• Role: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Cambridge
  • Degree: PhD, Organic Chemistry

Jian Siang Poh

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What first attracted you to Marks & Clerk?
The “Away Days” that Marks & Clerk offers as part of the in-house Training Academy stood out the most for me. Every two or three months, all of the Trainees in the year group get together for a social event, followed by a training session focusing on some of the skills needed for our day-to-day work and the qualifying exams. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with your peers and establish a support network.

What skills have you found to be particularly useful in this sector/profession?
A few crop up regularly – good written and/oral communication, time management, technical subject knowledge and how to apply it. However, if I were to pick one skill in particular, it would be attention to detail. Many cases hinge on the tiniest nugget of information you can extract from a number of documents, with which you can argue your case and thereby allow you to obtain the best possible protection for your client.

Give us an idea of the range of clients you work with and the variety of technologies?
The clients I work with vary from world-famous multinationals, to local start-ups and single inventors. It is sometimes challenging to work with a wide variety of clients because your advice needs to be tailored according to how familiar the client is with IP, but this in itself makes our work dynamic and exciting. In terms of technologies, I’ve worked on patenting new active pharmaceutical ingredients and the processes involved in their synthesis, organic light-emitting compounds, new purification methods and medical devices. Because of its size and wide range of clients, Marks & Clerk is a place where you can keep learning and apply your technical expertise.

Tell us about your career highlight to date?
In my first year, I was able to attend two appeal hearings in Munich with my supervisor. Needless to say, they weren’t easy cases and it is quite intense in the hearing room (fortunately as a Trainee, you can spectate without the pressure!). However, I was able to make some suggestions during the breaks that were well received, and overall it made for a unique and interesting experience.

What opportunities are there for development at Marks & Clerk?
I am directly supervised by several Partners and qualified Associates, which has given me experience with different writing styles and ways of arguing cases. In addition, the Training Academy provides weekly webinars and assignments that help you prepare for the exams. Thanks in part to this, I was awarded the Chris Gibson Prize for passing with the highest mark in one of the UK qualifying exams. Marks & Clerk provides a great environment for you to learn effectively, benefit from the experience of colleagues and grow into a capable and confident patent attorney.

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