• Name: John Richards
  • Job Title: Patent Advisor
  • Location: Derby
  • University: -Other UK-
  • Degree: University of Liverpool, BSc (Chemistry) and University of Birmingham, MSc (Advanced Chemical Engineering)
  • Areas of Specialism: Chemistry
John Richards

Why did you choose a job in this profession?

From a young age, I was fascinated by the power of ideas and their capacity to drive innovation in society. The allure of intellectual property and its pivotal role in safeguarding and promoting these innovative ideas captivated me. The opportunity to work closely with inventors, entrepreneurs, and corporations, and assist them in securing legal protection for their inventions, became a driving force behind my decision. Another aspect that drew me to this profession is the unique intersection of law, science, and engineering which ensures every day brings new challenges and opportunities to engage with cutting-edge technologies across various industries.

What skills are useful in this profession?

To thrive in this profession, several key skills are invaluable. A strong foundation in science or engineering is crucial, as it will allow you to understand and analyse complex technical concepts. Additionally, exceptional research and analytical skills are essential for extensively reviewing relevant prior art and fabricating persuasive arguments.

Effective communication and interpersonal skills are vital, but I believe they are often undervalued in the profession. Having the ability to tailor the way you communicate based on the receiving party is an essential skill for patent attorneys. Effective communication is not only about conveying information but also about understanding and connecting with the individuals involved in the patent process. As a patent attorney, you will engage with inventors, clients, colleagues, examiners, and sometimes even judges, each with their own unique perspectives and levels of technical expertise.

Attention to detail, critical thinking, and the ability to navigate legal frameworks are further skills that will contribute to success in this field.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

A common aspiration for a trainee patent attorney, including myself, is to successfully pass the necessary exams to become UK & European qualified. The exams are rigorous and comprehensive, testing one’s knowledge and understanding of patent law, procedures, and practices in both jurisdictions. Hence, becoming qualified holds great significance and demonstrates a high level of expertise and competence within the field.

As I gain experience and expertise, I am eager to give back to the legal community by mentoring aspiring patent attorneys and sharing my knowledge. Guiding and supporting new professionals in their journey can contribute to the growth of the field and help shape the next generation of patent attorneys.

Ultimately, my overarching goal is to make a positive impact in the field of patent law, protect the intellectual property rights of innovators, and contribute to the advancement of technology and innovation in society.

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

Entering the profession can be very competitive but individuals aspiring to become a patent attorney should focus on improving the skills that are useful in this sector/profession (see above).

Gaining practical experience through internships or working in a technology-related industry can also be advantageous and provide valuable insights into the patent process, but is certainly not necessary.

Finally, to help discover new opportunities and gain valuable connections, I would recommend networking with professionals in the field and joining relevant organisations, such as local intellectual property law associations.

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