• Name: Sarah Abou-Shehada
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Cambridge
  • University: Bath
  • Degree: Chemistry; Sustainable Chemical Technologies
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Areas Of Specialism: Technology
Appleyard Lees

Why did you choose Appleyard Lees?

As a lateral hire, I had enough experience to set out a specific set of criteria that I was looking for in a potential employer. Not all patent and trademark law firms are the same. It depends on what you are looking for. I was looking for a firm that was forward-thinking, which has a collegiate culture; a place where I felt that diversity in competencies were encourage and nurtured. I would certainly say that that is the case with Appleyard Lees. From my review of the firm, and now my own experience, I recognise a firm that provides high calibre training that also nurtures the strengths of the individual.

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

My day to day work involves tasks given to me by several partners across the Leeds and Manchester offices. These tasks vary depending on the work that they have at the time, but most of the work involves the prosecution of patents at various intellectual property offices around the world. These tasks not only include responding to examination and search reports issued by the various intellectual property offices, but also communicating those reports to our clients. Communicating with clients is a crucial part of the job. You need to be adept at communicating with clients in a manner that is clear enough to allow them to come to a decision on how they would want to proceed with their applications, based on the advice we provide. Another area in Patent Law that I have been fortunate to work in is opposing patents at the European Patent office (in fact, this is an area of Patent Law I thoroughly enjoy!). Opposing a patent is the exact opposite of prosecuting an application. Whereas with the latter you are arguing to convince a patent office that the technology of the application is patentable, the former case requires convincing the patent office of the exact opposite! Beyond the day to day job, I am also involved with business development and marketing projects, which I also find very interesting.

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

Having undertaken a Masters and PhD in a multidisciplinary subject, I had to be able to absorb and understand new areas of technology quite quickly. I have found that this skill has been extremely useful in my day-to-day job as a trainee patent attorney. This is because I work on a diverse range of technology areas, which I need to have a solid grasp of in order to effectively prosecute patent applications in those diverse technical fields.

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