What was your first ever job?
For a short period after my PhD I was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Manchester, where I was developing lanthanide-doped titanium dioxide nanoparticles for theranostic applications.
How did you get involved in intellectual property and what first attracted you to the field?
I studied chemistry at Bangor University and continued my studies by reading for a PhD at the University of Manchester, where my research was focused on the development of stimulus responsive nanoparticles for cancer therapy.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time in research, shortly after beginning my postdoctoral position I decided that a life in research both from an academic and industrial perspective was not for me. However, I knew I still wanted to be at the forefront of innovation and use the scientific knowledge I had gained from my academic career, so becoming a patent attorney was a perfect fit.
When did you join Potter Clarkson and why?
I started as a trainee in 2014 at Potter Clarkson’s Nottingham office. Training to becoming a patent attorney is quite tough as there are many exams spread across both the UK and European qualification routes, all of which you study for and sit whilst holding down a full-time job. However, Potter Clarkson provides an exceptional training environment for its trainees. Certainly from my own perspective I found the support provided by the firm during my training to be second to none. What is more, unlike many other firms where personal career progression is largely based on success in exams, at Potter Clarkson career progression is based more on a trainee’s ability to perform their job well.
What is your area of speciality and why did you choose it?
My research career was highly interdisciplinary, and this has carried over into my patent career as I specialise in a number of interrelated fields across the chemistry, materials science and medtech sectors. My particular areas of expertise include nanomaterials, metallurgy, polymers, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and materials chemistry.
What does a typical day in your role entail and what do you most enjoy about it/find most challenging?
Being part of the team growing the new Stockholm office, there is no typical day for me. One day can be mainly based on managing patent portfolios for clients, the next can see me flying to Munich to attend an opposition hearing, and the day after that I could be meeting with inventors in Stockholm discussing a new breakthrough product that they have developed.
The bottom line is, there is no standard day for me, so I never get bored!
What has been the highlight of your career at Potter Clarkson so far?
It is incredibly difficult to pinpoint one single highlight of my career so far.
From a personal perspective, it was incredibly exciting to be the first person “on the ground” in our Stockholm office and it has been amazing to watch the office grow at the rate it has.
From a professional perspective, I particularly enjoy working for SME companies as you really get to be part of the team and working with them to make a success of their business is always rewarding.
What advice would you give anyone looking to enter the field?
Network. I seriously think I would not be at Potter Clarkson had I not met a couple of partners at a Royal Society of Chemistry event before I started applying.
Securing a trainee position is highly competitive, so making yourself stand out is key.