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A Career as a Patent Attorney


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Presentation by Caroline Carter from Abel & Imray, at the University of Sussex, December 2011

Published in: Career, Business
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A Career as a Patent Attorney

  1. 1. A Career as a Patent Attorney Caroline Carter, Chartered Patent Attorney, European Patent Attorney 1 December 2011
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>introduction to patents and other IP </li></ul><ul><li>the role of a patent attorney </li></ul><ul><li>the skills needed to be a successful in the profession </li></ul><ul><li>tips on applying for trainee positions </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is a Patent? <ul><li>A patent is a monopoly of limited duration over an invention granted to an applicant by a government. </li></ul><ul><li>Must be applied for - is not granted automatically </li></ul><ul><li>Even a successful application (“granted patent”) can be cancelled or declared unenforceable at any time if found to have been wrongly granted. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Patents are one form of IPR…. <ul><li>… Intellectual Property Rights. </li></ul><ul><li>Others include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Trade Marks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Designs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Copyright </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Confidential information (Know-how, trade secrets) </li></ul></ul>IPR are intangible assets, but can be traded like tangible assets, e.g. houses, cars etc
  5. 5. Patents stimulate invention and hence economic growth The public interest “deal” on patents… The state grants a monopoly over commercial use of the invention for a limited period of time…. return for a full disclosure of the invention to the public
  6. 6. Provisions vary from country to country Patentability An invention is patentable if it is: NEW! non-obvious and not specifically excluded from patentability by statute useful in industry
  7. 7. What goes in to a Patent Specification? <ul><li>Claims – set the boundaries of the monopoly sought </li></ul><ul><li>Description and Drawings – provides disclosure of the invention which supports the claims, and which allows the skilled person to perform the invention </li></ul><ul><li>Abstract – primarily for searching purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Title </li></ul>
  8. 8. What a patent looks like <ul><li>Country, number, title, inventor, owner, dates, biblio data.. </li></ul><ul><li>Abstract </li></ul><ul><li>Drawings </li></ul><ul><li>Description </li></ul><ul><li>CLAIMS define monopoly </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Patenting Process Drafting/Filing Prosecution Grant Invention Opposition Litigation
  10. 10. Patent Attorney – day-to-day job <ul><li>Drafting – discussing invention with inventors, IP manager, understanding technology, clear written description </li></ul><ul><li>Prosecution – expressing arguments clearly in writing, analysing prior art documents, communicating with foreign attorneys, IP manager </li></ul><ul><li>Opinion/Opposition/Licensing work – communicating with business people, solicitors, EPO Boards </li></ul>
  11. 11. Patent Attorney Trainee <ul><li>The skills/experience you will need: </li></ul>Scientific skills – at least a 2:1 degree, possibly a Masters/DPhil – physics, chemistry, biochemistry/biotech, engineering, computer science … Communication skills – written, oral (presentations etc, adaptable to circumstances), languages (French, German, other) Analytical skills Time management Legal skills (acquired during training)
  12. 12. Patent Attorney Trainee <ul><li>How do I acquire the legal skills? </li></ul><ul><li>CIPA Informals lecture series (Monday/Tuesday evenings) </li></ul><ul><li>Queen Mary course or UK Foundation exams or other course (Brunel, Manchester, Bournemouth) </li></ul><ul><li>UK Advanced Examinations </li></ul><ul><li>European Qualifying Examination (after three years' training) </li></ul><ul><li>Internal/CIPA/epi tutorials, revision courses </li></ul>
  13. 13. Applying for a trainee position <ul><li>Types of employer: </li></ul>Private practice firms – 20-30 firms, various sizes, mainly in London, but also in other regions, mainly cities including Bristol, Bath, Southampton, Brighton, Cardiff, Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester etc Industrial patent departments Government agencies – e.g. MOD
  14. 14. Applying for a trainee position <ul><li>Hints and tips: </li></ul>Send speculative applications (CV and covering letter – use application form if on website) Send applications before the end of the year – many firms look at CVs in January Don't worry about a few rejections (only a couple of jobs per firm) Research the company/people interviewing you
  15. 15. Other related careers <ul><li>Trade mark attorney </li></ul><ul><li>IP Solicitor </li></ul><ul><li>IP Barrister </li></ul><ul><li>Technology Transfer </li></ul><ul><li>Patent Examiner </li></ul>
  16. 16. Further Information <ul><li>Careers Service </li></ul><ul><li>Inside Careers Guide – </li></ul><ul><li>CIPA (Charterered Institute of Patent Attorneys) – </li></ul><ul><li>UKIPO (UK Intellectual Property Office) – </li></ul><ul><li>EPO (European Patent Office) – </li></ul><ul><li>Abel & Imray website – </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><ul><ul><li>From our website: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Trainee Patent Attorney </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Current job vacancy - Trainee Patent Attorney – Electronics/Electrical Engineering Graduate </li></ul><ul><li>Our Cardiff office is seeking to recruit a Trainee Patent Attorney with a degree in electronics/electrical engineering or in engineering with specialisation in electronics/electrical subject matter, or who has subsequent experience in those fields. The day-to-day work will cover a wide variety of engineering subject matter areas, but an ability to work on electronics/electrical subject matter is essential. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Caroline Carter, 1 December 2011 A Career as a Patent Attorney - Any Questions?