• Name: Rory Brown
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Manchester
  • University: Manchester
  • Degree: PhD Physics
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Areas Of Specialism: Electronics

How did you get your job at Appleyard Lees?

I first became aware of Appleyard Lees while trying to find out more about the patent profession. I stumbled upon the trainee blogs and case studies on their Greenshoots website, and after a bit of reading decided to apply to an open position advertised on their website. The role sounded like a good fit for me, with the opportunity to do interesting work with a huge variety of different technologies.

I was invited for an interview, which was a challenging but interesting conversation about a technology I’d never seen before. After finding out I was successful at this stage I was invited to have a discussion with some of the partners I would be working with. I was offered the position from there, and here I am one year later!

Why did you choose Appleyard Lees?

Appleyard Lees seemed like the right place for me from the get-go. The application process went very smoothly, and everyone involved was friendly and approachable from my initial application through to the interview and meeting with partners. I could tell I’d made the right decision when, even before my official start date, I was invited to a social event to get to know everyone in the office before joining. The team was very helpful and went out of their way to make sure I could hit the ground running, which I appreciated.

What is it like working at Appleyard Lees?

The work is challenging, interesting and varied. In one day you could be meeting clients or working on cases involving completely different inventions, which keeps things engaging and means you never feel like you’re not learning something!

Appleyard Lees is an incredibly open and supportive firm, with colleagues who are always willing to go above and beyond to help if you’re ever stuck. It’s nice knowing that you can have a chat with people both inside and outside your team if you’re looking for advice or have a question.

What are your main duties/roles in your current position?

My work depends on what our clients need on any given day. They might need advice putting together their IP portfolio, dissecting a technology and trying to identify the important inventive parts, or they might have already started a patent application and need you to argue the case for it. We see inventions and applications at every stage of the patent lifecycle, and it’s very rewarding being able to both help clients get the process up and running and to finally see their application get granted.

I’ve also been involved in business development and marketing projects, which have involved deep dives into future areas of technology. It’s always fun digging through data to try to identify potentially interesting sectors, and helps us stay ahead of the curve and up-to-date with current trends. It’s a bonus that Appleyard Lees have been flexible and encouraged me to get involved in these projects, as it has allowed me to try something new that wouldn’t usually fall under the job description.

What challenges have you come across and what support have you received?

The biggest challenge might have been learning where to start! There’s a lot to learn, and figuring out where to look for answers to different questions has saved a lot of time and effort. Luckily the team is always there to help out if I can’t figure something out for myself! Once you have that, getting used to thinking and writing like a patent attorney and using an appropriate style comes with practice.

The next challenge is the upcoming exams. Appleyard Lees have provided in-house tutorials and practice sessions, and attorneys have kindly taken it upon themselves to lead independent trainee study groups. I feel very well supported in my exam preparation.

What skills have you found to be particularly useful in this sector/profession?

Communication skills are key and come in useful when working with members of your team, writing reports for IP offices or providing feedback to clients. It’s important that you can quickly get an understanding of subject matter that you’ve never encountered before, but you also need to be able to get your points across accurately and convincingly so that you can best advise and argue for your clients. Time management and the ability to juggle different priorities is also extremely useful.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to work at Appleyard Lees?

Feel free to reach out for a chat! There will certainly be someone up for answering any questions if you’re interested in finding out more about the career or the firm. Talking to current trainees was a huge help for me, and it can help give you a better feel for whether it’s the right job and firm for you.

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