Careers Service Occupations

Patent Work

Patent Work

About

Careers advice and industry news

Government departments

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. 

They often provide careers support for students and graduates. They also provide development for people already working in the sector. 

Follow them on LinkedIn or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Making contacts

Making contacts is useful for success in this sector. Gaining insight and arranging work experience can be through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and other sector events give insight and opportunities to make contacts. 

For events listings see Careers Service events or External Events.

Takeaway resources available in the Careers Service

  • Inside Careers Guide to Chartered Patent Attorneys 2017/18

Related sectors

You may also be interested in Legal Professions or Science Careers Outside The Lab – which includes regulatory affairs.

Roles & Skills

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

Patent attorney

Patent examiner

Trade mark attorney

Skills employers look for

Employers look for skills including:

  • knowledge of scientific and engineering techniques and principles 
  • excellent written and oral communication skills
  • the ability to clearly and concisely explain complex technical ideas 
  • a high level of attention to detail and accuracy
  • an understanding of legal and commercial issues
  • the ability to take on responsibility and work independently

Gaining Experience

Having relevant experience on your CV is vital for demonstrating your knowledge to employers. It also develops your key skills and highlights your commitment.

Advertised opportunities

Speculative approach

CIPA is a member directory. ABPI provides a list of pharmaceutical recruiters, including those who offer work experience opportunities.

You don’t have to confine your work experience to the patent sector. Patent employers will also value any time you spend within a law firm. 

Experience in a scientific or technical environment, eg pharmaceuticals, can enhance legal or technical understanding. 

An advantage of getting work experience within a law firm is you could spend time in their intellectual property department.

See the Gaining Experience tabs on the following pages:

Careers Service resources

Finding Jobs

Graduate and non-graduate patent work vacancies are advertised via the websites listed below.

Graduate schemes & entry level jobs

Inside Careers: Chartered Patent Attorneys gives details of graduate vacancies with patent employers.

Vacancy sites

Finding companies

CIPA Directory of Patent Attorneys  and Inside Careers provide a list of employers.

Study & Training

Patent attorneys usually hold an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a science, technology, engineering or maths. Trademark attorneys can have an undergraduate degree in any subject, although law, English or modern languages can be an advantage.

Patent attorney

An MSc or PhD isn’t always required. It can be an advantage as it shows significant technical understanding.

To become a patent attorney you will need to complete a series of exams and professional training. 

Many firms offer training programmes which support graduates to develop knowledge and skills. These help in completing the qualifications and finding work as a patent attorney.

More information about qualifications and training is available on Inside Careers.

Trademark attorney

To qualify you'll need to complete a postgraduate course, practice course and two years' work experience under a registered trademark attorney.

Qualifying can take about four years and be expensive, although most employers provide funding.

Trainees are employed in specialist trademark attorney firms, patent attorney firms or trademark departments of general law firms.

More information about qualifications and training is on Prospects and Inside Careers.