• Name: Zoe Parry
  • Job Title: Technical Assistant
  • Location: Cambridge
  • University: Birmingham
  • Degree: PhD in Industrial Biotechnology
  • Areas of Specialism: Life Sciences

After completing my PhD, I worked as an Associate at a large consulting firm in their Life Sciences practice. I joined Sagittarius IP as a trainee in 2021 and have since completed the Certificate in Intellectual Property Law from Queen Mary University. I am now working towards dual qualification as a UK and European Patent Attorney.

What attracted you to a career as a Patent Attorney?

Whilst I enjoyed my PhD and the area of research that my project was focused on, I quickly realised that I did not want a career in a lab-based role. During the training year of my PhD, I completed an internship at my university’s technology transfer office, where I supported researchers by performing preliminary patent searches.

This experience introduced me to the role of patent attorneys, and I felt that the career offered the perfect opportunity to continue using my scientific background in a varied role across a broad range of cutting-edge technologies. One of the things that particularly drew me to Sagittarius IP was that it is a firm specialising in biotechnology, chemistry and pharmaceutical patents, which has allowed me to focus on the areas of technology that I am particularly passionate about and work alongside experts in protecting these types of inventions.

What does an average day as a technical assistant look like?

At our firm, a big effort is made to expose trainees to a variety of work from patent drafting to contentious matters to ensure that they are ready for the transition to being a qualified attorney. My day can typically include meeting with clients to discuss new and ongoing patent filings, reviewing and reporting examination reports from various patent offices, drafting responses to said examination reports, and conducting freedom-to-operate or patentability reviews. I have also been involved in multiple opposition hearings, including attending oral proceedings by videoconference.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?

A big part of life as a trainee is preparing for exams. These exams are notoriously difficult and require a lot of studying in your own time at evenings and weekends. It is important to be aware of this when applying. Finding a firm that provides trainees with the right amount of support has also been crucial for me. Sagittarius IP is very hands on with exam preparation, offering weekly tutorials and sending trainees on external courses to give us the best possible chance to pass the exams.

Secondly, attention to detail is hugely important in this job. When applying for trainee positions make sure you check your CV and cover letter carefully for errors to demonstrate that you can produce high quality written work.

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