• Name: Owen Murray
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Nottingham
  • Degree: Physics
  • Areas of Specialism: Physics

Why Patent Law?

Having studied my Master’s degree in physics at Nottingham I spent most of my time thinking I would end up in academic research. With this in mind I took the opportunity to begin a PhD jointly between Nottingham and Birmingham. It was not long, however, before I would identify the differences between my aspirations and the reality of academic life. I had concocted an idea that research would involve spending my time working on many different, interesting things. This is far from the truth. Instead, I would most likely spend the rest of my career working in a narrow field around the topic of my PhD. This changed everything. I quickly understood this was not for me and had to think about what I really wanted.

Before I decided to leave my PhD I had never considered patent law. I obviously had some knowledge of what patents were, but this was built only on brief references. From talking to other PhD students I found out that a patent law was a popular career path for physicists. You are often told that studying physics will equip you with the skills required for many professions but in practice it can remain a daunting thought. I decided to have a look in more detail and it was not long before I realised that patent law offered me exactly what I had been looking for.

Why AA Thornton?

Having worked at AA Thornton for a few years now, I have no regrets in my decision. I have had the opportunity to work on many different inventions, in a wide variety of fields. Currently I handle prosecution of cases in a number of countries but have also drafted a number of patent applications and worked with the firm’s litigation experts. The variety of work, collaborative working and educational support offered to me at AA Thornton, along with great people, have greatly assisted me in continuing to expand my learning and improve my confidence for the numerous exams required before qualifying.

Any advice for someone wanting to train as a patent attorney?

The huge variety of work and subject matter available in the profession means that nothing gets stale, there is so much to learn, and my job continues to be extremely enjoyable. I recommend researching the firms that will provide you the most support and great training. Despite what may appear a daunting path, I have not looked back and continue to benefit from the decision I made.

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