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There are plenty of opportunities out there for those wanting experience in the intellectual property profession, ranging from a couple of weeks to something more long-term. With the wide variety of student and graduate work opportunities out there, it can be difficult to navigate your options. The summaries below have been put together to help you identify what you should be doing, and when.

Graduate Jobs

Also called: graduate scheme, graduate programme

Graduate jobs are the number one reason that people go to university – to get a job that requires a degree. This has become the foundation of entry-level recruitment in many professions, with many larger employers creating structured training programmes to both entice and induct new graduates.

A trainee position within the IP profession aims to develop talent and initiate recruits into the company culture, whilst preparing them for the professional exams, through a mixture of in-house tutorials and external courses. Typically, this will take between 4-6 years to become a Chartered Patent Attorney and around 2-3 years to become a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney.

Most graduate scheme intakes take place in the September following graduation, with the application process opening – and often closing – during the preceding autumn term. To make the most of these opportunities, you should do your research and preparation early. Unlike other professions, the intellectual property profession recruits on a rolling basis, depending on the needs of the company – so it is worth keeping an eye out for vacancies that have an immediate start date here.


Also called: industrial placement, year in industry, sandwich year

Although placements are a compulsory component for many courses, this is not the case for all. Placements are designed to provide you with a first-hand opportunity to see what it is like to work as a Trade Mark or Patent Attorney. It is the perfect way to get to know the employer and see whether they are the right firm for you.

Prior to their final year of study, many students spend between six and twelve months in industry, working full-time and getting fully paid for it. Approximately 8% of the employers listed on our website offer placements. To apply for a Patent Attorney placement, you must be studying an undergraduate STEM degree, typically science or engineering. For a trade mark attorney placement, there is no specific degree discipline required.


Also called: work experience, Easter/Summer internship

IP firms are increasingly making a point of opening their doors to penultimate year students. Approximately 14% of the employers listed on our website offer internships.

Employers often run internships in a bid to source the best candidates for their graduate programmes, which is why the majority are aimed at students in their penultimate year of university. Unlike other industries where internships take place for 6-8 weeks over the summer, internships in this sector typically last for 1-2 weeks over the Easter or Summer break. They are an opportunity for students to test their suitability for the role and to gain an understanding of the business, sector, and commercial requirements. Completing an internship could give you a competitive advantage in a sector with very high standards, many employers have even gone on the recruit candidates from their internship programmes.

Insight Days

Also called: open day, insight week

Insight days are a relatively new concept in the IP profession and as such are still quite rare. About 10% of the employers listed on our website offer insight days. Insight days involve firms inviting career-focused candidates to spend a day (or week) learning about the inner workings of their organisation. The focus here is more on the company than the profession, but attendance at an insight day is still very much a form of work experience and should be listed on a CV accordingly. Events like these are most commonly found over holiday periods – Easter in particular – with students advised to apply at least a month in advance.

The Job Finder section of our website provides details on the types of job opportunities offered by each employer.


Who should apply?
How long does it last?
When does it generally start?
Graduate Jobs

Or Graduate Scheme, Graduate Programme

Finalists and graduates Typically 4-6 years for a Patent Attorney and 2-3 years for a Trade Mark Attorney September

Or industrial placement, year in industry, sandwich year

Those seeking a placement year as part of their degree 6-12 months Penultimate year of university

Or work experience, Easter/Summer internship

Students in the penultimate year of study 1-2 weeks Easter or Summer
Insight Days

Or open day, insight week

Undergraduates, particularly first years 1-5 days Easter/Spring

About the Author

  • Name: IP Careers
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