• Name: Matthew Bannister
  • Job Title: Technical Assistant
  • Location: London
  • University: UCL
  • Degree: MRes Electronic Engineering
  • Areas of Specialism: Electrical Engineering

Why I chose to become a patent attorney

After my undergraduate degree I began pursuing a career in research, so completed a Master of Research, which led into studying towards a PhD. Towards the end of my PhD I realised that I wasn’t enjoying research and wasn’t suited to academia. Still wanting to be challenged and use my knowledge and skills gained throughout my studies, I came across Patent Law.

Being a Patent Attorney requires an understanding of science and technology across a variety of subjects, as well as good communication skills. The diversity in subjects is what I enjoy most about the job; I have worked on topics such as a telecoms systems, computer game software, and reactor coolant systems. Before starting in the profession I had no prior experience of the majority of these areas, and every case provides the opportunity to learn something new and interesting.

Training & Qualification

Aside from technical knowledge and communication skills, the job requires knowledge of the relevant law. As a physicist, this was unfamiliar to me, and I have found learning about the law to be a very interesting and challenging aspect of the job. Learning the law is mostly self-directed while working – I was given an active case on my first day, and have learned a lot through reading, talking with other trainees, and talking to my supervising attorneys. Working on actual cases from day one helped to provide context to what I was learning, as well as an early opportunity to get to know the different technologies.

The firm offers the opportunity to attend either Queen Mary University or University of Bournemouth for the Postgraduate Certificate in Intellectual Property. I attended Bournemouth, and found it to be very interesting and a great opportunity to meet trainees from other firms.

My next steps towards qualification are taking the UK Higher Exams later in 2018. Qualified attorneys at the firm run tutorial sessions in the months preceding the UK and European exams, with self-directed study forming the rest of the preparation. Unlike some firms, there is no pressure to take the exams until you feel ready, which exemplifies the supportive nature of the firm.

The Firm

I find the working environment to be friendly and relaxed. Initially there is a heavy focus on developing your understanding of the technology and law, without having to meet targets. The firm is continually developing and growing – since I started there have been three new partners, as well as the opening of the Munich office. The work/life balance is also very good – the flexible starting hours mean I can start work at 10am and avoid rush hour, and very rarely do I have to work late.

I thoroughly enjoy working here, and would encourage anyone interested in joining the profession to put Page White and Farrer at the top of their list!

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