Careers Service Occupations

Patent Work

Patent Work


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:

Find professional bodies outside of the UK on GoinGlobal by selecting ‘Professional and Personal Networking’ on each of the individual country guides. 

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:


Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insights and opportunities to make contacts. Regular events organised by the Careers Service include Employer & Sector Insights and Recruitment Events.

Related sectors

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

Roles & Skills

To become a trainee patent attorney you’ll need a degree in a science, engineering, technology or a mathematics based subject.

Trainee patent attorneys complete most of their training on the job.  Alongside their work they will prepare for and sit exams to join the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg), the regulatory body for the profession. 

Have a look at the job profiles in this sector on Prospects and targetjobs to find out more about what these roles involve and how to get into them. These are just some of the profiles available:

Skills employers look for

  • 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 has a member directory, which is useful for researching and contacting companies directly. 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 also the Gaining Experience tabs on the following pages:

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

Find jobs and additional vacancy source websites outside of the UK on GoinGlobal.

Finding companies

CIPA Directory of Patent Attorneys and Inside Careers provide a list of employers. The ABPI provides a list of pharmaceutical recruiters.

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.