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  • Name: Wouter Mooij
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Imperial
  • Degree: PhD Chemistry from Imperial College London
  • Career Sectors: Patents

Why I chose to become a patent attorney…

As an undergraduate student in Amsterdam, I never thought I would pursue this career. I thought lectures on intellectual property given throughout the course were dull. The legalese seemed miles away from any practical application.

A trip to an agrochemical company changed my perspective. The lead in-house counsel of the company, along with his colleagues, enthusiastically explained how the patent application process ties in with research and the commercialisation thereof. I could suddenly see the importance of intellectual property much more clearly.

Their presentation led me to apply for an internship at a London firm. Fortunate to be given the opportunity, I spent a week exploring chemistry and life sciences patents. The attorneys kindly showed me how in patents, science, law and people intertwine. I was hooked.

…and why I chose to join Kilburn & Strode.

A partner at the firm I interned at recommended that I apply to Kilburn & Strode. “We like them,” he said. I followed his advice and applied.

During the application process, I learned that Kilburn & Strode would recruit a large cohort of trainees that year. This was important to me, because I believed having other trainees in the same boat would provide camaraderie, as well as support, if needed. Moreover, it transpired that the firm was friendly, progressive, and keen to hire people from non-traditional backgrounds. I was convinced it would be a great company to join.

Now, I am glad I joined. There are many trainees – all from a different (technical) background and all very willing to help or give advice. The attorneys, associates and partners are knowledgeable and supportive. Most of the time I work for a single partner, who is a great mentor. With her understanding, her eye for detail and her linguistic precision, she continually challenges me to be at my best.

Trainees at Kilburn & Strode have the opportunity to get involved with all aspects of the business, ranging from prosecuting patent applications, to developing relationships with clients, to attending meetings with policy makers. Through this exposure to a wide variety of tasks and situations, trainees quickly develop essential skills.

My advice for anyone applying for trainee positions.

It will take at least three years of training to become a qualified patent attorney. Accordingly, to make the journey as enjoyable as possible, you should join a firm that fits you.

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