What was your first ever job?
I worked part-time at an outlet of Krispy Kreme while I was studying in my third year at university.
How did you get involved in intellectual property and what first attracted you to the field?
My grandfather was a patent attorney, so I have been aware of the profession since I was young. However, I had not considered it as a career until I was at university studying chemical engineering and discovered I could go on to be a patent attorney. After doing a year in industry as part of my studies, I was not sure that I still wanted to go in to industry and I knew I did not want to continue in academia. Meanwhile, becoming a patent attorney was making increasing sense to me as I have always been interested in how things work and the idea of learning about new technology on an almost daily basis was very attractive.
When did you join Potter Clarkson and why?
I joined Potter Clarkson in September 2018, having graduated earlier that year.
What is your area of speciality and why did you choose it?
I work in the engineering and designs department. As a chemical engineer I could have opted for either chemistry or engineering. However, I have always preferred the engineering side to chemistry. I also studied art at school and the opportunity to work on designs, as well as engineering, was more interesting to me and seemed to play to my strengths.
What does a typical day in your role entail and what do you most enjoy about it/find most challenging?
The day-to-day tasks of a patent attorney vary quite a lot, and that is one of the aspects of the job that I enjoy the most – the variety.
However, there is a common thread through a lot of the work we do, in my opinion, and that is problem solving. For example, when drafting a patent, your job is to understand what problem a new invention is solving and convey to a reader of the patent how the invention is solving that problem. Alternatively, when you are responding to an examination report, your job is to find a solution to the objections that have been raised against a patent application and convince the Examiner that your solution is sound.
The aspect I find most challenging is balancing and organising your workload. In contrast to what I found during my year in industry, where I tended to work on tasks one after the other with only a handful of tasks to do at one time, working as a patent attorney requires balancing the work for a number of different clients. Several pieces of work can be similarly urgent at any one time, and strong organisation is required to ensure work is completed on time – which is essential.
What has been the highlight of your career at Potter Clarkson so far?
The moments where I have completed patent applications and the associated feelings that I have a great understanding of the client’s invention and am helping the client get one step closer to bringing their new technology to the world have brought great satisfaction.
What advice would you give anyone looking to enter the field?
When you first start in the job you will have a lot to learn. Be open to constructive criticism and strive to improve with each week in the job.
Part of that is keeping your confidence levels up. If a couple of bits of work did not go as well as you hoped, learn from what you did wrong, be confident you will do better next time, and then put those pieces of work behind you so you can move forward.