Why I chose to become a patent attorney
I first gained experience of the profession when I met with a patent attorney to discuss patenting an aspect of my PhD research. It was clear that the role of a patent attorney is a varied one, with exposure to many different areas of technology. While in a postdoctoral research role I came to the conclusion that I would like to move away from academia; I felt it was time to do something different, but still at the forefront of technology. Furthermore, the prospect of spending a number of years in short-term postdoctoral contracts felt unappealing.
I was able to speak to a number of contacts in the profession and became convinced that it was a good fit for my interests and personality. I attended interviews at a few firms and was pleased to accept an offer of employment from Maucher Jenkins.
I joined the firm in January 2017 and currently work in the Farnham office. Everyone at the firm was very welcoming and friendly. Intellectual property companies tend not to be large which means you quickly get to know who’s who and their roles within the firm.
What’s my day like?
Daily life as a patent attorney often comprises: reading an application, then reading its associated examination report from the patent office and prior art documents cited within the report. One role of the Technical Assistant is to understand these documents, discuss them with a supervisor, draft suitable amendments to the application and write to the Examiner to convince them that there is patentable subject matter in the application. The technology within each application is different (hopefully!), as are the nature of the Examiner’s reports.
Much of the training comes ‘on-the-job’ in discussions with colleagues and in preparing responses to Examiners. Additionally, within the firm we have regular training sessions on a range of IP topics. This autumn I will attend the Certificate in Intellectual Property Law course at QMUL. Successful completion of the Certificate will gain me exemption from the Foundation Exams necessary for qualification as a UK patent attorney. Subsequently, over the following four years or so, I will sit further UK qualifying exams alongside European patent attorney qualifying exams.