I first encountered patents towards the end of my bachelor’s degree. After conducting further research into the field, I decided that there were many advantages to pursuing a career in patent law in London, and I applied, amongst others, for a trainee position at Hoffmann Eitle.
The application process involved two interviews, both being carried out by the partner responsible for the department to which I was applying and a senior attorney. I also had the opportunity to meet with other trainees and discuss what it was like to be a trainee patent attorney. The interview process was challenging, but the firm put a lot of effort into ensuring that information about the position was available to the applicant as well as assessing that the applicant was suitable for the position.
I was happy to accept a job at Hoffmann Eitle as it seemed to be an exciting and engaging place to work. A particular draw for me was the opportunity to spend six months in our office in Munich during my training. Hoffmann Eitle London also combines all the benefits of a small and friendly office with the advantages of working in a large and dynamic firm.
From my first day, I was given files to work on, covering a variety of clients and a variety of technologies within my field of study. All trainee work is carried out independently but reviewed by a supervising partner or an experienced attorney. This provides invaluable training not only in the legal aspects of the job and in communicating with clients and various patent offices, but also in quickly developing time management and organisational skills.
As a trainee, I have been involved in a wide variety of work including drafting and prosecuting patent applications, oppositions and appeals, and advising clients on matters of UK and European law. Clients vary from small businesses and private inventors to large, multinational companies. One of the most satisfying parts of this role is being able to use so many aspects of my degree in a way that is not possible in many research or engineering roles while also continuing to learn and develop new skills.
The next stage of my training will be spending six months working in our office in Munich. This secondment allows trainees to work with other partners and attorneys and to work with different clients and in different technology areas. Munich is also the home of the European Patent Office, so this secondment offers the exciting opportunity of regularly attending hearings in examination, opposition and appeal proceedings before sitting the European and UK qualifying exams.