• Name: Eve McGlynn
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Edinburgh
  • University: Glasgow
  • Degree: PhD in Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering

What attracted you to your role?

During my PhD I gained hands-on experience with the trials and triumphs of design, fabrication and testing in an electronics lab. However sometimes, the best ideas come from reading widely and taking inspiration from unexpected places. If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest breakthroughs in technology, you have to commit yourself to lifelong learning, and that prospect has always excited me. During my undergraduate degree in Electronic Engineering, I studied Intellectual Property for Engineers and attended a seminar by a patent attorney who first introduced me to the profession. When they described the dedication required to become a qualified attorney, and succeed in the job, it felt like exactly the kind of challenge I was looking for.

What are your main duties?

My working week extends beyond the day job into self-study for the upcoming UK Foundation exams, with training for both provided in-house at Marks & Clerk. What I learn on the job feeds into the exam syllabus, and vice versa, so it’s really rewarding to make those connections and recognise how I’m progressing. Although I’d researched the duties of a patent attorney, it wasn’t until I was given my first case that I understood the importance of learning by doing. Right now, most of my time is split between drafting responses to communications from various patent offices around the world, and communicating with clients. Responding to Examiners’ comments is an iterative process, slowly building my understanding of the invention, the prior art, and the objections to patentability. Communicating with clients includes updating them on the progress of their applications, explaining and recommending options for the next steps, and researching points of law to answer specific queries. Less than a year into the job, I’ve worked on a handful of drafts for new patent applications, and I am gaining more confidence with each new invention.

What skills are useful in this profession?

In my opinion, the most important skill for this job is the ability to accept feedback and guidance, concentrating on what I can learn from experience. At Marks & Clerk, trainees work very closely with supervising partners, who have the experience and knowledge to provide great constructive comments on every piece of work that crosses their desk. In order to produce the best work I can for my supervising partner, I have to be focused and methodical, ensuring my arguments are clear and concise. Of course, problem-solving is a huge part of the job. I look at each new task as a puzzle waiting to be cracked. Finally, I believe it’s crucial to take initiative, whether that means researching the science behind the invention I’m reviewing to gain a better understanding, or brainstorming new ways to learn and retain the information I’ll need to pass exams in the future.

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