• Role: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Manchester
  • University: Sussex
  • Degree: Molecular Medicine & Toxicology

Richard Maclennan

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When did you decide to train as a Patent Attorney?

I first became aware of a career as a Patent Attorney during my placement year in industry during my undergraduate degree. During the placement, the concept of Intellectual Property (IP) and the value that this can have for a business became clear. I was fortunate enough to compete in the young entrepreneurs’ competition, Biotechnology YES, which gave me more of an understanding of how crucial IP is to any business in the biotechnology sector and the career opportunities available.

What’s it like working at Appleyard Lees?

The culture at Appleyard Lees is supportive and friendly with a focus on doing what is best for the client. Whilst I have been given the freedom to get involved in the day to day prosecution of cases there is always someone more experienced to ask advice on anything from a particular piece of law or for a second opinion on an amendment. I find the partners and senior attorneys approachable and I never feel I am unable to ask a potentially stupid question!

What are your main duties/roles in your current position?

My day to day work focuses on tasks given to me by my supervising partner. These tasks vary depending on the work that he has at the time but the majority of the work involves responding to examination and search reports issued by various intellectual property offices around the world. The inventions and areas of science are constantly varied and no two applications are the same. The variety and breadth of science involved is always changing and never gets dull. I also regularly carry out literature research to help with any drafts that my supervising partner is currently working on. In addition to this I have also had the opportunity to be involved in a potential revocation action against a UK granted patent. This has been invaluable in helping me begin to get to grips with the law surrounding infringement and invalidity.

How do you see yourself progressing from your current position in the next 2-3 years?

My main progression in the next 2-3 years can obviously be measured in progress through the UK foundation exams, UK final diploma exams and beginning qualification as a European Patent Attorney. Although the exams are important Appleyard Lees are flexible with regards to how many you take each year and the time taken to qualify. Progress isn’t only measured in exam passes, and progress would be a reduction in the amount of red pen that appears on my draft responses!

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to work at Appleyard Lees?

My advice would be to apply even if there is no open position advertised. I know of a few trainees working here who have applied speculatively and were called back for an interview as soon as something suitable became available. Familiarise yourself with our website and read some of the blog and news articles. A general very broad view of how intellectual property can benefit a business would also help when it comes to an interview.

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