• Name: Amy Cole-King
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Birmingham
  • University: Nottingham
  • Degree: MSci Physics

Why did you choose a job in this profession?

I chose to become a trainee patent attorney because it appeared to combine my interest in physics and technology with writing and communication. This profession allows me to use my scientific knowledge daily, engaging with cutting-edge technologies and innovations. Throughout the day, my brain is continuously engaged, whether I am understanding how new inventions work or deciding how best to protect those inventions. The continuous need for critical thinking keeps the work exciting and dynamic. The challenge of understanding complex technical concepts and translating them in a clear and concise way is also what I really enjoy about my work.

I additionally appreciate the variety of work this profession offers. I get to explore so many different areas of technology, each bringing unique challenges and learning opportunities. This diversity not only keeps my work interesting but also allows me to expand my knowledge across different fields.

What are your main duties?

A significant part of my role involves patent prosecution work, which includes formulating arguments in response to objections raised by patent examiners. However, my role is varied and includes other major parts, such as drafting patent applications and discussing inventions with inventors to understand the details of their innovations.

The type of clients I am able to work with at Barker Brettell is also diverse, from large multinational companies to smaller UK based clients and startups. I also have the opportunity to work and communicate with patent attorneys and clients across the world. Working with many different types of clients allows me to gain further insight into the commercial side of patent law. It’s not just about protecting a company’s inventions, but also about tailoring strategies to align with their specific business goals. This aspect of the job allows me to contribute meaningfully to a company’s success and adds another layer of satisfaction to my work.

One of the best aspects of the job is the problem-solving involved. In nearly every part of my work, I am tasked with finding creative ways to present and argue for the inventions I’m working on. Creatively balancing a client’s expectations with what is legally possible is a significant part of the role.

Being a trainee patent attorney also includes business development and marketing. This means attending events and conferences and meeting new people from different industries. However, one of the most important roles of a trainee, if not the most important, is to learn and develop new skills. This is essential not only for passing the many exams required, but also for ensuring that you are well-prepared to excel as a qualified patent attorney.

How did you get your job at Barker Brettell?

I have a master’s degree in physics, which provided me with a strong foundation in scientific principles and an ability to understand complex technical concepts—skills that are essential for every patent attorney.

To apply for the role, I submitted a CV and cover letter highlighting my technical background and any relevant skills and experience. I was then invited to participate in a two-stage interview process. These interviews assessed my technical knowledge as well as my ability to communicate and my fit within the firm.

What was the application process like – any advice?

The application process at Barker Brettell was both thorough and personable. During the interviews, much of the focus was on my willingness to learn and my ability to quickly pick up difficult concepts, this being crucial for a trainee patent attorney. The interviewers were interested in my problem-solving skills and how I communicate complex ideas. But what stood out to me was the emphasis on getting to know me as a person. They wanted to see if I would be a good fit for the firm and if the firm would be a good fit for me. This approach really showed me the friendly and supportive culture of Barker Brettell.

My advice is to ensure your CV clearly demonstrates your technical expertise and academic achievements. Emphasize your ability to quickly understand and adapt to new information, and your ability to communicate this information clearly. Use the interviews as an opportunity to learn about the firm and the team you might be working with. This shows your interest and helps you assess if the firm is the right fit for you. Be yourself and show your enthusiasm for the role.

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