I decided to apply for a position as a trainee patent attorney after a PhD and three years of working in research project management. During this time, I had realised that what I truly enjoyed was dealing with the technical side of science, and a career as a patent attorney seemed to fit this remit.
In the application process, my initial thoughts on HGF were that the company appeared to be very modern and forward thinking. I have worked here for three years now and I still believe this to be the case. For example, HGF have developed a set of “Values”, which represent the culture of the firm. In addition, the company is keen to promote the IP Inclusive initiative, which aims to improve equality and diversity inclusion within the IP community. HGF also promotes a range of support mechanisms for mental health at work.
As a trainee at HGF, there is a lot of variation in my role. This has enabled me to gain experience in many different aspects of the job including assessing the patentability of new inventions, prosecution, and preparing or responding to opposition statements. I often attend client meetings to learn about their inventions for drafting new patent applications. In addition, I was fortunate to be able to attend Oral Proceedings for an Opposition in The Hague.
At first, there is a steep learning curve. There are a number of new and very different skills to learn including the ability to read and digest lots of information quickly. The law is initially overwhelming but does click into place. My colleagues at HGF have been really very supportive and patient in providing feedback on how to improve my work, which has been very useful for preparing for the final exams. However, there is no pressure to qualify as soon as possible. There is a training budget that you can use to prepare for the exams at your own pace.
In summary, working at HGF as a trainee patent attorney is challenging but ultimately rewarding. It is refreshing to work at a company with a positive culture that encourages learning from one another. I look forward to qualifying in the next year or two and to the new challenges that being a qualified attorney will bring!