What do you need to be a patent attorney?
You will need a good science or engineering degree alongside excellent communication skills. You must be able to grasp new technology quickly and be confident to ask searching questions to inventors and research teams. You will need to formulate clear and concise correspondence to clients and foreign patent attorney firms. Therefore more than a good grasp of English grammar is essential.
You will need to develop very good people skills and be confident to advise them clearly and confidently.
Deadlines form a major part of the job and the ability to deal with these and work in a time-pressured environment is also essential.
You will need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur as well as understand the management and political issues of an in-house management team. The ability to see the bigger picture is essential.
What is good and bad about the job?
The job is intellectually stimulating and financially very rewarding especially once you reach qualification. It also provides good job security and the opportunity to meet and work with a variety of different businesses.
However, competition is stiff on entry into the profession. The examinations are tough to pass and the post graduate examinations are spread over four or five years even if you progress quickly. The likelihood is that you will not qualify much before the age of 28 – 30.
Will you help me pass the exams?
Yes. We provide full assistance for trainees to qualify for the UK Final Examinations and the European Patent Attorney Qualifications. We pay for your attendance on various courses and tutorials and also provide paid time off work to attend these courses. However you will need to dedicate yourself to study extensively in your own time.
Is work experience helpful?
Work experience at a patent attorney firm can be helpful in providing a snap shot of the job itself. However it is more important to chat to trainees and patent attorneys already in the profession.
Studying and qualification
The patent attorney examinations comprise five main parts: Foundation Examinations, UK Qualifying Examinations (Finals), Pre European Examination (Pre EQE), European Qualifying Examinations (EQEs) and then finally Litigation Skills Examinations only available after passing finals. To qualify fully, patent trainees need to pass all these sets of exams and unfortunately they do have a low pass rate, however we would expect most of our trainees to pass within one or two sittings. We typically send out trainees on the Brunel University course to qualify for the foundation level. This is a six month course with day release from the office. We would then send candidates for the final examinations on various residential revision courses appropriate to the examinations they wish to take in a particular year.
How to apply
To apply for a vacancy with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Covering letter
- For graduate applications, a piece of written work as outlined below.
For graduate applications for trainee patent attorney vacancies:
In around 500 words, please draft a description of a non-electrical household item, outlining the purpose of the implement, any noteworthy features, how it is made and how it works.
For graduate applications for trainee trade mark attorney vacancies:
Please envisage you are planning to launch a new savoury snack. We’d like you to choose a trade mark for it and ‘sell your idea’ to us in around 500 words.