I have always found science immensely interesting on paper but practical work repetitive and unrewarding. I wanted a job where I could use my knowledge of chemistry every day in a role that is commercially important and intellectually stimulating. After hearing about the patent profession I quickly realised that I enjoyed using the skills that are indispensable to being a patent attorney; being technically minded and having an eye for detail.
After starting work as a Trainee Patent Attorney, there’s a steep learning curve and a lot to learn. The partners at Carpmaels & Ransford have helped to smooth this transition by setting up an excellent training programme. In my first year I attended in-house tutorials and lectures on a variety of IP-related topics and this training has continued with a bespoke series of intermediate level tutorials.
A lot of the learning is on the job, and very quickly I became used to dealing with clients and handling a variety of work. A particularly demanding aspect of the job is learning how to manage my time effectively. Good organisation and effective prioritisation is essential to ensure that everything goes according to plan. Being organised also means that my role as a patent trainee is generally a 9-5 job. Occasionally, I have had to work late when an important deadline is coming up. However, there is a lot of freedom to manage my own workload and independently find out what works best for me.
As a trainee I feel really appreciated for what I bring to the firm and I am involved in projects that I didn’t expect to take part in until I was more experienced. One of the most interesting was an investigation for a major pharmaceutical company that wanted us to assess the patentability of a new class of compounds that they were considering buying the rights to. I enjoyed delving into the science involved and learning about the commercial aspects which have to be taken into account by our client.
My next goal is to qualify as a UK and European patent attorney. One of the first steps was to attend the intellectual property law certificate course at Queen Mary University, which I was thrilled to pass. The friendly atmosphere at Carpmaels, where everyone is encouraged to bounce ideas off one another and ask a lot of questions, should make the qualification process a lot more manageable.