• Name: Jessica Wilkinson
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Southampton
  • Degree: MPhys Physics with Astronomy
  • Areas of Specialism: Physics
Venner Shipley

What attracted you to your role?

At the start of my final year at university, it became clear to me that pursuing a career in academia was not the right decision for me. I began researching different career options that were open to me and found that in many, I would not be able to use the knowledge that I had gained during my degree. Then I came across the role of a patent attorney. The more that I had read about the role and what it entails I knew that it was the right choice for me. It is a career that allows me to utilize the knowledge and skills that I obtained during my degree and exposes me to new technologies in a broad range of fields. I feel that my degree has prepared me well for this role and look forward to learning more about patent law and new technologies.

How did you get your job at Venner Shipley?

Once I had decided that becoming a patent attorney was the right career choice for me, I began searching for job opportunities and found that Venner Shipley had a vacancy. After doing some research on the firm, and what it was like to work there, I sent in my CV and cover letter.

I attended two interviews, one virtual and one at the London office. I was given a task to complete shortly before my first interview and then talked through the task with the interviewers. I found the interviewers to be very friendly and gave me plenty of opportunities to ask questions about the role and the firm. After my interview at the London office, I was able to speak to two current trainees about their experiences, which I found to be informative. Everyone that I had spoken to throughout the application process was friendly and helpful, and I was given all the support necessary to have a successful start in this role.

What skills are useful in this profession?

  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Time management skills
  • Attention to detail.

What does your role involve?

The majority of my time is spent prosecuting patents. This involves reading a patent application, search report and any documents cited against the patent application, known as prior art. After reading all the documents, I will often have a discussion with my supervisor about how I think it is best to respond, whether we need to make any amendments and how we can argue against the objections raised. Once the response strategy is decided, I will write a response to the search report and also inform the client of what we are proposing to do.

For the first few months as a trainee, Venner Shipley ran weekly “bootcamp” sessions given by different attorneys to give us a good understanding of the fundamentals of patent law. These were very helpful in understanding areas of the law that I had not yet come across in cases that I had worked on.

At Venner Shipley, trainees are given the opportunity to attend Queen Mary, University of London to study for the Certificate in Intellectual property law. This course is the first step towards qualification as a patent attorney.

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