John Harbottle in profile

John Harbottle in profile

What led you into a career in IP?

I’ve always had an interest in science and technology and I wanted to use as much of the knowledge I had gained from my time at university. A career in IP allows me to do this and apply it to real-world inventions.

Getting to be one of the first people to see a brand-new invention and learn how it works is another thing that led me to intellectual property. It’s unique to be in such a privileged position and not something I take for granted.

What is the best thing about your job?

For me, being at the forefront of cutting-edge technology is the best part of my job. I know I’m in a highly fortunate position to get to see innovations before anyone else and find out how and why they have been developed.

The team we have at Secerna also make my job incredibly enjoyable. It’s great to work with such exceptionally bright and talented people. There are endless opportunities to learn both legal and technical points from those around me.

What bought you to Secerna?

The size and location of the firm were two big factors in making me want to work at Secerna. The size means that I got to be hands on with clients and patent work from day one. It also means that I get to work directly with the Partners, who are both amazing attorneys, and so I can learn directly from them, both in patent matters and on the workings of the firm.

Secerna also has a strong reputation for excellence and works with some incredible clients. I knew straight away that it was the place for me. Being based in the north was also a bonus for me - I love living in Newcastle!

What does a typical day look like?

This is slightly tricky, as there are no two days that look the same. The only part of the day that stays the same is that I always check my emails and my diary first thing. From there it is a real mix, which makes my role so interesting.

If I take today, for example, I have been reviewing legal documents that have been issued from the patent office and forwarding them on to our clients. I’ve also been drafting a reply to objections raised by a patent examiner in respect of a different application. Tomorrow, however, I’m meeting a client to discuss opposition strategy and also working on a draft patent application.

What advice would you give someone considering a career in IP?

The role of a Patent Attorney is a unique one, so be fully aware of what it entails. Do your research into the firms that you may want to work at and make sure that what they do and the way that they work is a fit for you. I can’t recommend it as a career highly enough.

What interests you outside of work?

One of the best things about living in Newcastle is that I get the best of both the countryside and the city.

I love to be in the outdoors playing sport, and the local area is fantastic for this. I’m only ten minutes from the beach, so I go and surf as often as possible. In the summer, you will often find me playing golf or cricket,and I also enjoy mountain biking in Northumberland National Park.

I’m also only a short journey away from the city centre. Newcastle has great mix of places to eat and drink, too, and is always good for spending time catching up with friends.

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