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A Career as a Patent Attorney Dr Rachel Moodie Intellectual Property: Release its potential

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Presentation on theme: "A Career as a Patent Attorney Dr Rachel Moodie Intellectual Property: Release its potential"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Career as a Patent Attorney Dr Rachel Moodie Intellectual Property: Release its potential

2 What is a patent attorney? A lawyer with a scientific background (not a solicitor) who specialises in the field of intellectual property A patent attorney advises clients or his/her employer on: How to effectively legally protect their innovations. Analysing other parties’ patents to advise clients on risk of infringing

3 What is a patent? A patent is a grant by the state of a limited-term right to control the exploitation of an invention Patents can be granted for a wide range of technologies Examples from my own experience: I mostly work on: chemistry and biotech inventions such as: pharmaceuticals, peptides, antibodies, stem cells, viral vectors. But I have also come into contact with: retractable-heel shoes, heated golf club bag, light up toilet seat! Seldom specific to area of study Exciting to come in contact with so many different technologies

4 Typical work Interviewing inventors to understand how their new ideas work Drafting patent applications to define in writing what the invention is Acting on client’s behalf at Patent Offices around the world to secure grant of patent. - Mostly done in writing - Dialogue with foreign attorneys Defending patents that are being opposed by competitors Licensing, assigning, freedom to operate...

5 Types of clients Examples: Blue chip companies Lone inventors Start-ups and spin-outs Universities Foreign associates

6 Pros of the job: Pros: The opportunity to gain new skills, such as legal skills, whilst retaining contact with science Every day is different. There is a large variety of work Working at the cutting edge of technology Lots of travel opportunities, particularly when qualified Financially rewarding: -Trainees start on around: £25,000 to £35,000 - Newly qualified attorney: around £50,000 to £60,000 - Up to 3 years post-qualified: £75,000 to £80,000 - Head of IP department (in house): £100K to £250K - Partner (in private practice): £80K to £400K Salary information taken from

7 Cons of the job Cons: Lots of exams! (13 exams to qualify in the UK and Europe) It takes at least 3-4 years to qualify (plus retakes?!) Deadlines, pressure, responsible for patents worth up to hundreds of millions of pounds. Billing targets

8 Entry requirements No training in intellectual property is required Legal training is given on the job To train as a patent attorney you need knowledge of a technical/scientific area At least a 2.1 BSc in a technical or scientific discipline

9 Entry requirements continued The patent profession is one of the smallest professions in the UK. Very competitive as not many vacancies In 2008 there were 140 entrants to the profession in the UK. In 2009 there were 102 entrants to the profession in the UK. In 2010 there were 130 entrants to the profession in the UK number of successful applicants from universities: 1 st Oxford (16 recruits) 2 nd Cambridge (12 recruits) 3 rd London Imperial (11 recruits) 4 th Manchester (10) recruits 5 th Birmingham (7 recruits) 6 th Durham (5 recruits) - two thirds of chemistry/life science recruits have a PhD and a lot also have post doc experience and/or experience in industry

10 How to apply Speculative applications (I wrote to 50 firms!) -make sure each covering letter is individualised to each firm -perfect your covering letter and CV Positions advertised on the inside careers website:

11 Resources Inside Careers – Chartered Patent Attorneys Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys UK Intellectual Property Office Harrison Goddard Foote

12 Any Questions? Dr Rachel Moodie Harrison Goddard Foote Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys


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