My PhD was in image analysis, data analysis and statistics and involved a lot of computer coding. I liked the science and maths side of academia, but I found coding day after day a bit isolating. After finishing, I moved into industry and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to run a start-up company for a year which opened my eyes to the importance of intellectual property in business. A single patent can literally be life-or-death for a start-up and larger companies often depend on their patent portfolios to generate revenue and maintain their market share. A career in intellectual property therefore combines cutting edge science and technology with business strategy and this can be genuinely exciting.
I have been working at Haseltine Lake since January 2014 in the Bristol-based Electronics team. There are a lot of good things about working here. Haseltine Lake is one of the larger firms which means we get trained by some of the best attorneys in the business and work for some of the most interesting multi-national companies. There is a strong emphasis on providing the highest quality work and client care and this filters down into everything we do.
Haseltine Lake has a comprehensive introductory program known as ‘HL Academy’. In the first few months, trainees spend about 40% of their time on dedicated in-house training days that combine lectures and practical sessions. As well as covering the main aspects of the job, these sessions also cover wider topics such as finance and client care. This gives a broad overview of the business which helps people to settle in and quickly get up to speed. There are also dedicated training days and tutorials for each of the patent exams. I am not aware of another firm which offers such a comprehensive training program.
As well as promoting a strong work ethic, Haseltine Lake provides a good work/life balance with regular working hours and good benefits. There is a real feeling of comradery in the office too bought about by all the social activities. In the last year alone there has been a boat (and booze!) trip, a day out in London with our London colleagues and Chinese takeaway in the office for Chinese New Year. If that wasn’t enough, then monthly pub trips, cake days and beers on the balcony (London office only) has to make Haseltine Lake one of the more fun places to work!
Training to be a patent attorney is hard work, but the job is varied and rewarding and provides a great opportunity to stay in science whilst also getting out of the lab.