Why did you choose a job in this profession?
I decided to pursue a job within patent law primarily as it provides the rare opportunity to learn about the latest scientific developments across a broad range of topics. The nature of academia is such that I would have to become a specialist within a narrow subject area, and as I did not want to limit myself in such a manner, patent law was the perfect fit.
What was the application process like?
The application process at BB was, in my opinion, far superior to the application processes I experienced at other firms and was indicative of the friendly atmosphere we have here. The application process, like almost every other firm, began by submitting my CV and covering letter, but the second stage was significantly different. Whilst most firms tend to hold video interviews, I was invited to the office for a face-to-face interview. About a week later, I was invited back for a second interview, where I had to give a presentation and had to complete a short written task. A few days later I received a phone call where I was offered the job. The whole process was very smooth and enjoyable.
What are your main duties?
I have a variety of different day to day jobs, but some of the most common include preparing responses to office actions, reading through prior art, reducing claim sets down to 15 (for EPO practice to avoid the claims fees), and drafting patent specifications (with assistance from more experienced attorneys). I have also been lucky at this early stage in my career to have been involved with an IP audit and due diligence projects.
What skills are useful in this profession?
Some of the most important skills in my opinion are the ability to keep to deadlines, demonstrate a high attention to detail, and to be able to think critically. Deadlines are everywhere in patent law, and if you don’t stick to them ultimately it may result in the lapse of your patent or patent application (as well as potentially the loss of your client). As for a high attention to detail, read the case on catastrophic comma loss (T 1473/19) and this will become evident! Finally, the ability to think critically is vital, as being able to construct effective arguments is a staple part of the day-to-day life of a good patent attorney.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?
- Do not be disheartened if your applications keep getting rejected! Ask for feedback, act on it, and keep going! You only need one offer.
- Take every opportunity available to get to know people within the profession. In general, the professionals within the industry know the difficulties of the application process and will be very happy to jump on a call if you ask nicely.
- Practice briefly describing everyday objects, and how they work. Interviewers love asking these kinds of questions, and practice will help you be prepared.