• Name: Erica Thake
  • Job Title: Technical Assistant
  • Location: Oxford
  • University: Durham
  • Degree: BSc Physics
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Areas Of Specialism: Physics

I first became interested in the patent profession when I was investigating pursuing a career in the legal sector in my final year at university. Working with patents was immediately appealing to me as it combined law with technology and science.

After attending a first interview in London and a second interview in Oxford, I was very pleased to be offered a job as a Technical Assistant in Dehns’ Oxford office. I was particularly impressed by the friendliness of all of the Partners and Associates who interviewed me.

In my current position as a Technical Assistant, I work directly with a variety of Partners and Associates on a number of Physics, Electronics and Engineering cases. Some of this work will involve reading relevant documents and summarising these to clients. I can also regularly be found drafting letters to patent offices or agents addressing objections raised on a client’s application. It is always a satisfying moment when you manage to convince an Examiner that an objection is unfounded!

One of the favourite parts of my job is being involved in drafting new patent applications. This can involve getting to meet clients face-to-face to discuss their latest innovations. These meetings can be particularly exciting when new ideas come out of the meeting as a result of the discussions. It is also an excellent opportunity to get a better understanding of a client’s technology.

From my time so far as a Technical Assistant, I have learnt the importance of being able to write clearly for different audiences. For example, I have learnt that whilst it may be appropriate to write a letter to a client containing high level technical details about their invention, when you are communicating with a foreign attorney who may be working off a rough translation, it is important to avoid complex and unnecessary language. Another skill that has been useful to me is time-management. Working as a Technical Assistant involves having to deal with relatively constant deadlines, therefore it is important to learn quickly how to prioritise your work based on urgency and how you work most efficiently.

Dehns is a very friendly and supportive firm to work for. The great attitude and warmth of everyone I work with is something I am still very thankful for.

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