Whilst studying General Engineering at University, I realised that a career as an Engineer was no longer appealing and my childhood dream of being an astronaut was not possible. I knew that I wanted a job with a scientific focus and a friend mentioned that a career as a Patent Attorney might interest me. I suddenly became much more intrigued by intellectual property – as it combined scientific, legal and linguistic skills.
Whilst studying in Australia, I attended introductory lectures on IP and spoke to a number of practising Attorneys. I then undertook two summer internships: one at a patent firm and another at an accountancy firm. Whilst I enjoyed them both, there was one which I enjoyed more (no guesses as to which this was!).
My current role as a Trainee Patent Attorney involves working for a variety of clients, including large multinational corporations, SMEs and local engineering firms. I primarily work on mechanical technologies, ranging from internal combustion engines and food processing machines, to power tools and oil and gas drilling technologies. My work involves drafting and prosecuting patent applications, managing client portfolios and providing infringement and validity opinions. Client meetings allow me to understand their commercial goals and how best to advise on patent strategies which support these.
After three years in the job, I have one UK final exam to sit in October 2021, and will sit my European exams next year. As with most trainees, my focus outside of the day-to-day work is to pass the exams. A lot of training is on-the-job, but Marks & Clerk provide many resources. The Training Academy is unique, offering online lectures, Away Days, exam technique sessions, and a range of internal and external courses (in the UK and abroad!). It is a very friendly firm where supervisors and other Attorneys are always happy to answer questions. There is no denying that a lot of exam revision is done outside of working hours, and I have learnt that a slow and steady approach works best.
I would advise anyone interested in a career as a Patent Attorney to do their research, attend Open Days if they’re available and don’t be afraid to reach out to firms with questions. Don’t be put off applying simply because you don’t have any prior experience – a lot of the Attorneys I work with had never picked up a patent application before starting!