I have always been interested in science and inventions and also enjoy a good, well-reasoned argument! Luckily, a career as a patent attorney has allowed me to develop these interests.
After completing my foundation training in a small firm, I made the switch to Marks & Clerk, one of the UK’s largest Intellectual Property firms. This has enabled me to develop specialist skills, for example, as an expert in design protection, as well providing me with the opportunity to live and work in Singapore for several years.
Now that I am back in the UK, I manage a practice and multi-location team, which spans many areas of technology including medical devices, security systems, sensors and software.
Why did you choose a career in the industry?
When I graduated I wanted to be an industrial scientist working at the forefront of technology, making my own inventions. I was aware of the value of patents to businesses through my research work. I joined a research group at a multinational telecommunications company, tasked with designing around a competitor’s patent. Although I enjoyed my time in industry, I discovered I would rather understand just enough about how a lot of different things work, rather than the intricate details of a single specialised device. I decided that a career as a patent attorney would satisfy my desire for varied technical insight, and provide a great opportunity to develop other skills.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have always enjoyed meeting inventors and learning about new technologies. However, what I enjoy most is the teamwork. I am a team leader for several clients and enjoy nurturing more junior members in client and practice management.
I particularly enjoy training others in intellectual property, whether that be colleagues, clients or prospects. I also enjoy having the opportunity to develop the business in line with our strategic objectives.
I am a passionate advocate of design rights, which are often neglected in favour of patents and trade marks.
Consequently, I take an active role in promoting design rights and enjoy exploring the interplay between different types of intellectual property rights.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
As a partner, I aim to develop the business on multiple levels, to strengthen our position in the marketplace, whilst continuing to develop my client practice and team.
My next career goal will be to aim for partnership in the international business of Marks & Clerk, and to make a contribution on a global scale. I feel that my experience of working for Marks & Clerk in Singapore and the UK gives me a useful insight into how businesses operate in different countries and I would like to develop our service offerings with this in mind.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?
It’s important that you research the profession and are confident that you have the skills and aptitude to be successful. Unlike some professions, being a patent attorney is a long term commitment: if you are suited to the job it’s likely you will enjoy a long, challenging and rewarding career. However, entry into the patent profession is extremely competitive. In order to secure an interview you will need to demonstrate more than just a solid academic record. Although not essential, in many instances, candidates will have completed post-graduate studies such as PhDs or, like myself, will have spent time working in industry.
What’s critical is that you have a well-rounded CV and can demonstrate you have the right characteristics to be a competent patent attorney. Clear, concise communication skills are essential; meticulous attention to detail and excellent time management skills are also required. We look for candidates who will work well within our teams so it is important to be personable during the interview process.