Why did you choose a job in this sector?
I first learnt about the role of Patents during an introductory module on Intellectual Property Rights in my Engineering degree. The job of a Patent Attorney appealed to me because it allowed me to combine my passion for engineering with my interest in law and business. I enjoy learning about new technologies and inventions, and I find it rewarding to help innovators protect and commercialise their intellectual property. I also like the variety and challenge of working with different clients, industries, and scale companies.
How did you get your job at Secerna?
I saw Secerna’s job listing on the IPCareers website. Secerna differentiated itself from the other firms because of the diversity and strength of its client base given its relatively small size. This enables a trainee to learn extensively on the job and have responsibilities from the start. Secerna also appealed to me because of the opportunity to work and learn directly from very experienced Partners.
I applied with my CV and cover letter and Secerna promptly got in touch.
What was the application process like – any advice?
The application process was straightforward and professional. I was invited to a first interview regarding my motivation for applying and background, followed by some more in-depth interviews to evaluate my skills and suitability for the job. I received clear instructions and feedback throughout.
My advice for anyone applying for a trainee patent attorney role at Secerna is to do your research on the firm and the sector, prepare some examples of your achievements and skills, and show your enthusiasm and curiosity for the role. Also, practice your patent drafting skills and be ready to explain your reasoning and approach.
What are your main duties/roles?
My main duties as a trainee patent attorney at Secerna are to assist senior attorneys with various aspects of patent prosecution, such as drafting, filing, amending, and responding to office actions. I collaborate with clients from different industries and countries, ranging from multinational corporations to university spinouts. I particularly enjoy meeting with inventors to understand their inventions and draft patent specifications.
Is it a 9-5 job?
Broadly yes – although the workload and deadlines can vary depending on the client’s needs and the stage of the patent process as is the nature of the job. Sometimes I have to work longer hours to meet urgent deadlines, and revision for Patent Attorney exams takes place in my own time. However, Secerna offers flexible hours and hybrid working as standard, which means I can manage my own schedule. They also respect and promote work-life balance, and encourage me to take breaks and holidays.
What skills are useful in this sector/profession?
Some of the skills that are useful in this sector/profession are:
- Technical skills: having a strong background in engineering or science is important for being able to understand new technologies and inventions quickly, and for drafting clear and concise patent specifications that cover all aspects of the invention.
- Communication skills: good oral and written skills facilitate effective communication with clients, colleagues, patent offices and other professionals, and enable you to present complex information in a simple and persuasive way.
- Timekeeping: balancing the deadlines of patent portfolios and the demands of clients requires discipline as well as being able to work quickly and efficiently.
- Commercial skills: a good understanding of the client’s business objectives and market context is helpful for being able to provide strategic advice on patent portfolio management and exploitation, and being able to negotiate with patent offices and third parties.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
In the future, I would like to achieve full qualification as a Chartered and European Patent Attorney. I would also like to develop my expertise in specific technical fields or industries that interest me. I would like to take on more responsibility for managing client relationships and projects. I would also like to contribute to the growth and success of Secerna by attracting new clients, developing new services, or expanding into new markets.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?
My advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry is:
- Do your research: learn as much as you can about the role of a patent attorney, the different types of firms and clients in the sector, the qualifications and training required, the career prospects and challenges.
- Network: reach out to people who work in the industry or have experience in it; ask them questions about their career path, their day-to-day work, and their advice for aspiring patent attorneys. Attend events or webinars related to intellectual property or your technical field of interest.
- Apply: look for opportunities that suit your background, skills, and interests. Prepare your CV and cover letter carefully, highlighting your achievements, motivation, and suitability for the role. Practice your interview skills and be confident in yourself.