• Name: Rebecca Douglas
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Edinburgh
  • University: Glasgow
  • Degree: Ph. D. Physics
  • Areas of Specialism: Technology

I started studying for my M.Sci. in Physics at the University of Glasgow in 2007, choosing physics because I liked learning how things worked. I also liked research, making a Ph.D. an obvious choice. After my Ph.D. and a year in postdoctoral research I was ready for a new challenge. Training as a patent attorney sounded like a good route for broadening my exposure to new technology and would give me the chance to try my hand at studying law. I researched the career and applied to and interviewed with several companies, including Hindles in Edinburgh.

The interview was challenging, but fair, and I got the impression that my interviewers wanted to be sure that I was making the right decision in my career change, as well as that I had the appropriate technical background. In turn, I was pleased to learn that the work would be varied, and that I’d be given the opportunity to be involved with a wide range of tasks from day one. I was delighted to be offered the position and I started a few months later.

My favourite aspect of the work is the variety. I’ve worked on everything from drafts and oppositions through to IP audits, designs and trade marks, and I’ve been given plenty of opportunities to meet with our clients as well. The technology is just as varied; there are engine improvements, veterinary tools, positioning systems, biotech, photonics, renewables and more. This means that I’m constantly learning, but also making good use of my degree.

I’m now part-qualified, having passed my UK foundation exams and some qualifying-level exams, and having sat my European exams (I’m waiting for the results with fingers very much crossed!). I’ve been offered the opportunity to attend external courses to help prepare me for my last few exams and I’m also getting great support from the attorneys at Hindles, who are happy to answer questions, or to set challenges! I feel like my training is one of the top priorities for the company.

It’s a challenging career to move into, and there’s always more to learn, but that’s part of the fun of it. If you want to use your skills in science and writing, and varied days appeal to you, then I strongly recommend training as a patent attorney. So far, Hindles has given me the best possible introduction to my new career and I haven’t looked back.

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