Why did you choose to become a Patent Attorney?
I studied Aeronautical Engineering at university and spent several enjoyable years working in the industry. After some time, I felt the desire for exposure to a wider variety of technology, beyond what my engineering role provided. My university and industry experience provided me with an appreciation for intellectual property and therefore a career as a Patent Attorney piqued my interest.
A career as a Patent Attorney presents the unique challenge of developing intellectual property law knowledge, while applying the core technical expertise I gained at university to new and exciting inventions. The opportunity to work with an array of pioneering technology, invented by clients ranging from budding individual entrepreneurs to international corporations, creates a role which I find hugely rewarding.
What does a normal working week look like?
In a typical week, the bulk of the work on my desk may involve drafting patent applications, responding to examination reports from patent offices and performing other tasks to support clients’ intellectual property portfolios.
Drafting a patent application involves first understanding a client’s disclosure, sometimes through detailed discussions with the inventor. I find that extracting the “essence” of the invention from the client’s disclosure can require some creative thinking, because the specific features which make an idea inventive may not be immediately obvious. When writing the application, I take time to accurately describe the invention and explain its patentability. Therefore, drafting is often an iterative process.
When handling an examination report, I start by familiarising myself with the invention and doing some further research if required. I then review the objections raised and any relevant documents cited. Following this assessment, I prepare arguments to support the patentability of the client’s invention, which often involves explaining why the invention is inventive over any cited existing technology. In some scenarios, I may also make amendments to the patent application.
Aside from these responsibilities, I also handle various day-to-day tasks related to managing clients’ intellectual property portfolios. This may involve communicating with patent offices and overseas attorneys to address queries or coordinate international patent applications.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?
Embrace the opportunity to continuously learn and adapt. As a Patent Attorney you will often encounter technologies you aren’t fully acquainted with, but this presents a chance for growth and development. You will have developed a strong set of core technical skills and learning how to apply these skills to decipher new concepts will put you in a position to make the most of your degree and experience.
It’s also important to get a good feel for the job. Do some research, reach out to someone in the profession, and maybe even skim through a few patent specifications. My career in patent law looks different to the career I would have had in engineering, so I was sure to understand what I was signing up for.
Finally, triple check your CV and application, and then read it again the next day. Clear writing skills and a keen attention to detail are key attributes of a Patent Attorney. Your job application is your first chance to demonstrate this!
What is it like to work at Forresters?
Since day one my colleagues at Forresters have been welcoming, helpful and supportive. My manager shares valuable guidance and does a great job of tasking me with a diverse range of work, both from a technical and legal perspective. As a result, I find my work rewarding and feel that I am growing in my role.