• Name: Lois Scarth
  • Job Title: Technical Assistant
  • Location: London
  • University: York
  • Degree: MChem with a Year in Industry
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Areas Of Specialism: Chemistry
Brand Murray Fuller

Why did you choose a job in this sector/profession?

During my undergraduate degree, I realised that a career in academia was not for me as I did not want to focus on a narrow area within a specialised field. While a career in the laboratory also did not appeal to me, through my work I came to understand the importance of patents.

After researching the profession and gaining experience as an IP assistant in an industrial company, I decided to pursue a career as a patent attorney, and it has not disappointed.

The profession provides variety, both in daily activities and technological areas, and you are constantly exposed to innovative, cutting-edge technology. For example, I may be working on an anti-cancer drug one day, an industrial antioxidant on the next, and the next on a process for converting household waste into aviation fuel.

What are your main duties/roles?

As a trainee, you are not expected to know how to do everything, and training is largely on the job. I work directly with different partners and senior associates, which has exposed me to a wide variety of patent related work and technical areas, but also to differing styles of work, which is an enjoyable challenge, and I am constantly learning.

Primarily, my work revolves around patent prosecution. This involves a wide array of tasks ranging from drafting a patent application, writing a letter to a client to advise them on a strategic course of action, writing letters to patent examiners responding to their objections, or instructing foreign attorneys on how to proceed.

Additionally, the exposure to clients early on as a trainee helps to build client relationships and develop an understanding of their business, with commercial context continuously being considered during patent prosecution.

What skills are useful in this sector/profession?

Both time and project management skills are vital for being a patent attorney. The job is extremely deadline driven and it is likely that you will be responsible for multiple different cases, for multiple different clients, at the same time. Therefore, being able to manage your workload and prioritise work accordingly is very important – missing a deadline can have
serious consequences!

Time management is not only important in the day-to-day job of being a patent attorney, but also when preparing for the qualifying examinations, which are challenging. Preparing for the examinations whilst working may seem daunting, but Brand Murray Fuller provides lots of support and guidance.

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