After spending 4 years studying an MEng in Civil Engineering, followed by 3 years in industry, I was beginning to get tired of designing concrete things. I knew I had great transferrable skills that I’d picked up during University and then working in industry, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to apply them to. So I ran through every job from A-Z on a popular careers website, shortlisting the role of a patent attorney amongst others. I reached out to a friend-of-a-friend in the industry via LinkedIn. A positive phone call led me to IP-Careers, which led me to an interview and the role I’m in now with HGF!
Given the nature of my role within the Engineering team, a typical day has me working on multiple cases, across a range of industries for a range of clients. In the morning I could be working on a new product for the baby market, by lunch an infusion device, and the afternoon a concrete anchor (I will never escape concrete things). On these cases I could generally be employing my technical writing skills in drafting the patent application itself, or crafting arguments to prove to an examiner that my client’s patent application is new and unique compared to another.
Death, taxes, and exams? Like any professional career, examinations are largely inevitable, as a patent attorney there are multiple examinations to take to become a qualified UK/European patent attorney. I’m looking forward to easing myself into these examinations by first completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Intellectual Property – a postgraduate course where there’s the opportunity to learn with other trainee patent attorneys. The training for these examinations is completed in a combination of day-to-day or ‘on-the-job’ training, self-study and external training courses.
For any engineers out there, looking for something new, this job may not seem like the obvious choice after spending years designing, building or inspecting concrete things. However, I’d argue that the ability of engineers to efficiently understand problems, to interface with different professions and undertake technical writing makes you particularly suited to this career. My final piece of advice is that once you have read this directory, to reach out to someone within the industry via a phone or video call. Being able to find answers to the questions you have will be invaluable in determining whether this career is right for you!