• Role: Patent Assistant
  • Location: Nottingham
  • University: Cardiff
  • Degree: Chemistry

Bethany Seccombe

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Pre-Potter Clarkson
During my degree, I came to the realisation that I enjoyed learning about a diverse range of scientific areas, so I knew a career spent doing research in a specific area of Chemistry wasn’t for me. Luckily, I was introduced to the patent attorney profession during my year abroad at the University of Toronto, as my supervising professor was acting as an expert witness in a patent dispute. Seeing the work of a patent attorney close up, it seemed to be the perfect fit for my future career.

Once I had graduated, I applied to a number of firms. Although the interview at Potter Clarkson involved both tough chemistry and IP questions, the partners who interviewed me were all really supportive. As part of the interview, I also went for lunch with some of the current trainees, which was a great way to find out more about the firm and confirmed that it was the right fit for me. When I received an offer, I eagerly accepted and began working at PC in the Chemistry department in March 2018.

Working at Potter Clarkson
This past year I have been working on real cases under the supervision of a number of partners. A typical day includes analysing cited documents, responding to examination reports, drafting patent applications and more. I will often be working on cases in completely different chemical fields, such as small-molecule drugs, refrigerants, polymers or medical devices. Many of these subjects are completely new to me and so being able to quickly research and understand each new technical area is essential.

Excitingly, PC has recently opened three new offices in Stockholm, Copenhagen and London. As part of my training, I have had the opportunity to shadow a partner visiting Stockholm. The trip involved meeting with clients, providing advice on the patentability of new ideas and assessing their global IP strategy.

Beyond the 9 to 5
The firm does everything it can to help us pass our professional exams. In addition to providing study-leave days and sending trainees on external revision courses, senior attorneys provide in-house tutorials to fully prepare us. Last autumn I sat my first three foundation exams – it was a challenge balancing work, study and a social life but thankfully I passed all three!

Life at PC is very sociable. From the annual away-day, summer BBQ and Christmas party to various intra-firm sports clubs, quiz nights and the boardgames group, there’s something for everyone – I’ve discovered a love of climbing!

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