Richard Wells

Richard Wells

Senior Associate - Patents

What was your first ever job? 

I was a newspaper delivery boy.

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

During my PhD I had realised doing laboratory work was not what I wanted to build my career on. I had been to presentations from patent attorneys during my PhD, and thought it looked to be an interesting job that would still use my scientific training but without being in the lab.

When did you join Potter Clarkson and why?

I joined Potter Clarkson in 2012.

I applied because I knew it was a well-respected, top-tier firm. I also knew it had a big and well-established biotechnology department (my technical background) so I thought would provide a great training environment and good prospects for the future.

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

My area of specialty is patents and biotechnology.

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

A typical day starts with a coffee and reading any emails that have come in overnight. Based on that, I decide how I am going to use my time that day. It could be advising clients on particular problems they have or writing to patent offices on a client’s behalf to try to convince the patent office examiner to grant the client’s patent.

Some days I might also visit clients or, or more infrequently, go to hearings at the European Patent Office, either in Munich or The Hague.

I am also involved in the firm’s inclusivity and wellbeing working group and the UK Biotech BD group, which sometimes involves going to internal meetings, external events, or doing background work or research.

A further role I have at the firm is as a mental health first aider. This is training Potter Clarkson paid for me to gain, and means that, from time-to-time, I talk to employees who need help with their mental wellbeing, largely signposting them to where they can get further assistance.

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

In 2019, I was involved in a large High Court biotech case. Although the case settled on the evening before the trial was due to start, it was a great result for our client.

This provided a great opportunity to work on a fast-paced, high-value piece of work, with a great team of professionals from different parts of the firm.

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

I would strongly suggest looking into the career before you apply by reading about what the job entails or trying to talk to those in the profession. The training, whilst rewarding, is quite a challenge. It is good to know what you are letting yourself in for before you start, and employers like to know that candidates are joining the profession with their eyes open.

Also, the application process is quite competitive, with a large number of candidates going for a small number of roles. Therefore a further advantage of knowing more about the profession is that it can help you to stand out in your covering letter and in any interview.