• Role: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Location: Manchester
  • University: Liverpool
  • Degree: Physics

Phoebe Hunter

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During my last year at university, I spent time researching potential career paths available to me with my Physics degree. I discovered the role of a patent attorney and from the job description, it sounded like a career I would enjoy. I’m almost two years into my job as a trainee patent attorney, and I’m pleased to say that I made the right decision! I enjoy analysing technical documents and using this analysis in combination with patent law to formulate arguments. Although formulating and communicating arguments is not something that I’d had an opportunity to do during my degree, I knew I would find this aspect challenging and rewarding.

HGF appealed to me because it is a large European firm with strong company values. The HGF company values are People, Excellence, Teamwork and Progressive. I have found this is demonstrated in a number of ways. For example, HGF supports trainees by offering a tutorial and mentoring program for exam preparation. In addition, the way HGF has adapted to the recent coronavirus situation, for both staff and clients, illustrates how progressive the firm is.

One of the most enjoyable parts about working for HGF is the large number of trainees. Having trainees who have recently experienced the transition to working as a trainee patent attorney and recently sat exams is helpful for support and encouragement. HGF has a large team of qualified patent attorneys with varied technical backgrounds who are always willing to answer questions, provide advice and guidance.

The transition from university to working as a trainee patent attorney presents many challenges. For example, I had no previous knowledge of patent law and presenting legal arguments. However, with valuable feedback and guidance from my colleagues at HGF, I am continuously learning and developing the skills required to become a qualified patent attorney.

My typical day involves checking emails, reading and understanding technical documents and formulating arguments based on my understanding of the documents. The challenge is to then present those arguments clearly and concisely to the Patent Office. I have also worked on preparing new patent applications and attended meetings with new and existing clients.

My plan for the next few years is to pass my exams to become a qualified UK and European patent attorney. I’ve been told that it can take multiple attempts before passing, so I am ready for the challenge!

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