Trainee Patent Attorney
When I was applying for jobs, becoming a patent attorney sounded like the perfect mix of everything I wanted in a career. There’s a lot of skills needed in this role that really appeal to me. For example, you need an analytical mind and the ability to clearly communicate to different audiences (e.g. your supervising partner, patent offices, clients). You also get to stay in touch with your field, for example by meeting with inventors when drafting patent applications. I wanted a career with a clearly defined progression, which the process of dual qualifying as a UK and European Patent Attorney enables.
What were you looking for in a career?
I’m after a career where I’m continuously learning while using the knowledge I’ve gained of my technical area. I’d like to engage with a broad range of technologies and keep in touch with recent developments in the fields I’ve studied. Another aspect that’s important to me is being able to use my communication skills; I enjoy explaining technical concepts in a clear way.
Where did you study and which subject(s)?
My undergraduate degree was Mathematics with Economics, which I studied at UCL. Following that, I completed a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh.
Why did you apply to Venner Shipley?
From the beginning when I met one of my current supervising partners and a trainee at a career’s fair in Edinburgh, Venner Shipley appealed to me as a place to work. From speaking to them, I realised that Venner Shipley worked on lots of interesting areas in my field, which excited me because I wanted to use the knowledge I had gained in my Master’s. Beyond that, I could tell that Venner Shipley would be a rewarding place to work with a friendly atmosphere which have all proven true.
What type of work have you done since joining?
I have already been involved in a variety of work, from drafting patent applications for start-ups to talking to inventors from large multi-national tech companies. I have attended conferences in my field, learning about new research in related areas and developing business. The day to day work usually involves responding to communications from patent offices about different patent applications that we are prosecuting. I enjoy this side of the job because it allows me to use my technical knowledge and analytical skills.
What has been your most interesting piece of work?
I’ve drafted a patent application for a start-up using technology that I also used in my Masters dissertation. I really enjoyed this because I was able to identify the benefits of applying the technology in this particular field and describe this in detail in the patent application.
What do you enjoy about working at Venner Shipley?
What really impressed me when I first joined Venner Shipley was how welcoming people are here. On my first week, there was a large annual social event in our offices and I felt that I was a part of the firm immediately. Venner Shipley is a very sociable firm, with a lot of social events to take part in and so it feels more than just a place to go to work for me.
There is always someone you can talk to for support. With a large number of trainees sat together in the open office area, the chances of someone near you having had a similar question/thought are very high. The partners and senior associates are also all very supportive, which I’ve found by working with a variety of them. I enjoy this as it lets you learn different approaches to the work, helping you to develop your own in the future.
How is the training – both on the job learning and the formal study?
Venner Shipley provide new trainees with internal seminars given by experienced colleagues and partners, which helps form a holistic view of the role. There are also regular seminars that all trainees, associates and partners can attend in which we discuss recent developments in the IP world and how that might affect our work. I find these very useful in seeing the bigger picture. My supervising partners are always there to support me when I’m working on cases no matter how busy they are, which I’m truly grateful for.
I studied the Intellectual Property course at Queen Mary last year, and it was good to learn more about the legal side of the work in an academic setting.
What client contact have you had?
I’ve had lots of client contact already, which I have enjoyed. I’ve been able to visit client offices to have face to face technical discussions with inventors, discussing new ideas that they want to protect. I’ve been able to video call with clients in the US discussing possible strategies with different cases. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet a client from the US who I regularly work with in a more informal setting. I’m pleased that the firm provides me with these opportunities.