• Name: Christopher Ashcroft
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Cambridge
  • Degree: Physics
  • Areas of Specialism: Physics

After submitting my CV via their website, I was invited to interview with a Partner at the Firm’s London office. The interview was in two parts and involved a technical test, followed by a face-to-face interview with the hiring Partner. The answers given in the technical test helped to form the structure of the discussions in the interview, and provided an opportunity to discuss in more detail those questions that I found challenging, as well as those questions that I found most interesting and thought-provoking.

The partners, associates, other trainees and support staff are all very supportive, friendly and approachable. The Partners actively encourage us to achieve a healthy work-life balance. I work mainly on telecommunications technology such as 5G. However, I also have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of other technologies from novel transistors to magnetic memory devices.

On a typical day I would be working on a number of cases concurrently which would involve amending patent claims and drafting response letters to objections raised against a patent by the European Patent Office. Once a draft is ready I am able to discuss it with my supervisor for the case. This is done in an informal and supportive way. They help to scrutinize my arguments and provide guidance on how to improve my responses.

As a Trainee Patent Attorney, I have to draw on every aspect of my training and education gained as an undergraduate and PhD student. Some of the key skills that I would argue are invaluable in my role are:

  • Being able to communicate in a clear and concise manner
  • Having an eye for the smallest detail
  • Being able to do independent reading and research
  • Being able to work independently

Support & Training
The best training you can get to become a Patent Attorney is on the job experience. The Firm also provides both regular training sessions covering topics from claim drafting to recent court cases, and in-house tutorials which cover examination guidance and exam techniques.

I have just taken the IP PGCert at Queen Mary University. I now plan to progress through the UK and European exams, to become a fully chartered UK and European Patent Attorney.

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