to fellow service members as a mentor with the Special Operators Transition Foundation, formerly known as Your Grateful Nation (YGN), which is committed to helping Special Operation Forces (SOF) veterans transition from the military into their next successful career.
“In working with Special Operators Transition Foundation, I feel a tremendous sense of honor and respect when I’m able to give back to those who held roles that I looked up to during my time in the service,” Ratzmann said. “It’s gratifying to know my contribution has come full circle.”