• Name: Alessandro Giovannone
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Bath
  • University: Bath
  • Degree: Biochemistry
  • Areas of Specialism: Chemistry

Why did you pursue a career in this profession?

I wanted to work with science, but escape the drudgery of lab work. Working as a patent attorney offers a nice overlap between science, law and business. The work is challenging, but not overly burdensome and the remuneration and benefits are well above average. Although getting into the profession is very competitive, once you are in, there are strong opportunities for career progression and movement within the industry.

What did you do before becoming a patent attorney?

I have a 1st class undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and an MSc in Health Data Science. I undertook a placement year as a research analyst at the Walt Disney Company, and spent two summers as a lab assistant at an international research institute in Israel. I also worked in the systems engineering department of a medical devices company for a year.

What does your current role involve?

The job boils down to lots of reading, writing and thinking. You will be tested on your ability to write advice to clients and respond to communications from the patent office clearly and concisely. You will need to get your head around the essence of the inventions you are working on, and come up with sensible arguments in response to objections from the patent office. You will need patience to read all the relevant documents on a case before making a start on the task in hand.

What are your future plans?

I will complete the postgraduate certificate in IP Law at Queen Mary University this year and I hope to pass my final exams in the next few years. I might like to spend some time working in-house too at some point. Once I qualify, I might investigate becoming an IP litigator and advocate and get more involved in the contentious sides of patent prosecution.

Any advice?

It is extremely competitive to get a position as a trainee patent attorney. You should not be expected to know any patent law when applying. The job is generally 9-5, but some firms have higher expectations, and working as a senior attorney anywhere will demand more of your time. You will get some support from your employer with regards to the exams, but you will be expected to prepare for these largely in your own time. The exams are tough and it is common to fail at least one.

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