Careers advice and industry news
- Inside Careers - company profiles and careers advice in association with the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys
- The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) - guide to working in patenting
- New Scientist - includes recent news stories in patent work and intellectual property
- Intellectual Property Office: Careers
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:
- Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA)
- Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
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:
- Graduate Connections – graduates happy to give you advice about the kind of work they do
- Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice
- Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter - useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. Subscribe to our patent work twitter list.
Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and other sector events give insight and opportunities to make contacts.
Takeaway resources available in the Careers Service
- Inside Careers Guide to Chartered Patent Attorneys 2017/18
Roles & Skills
The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.
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
Having relevant experience on your CV is vital for demonstrating your knowledge to employers. It also develops your key skills and highlights your commitment.
- Inside Careers: Patent attorneys - internships and placements
- European Patent Office - internships and traineeships for graduates
- WIPO: Internship opportunities - summer internship program
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
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.
- IP Jobs
- CIPA - lists jobs advertised in the latest supplement of the CIPA journal
- EPO: Jobs - vacancies and information about working for the European Patent Office
- Civil Service job search – includes opportunities in the Intellectual Property Office
- The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys - advertised appointments within the field
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.
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.
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.