Whilst I was a PhD student, I became quite specialised in a technical field. However, I knew that I didn’t want to continue in academia, and I also felt that I didn’t want to work solely in industry.
This led me to look around at many different options for what to do once I had completed my PhD. It was during this time that a career in intellectual property came up as a possibility. I did some more digging into what a career in IP might look like and used the application process as a way of finding out whether it really was for me. Ever since I received a job offer as a Trainee Patent Attorney from Secerna, I haven’t looked back.
One of the main things that attracted me was the regular direct contact that I would have with the partners. My understanding was that this isn’t always straightforward at large firms and was a one of the biggest draws for me. The size of the firm helps with this, and also means that you’re not just pushed into a particular area of speciality, which I got the feeling can happen in some large firms. I’m exposed to a lot of different technologies in my work at Secerna, which is something I really enjoy.
The location was another reason for me choosing Secerna. I have lived in York for 10 years and absolutely love it here.
The day always starts with a coffee while I check my diary for tasks that need my attention for the coming few weeks. I also review files for some of the cases that I am assigned to and look into any other tasks that may have been sent over from Jason, Charlotte or any one of the team.
Part of my day involves preparing letters and documents for responding to official communications from patent offices for cases that I’m working on. Preparing responses to official communications involves reviewing the law around a set of objections that have been raised for a patent application. It’s essential to fully understand these objections and test to see if they are fair and just. If we feel that they aren’t, we need to put together arguments as to why the objections should be overturned.
Alternatively, part of my day may involve drafting patent applications, which is something that I really enjoy. It allows you to delve into the intricacies of an invention to put together a patent application that you feel will help your client to obtain the best protection possible for their invention. Also, it’s a good feeling when a patent is granted from an application that you have been involved with.
A typical afternoon may then involve discussing a proposed strategy for responding to an Office action with the primary attorney on the case. It may also involve some further reading on patent law in general. As a trainee, preparing for patent qualifying exams is also an important part of each day.
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