For me, the biggest draw towards the patent attorney profession was the promise of being able to work on something new every day. After a PhD and a short post-doc, I wanted more variety and a faster pace. As a patent attorney at J A Kemp, I might work on five different cases in a typical week, each with its own unique challenges. Another appealing aspect of this job is the ability to learn something completely new – law. The day-to-day work of a patent attorney requires us to combine legal and technical thinking. After years of narrowing your field of study throughout school and university, suddenly opening it up to something entirely different is quite exciting.
There are many aspects of our work that are intellectually satisfying. I view a lot of patent prosecution as problem-solving. The prior art, the features of the invention, and the requirements of the law are the constraints. Your job as a patent attorney is to maximise the scope of protection for the client within those (and often other) constraints. Can you spot a restriction of the patent claim scope, which will enable the client to get worthwhile protection for their invention, whilst distinguishing the invention from what has come before? Or can you identify a flaw in the patent examiner’s reasoning and put forward a convincing argument? If you consider yourself a problem solver, you might enjoy this type of work too.
Last but not least, a great part of working at J A Kemp is the people I work with. There are many different teams and systems in place to support your work and keep everything running smoothly. Exams can be daunting but everyone around you wants you to succeed. Plus, you get to work with lots of clever and interesting people. If you are coming from working with academics, you will find that patent attorneys aren’t too different (and hopefully, like me, you consider that a good thing!)