• Name: Phoebe Hunter
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Liverpool
  • University: Liverpool
  • Degree: Physics
  • Areas of Specialism: Physics

I studied for my Physics BSc degree at the University of Liverpool and in my final year, I decided that I was ready to start building my career. I was attracted to the job of a patent attorney because it presents the opportunity to make use of my physics degree in combination with preparing written documents. After interviewing with various firms, I was offered a position as a trainee patent attorney.

A typical week in the life of a trainee patent attorney involves spending a large amount of time reading documents containing technical information and preparing written arguments based on technical and legal understanding.

When drafting a patent application, my time is spent reviewing information about an invention and deciding on the appropriate language to use to describe the invention. This involves making a judgement as to which wording best describes the invention and covers the interests of your client. It’s a skill that I have developed since I started in the profession and still have further to go!

During prosecution of a patent application, I usually work on preparing letters to the patent office. As part of this, I spend time reviewing documents that have been cited as being relevant to the patent application I am working on. Generally, the aim is to identify the differences between the cited documents and the patent application and to present arguments as to why the differences are technically advantageous. This requires the ability to understand how different technologies work to be able to compare them to each other. At Hindles, I can work on a variety of different technologies, which means that I am developing my technical understanding in a number of different technical fields and also dealing with a variety of objections.

Another aspect of life as a trainee patent attorney is sitting exams. Although the exam period is only once or twice a year, revision can take up lots of your free time outside of work for the months before the exams. The qualified attorneys at Hindles are happy to spend time explaining aspects of the law to help with passing exams, but also provide valuable advice on practicalities of doing the job, such as working with clients.

I would suggest that if you enjoy the challenge of finding solutions to complex problems and providing well-reasoned support for your decisions, then this could be the career for you!

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