• Name: Naomi Cheong
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Nottingham
  • Degree: Medicinal & Biological Chemistry (MSc)
  • Areas of Specialism: Chemistry

Following my graduation in 2021, I was just like any other graduate – without an idea of which career path to pursue. If there was anything I knew about myself, it was the fact that I needed a working environment in which every day would be a bit different, a bit challenging and rewarding. Since joining Potter Clarkson in 2022, I can be confident when I say that I have achieved exactly that.

What are your duties?

When some people hear the word ‘trainee’, they naturally assume that we take the brunt of the work, often work overtime and receive little recognition for our work. This is not true at all. As a trainee at Potter Clarkson, my training and personal development are always prioritised when tasks are allocated to me. Both my line manager and colleagues at the firm have always communicated well with me to ensure that I receive the best form of training I could possibly have. This includes systems and check-ins to ensure that I am constantly exposed to a variety of responses to the European Patent Office; responses to a number of foreign patent offices; clients including small kick-starts and large pharma companies; patent application drafts; social networking opportunities and so much more.

Luckily, I have had the opportunity to work directly with a significant number of clients since my first day in the profession. My work largely involves drafting countless responses to the European Patent Office during almost every stage of patent prosecution and patent applications for a wide-range of IP including new pharmaceutical compositions, new biodegradable chemical entities, new medical uses, polymorphs and even new non-therapeutic uses of drugs.

Of course, on the other side of life at Potter Clarkson, there is a huge social aspect to the job! Although I started my job rather abruptly, I had such a warm welcoming to the firm. Within the first few months, I had participated in over a dozen socials, I became softball captain, attended the firm-wide summer reunion event in Nottingham, where I met over 100 new colleagues and so much more. Having only moved to London two months prior to starting the job and having a very limited social circle, this was perfect for me to settle in and meet so many new faces.

Is it a 9-5?

Although the job is not always 9-5, this is not a bad thing! The job is always changing in terms of workload – to the extent that you may have urgent deadlines that require a bit of overtime or a quiet few days when you can work a bit more flexibly. Efficient time management is a key skill in this job when handling multiple deadlines at the same time.

What skills are useful in this profession?
Other than the technical knowledge of course, some skills that have been particularly useful to me are efficient time management skills, ability to work under pressure, attention to detail and problem-solving. For me, these are the core skills that I use every day at work and I am still developing and improving them to this day.

Any advice?

Working as a patent attorney comes with a huge amount of responsibility, but an equal amount of reward. If you are considering a career in IP, there are plenty of resources available to explore, including the IP Careers website, IP firm websites and other IP professionals on LinkedIn! Take opportunities to develop your knowledge and experience in your expertise and IP by attending IP workshops/webinars, reaching out to patent attorneys and keeping up-to-date with novel technologies in your field.

Good luck on your journey!

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