After completing an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, I stayed on to do a PhD in Pharmacology. At the time I knew that I wanted to remain in science, but I soon discovered that academic research was not for me. I began researching options and stumbled across a job advert for “Trainee Patent Attorney”, not knowing at the time what exactly the job involved. However, since my experience seemed to match the job requirements, I decided to look into it. To my delight, the job seemed like a perfect match! I was (and still am!) particularly fascinated by the job’s unique combination of science, law and business, and the opportunity to work on a broad range of technology areas. I sent out a few applications and was extremely fortunate to have been offered a place at J A Kemp.
I joined J A Kemp’s Biotechnology and Life Sciences Group in October 2014. I remember being given real cases to work on on my first day, which was daunting initially. However, it is truly amazing how much you can learn by just doing the job. Since then, I have been involved in prosecuting patent applications not only in the UK and Europe, but also worldwide. I have handled work for different clients, ranging from start-ups, SMEs, universities to multinational biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. The cases that I have worked on span across a wide variety of different technology areas, such as antibodies and biologics, vaccines, plant sciences and medical devices, to name a few. There is always something new sitting on my desk that presents a different challenge, so I am pretty much guaranteed to never get bored! I also find it very exciting to follow the progress of a case that I have contributed to, knowing that everything that I have done is making a real-world impact.
At J A Kemp, each trainee is assigned a mentor who oversees their professional and career development. A comprehensive in-house training programme is in place to equip each trainee with the necessary technical skills for carrying out their daily job, as well as to help them prepare for the professional exams. There is also a monthly journal club where the trainees take turns to discuss the latest developments in case law. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with the trainees in the other groups and as a plus, there’s also free lunch! As a trainee approaches the end of their first year, the firm sends them on the Queen Mary Certificate in Intellectual Property course which provides a good grounding in the fundamentals of IP law and also exemption from the UK foundation level qualifying exams. I will be attending in September 2015 and am really looking forward to it!
One thing that I particularly like about J A Kemp is the exceptionally positive and supportive working environment. I am encouraged to ask for help whenever I get stuck and everyone is always willing to give a helping hand and offer their advice. In addition, trainees at J A Kemp have the opportunity to work with different Partners, which I understand is not always the case at other firms. I believe that being exposed to different working styles has helped me develop my “creativity skills”. Undeniably, these skills have proved to be useful, especially when formulating arguments in response to the patent examiner’s objections!
Looking back at the past year, I feel very privileged to have entered this profession, and in particular, that I started my career with J A Kemp. If what you have learned and heard about the profession appeals to you, I urge you to start sending out applications! Good luck!
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