David Holt

David Holt

Senior Associate - IP Solicitor

What was your first ever job?

Store assistant at BHS selling promotional Christmas teddy bears.

How did you get involved in intellectual property and what first attracted you to the field?

I was a relatively science-free zone after GCSEs and preferred arts and languages, but I met my now-wife Amy whilst I was at university (studying law), and her specialism was conservation and genetics. She rekindled my interest in science and I then undertook a science-heavy dissertation on the sustainability of prosecutions in relation to the “reckless transmission of HIV”, which involved a lot of reading around immunology and anti-retroviral treatments. After that, I pursued IP-focused courses on my LPC and into my training contract.

When did you join Potter Clarkson and why?

I joined Potter Clarkson in April 2018 when the litigation and licensing team was expanding. It represented a new and exciting opportunity to build an extremely high-quality solicitor practice within a leading patent and trade mark attorney firm, which was breaking new ground, particularly in the Midlands. Potter Clarkson is definitely pre-eminent in its field and works with the highest quality clients, so it was a fantastic opportunity.

What is your area of speciality and why did you choose it?

From my time working in-house at Unidays, I have developed a specialism in licensing and confidentiality work and since joining Potter Clarkson I have developed that skillset to include working with biotechnology and small molecule therapeutics. This area is incredibly fast moving and it really translates to direct benefits for patients.

What does a typical day in your role entail and what do you most enjoy about it/find most challenging?

I am lucky in that my days are generally very varied. In a typical week, I could be involved in interviewing experts for a litigation matter, preparing a collaboration agreement for one of our clients to co-develop technology with a trusted partner, or even travelling to a specialist conference to attend or speak on legal and commercial issues. Balancing the opportunities with the time available to me is the most challenging aspect of the job, and I will have to continue to try and be more selective about what I get involved in, which is difficult considering I find most things very interesting!

What has been the highlight of your career at Potter Clarkson so far?

Working with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in their litigation against Silence GmbH to “clear the way” for their ground-breaking RNAi therapeutic to reach the market. This was a completely novel therapy for a fatal condition, and it was incredibly satisfying to help that therapeutic become a reality by achieving a great outcome for the client.

What advice would you give anyone looking to enter the field?

It is not impossible to get into the field without a specialist science background, but it does help! As a solicitor, the route to qualification is slightly different, as you will usually specialise in your practice later than a patent attorney (who will quite often have a masters or PhD in a particular field). I would suggest trying to work in an IP environment if you can, whether as a paralegal or within your training contract, and find out if it is something you are genuinely passionate about. It is not an easy role and can be quite demanding academically and from a time management point of view, but if you enjoy it, the opportunities are fantastic.