“At school I enjoyed sciences and knew that to study Chemistry at university I’d need to do maths and sciences at A level. After school I studied for an MChem with a year in industry, followed by a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry at Southampton. Throughout my time at university there was always this perception that the career path was through academia and then into lab work. So I always assumed that was what my career would be and after I finished my PhD I did work in industry for around 3 years.
I’d looked at Patents and used them when researching but I hadn’t really thought about the work involved in producing a patent from a development. I found out about the Patent Examiner job from a friend who was training to be an attorney. I’m not sure it had occurred to me that it was an actual job before that, and I feel really lucky to have stumbled across it.
I started working at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) with a group of other new examiners and we had our initial training together. That was great because we had each other to talk through as we learned. I was a bit worried that they’d all be new graduates and I’d be making a career change, but actually it was a really diverse group with a big range of ages and backgrounds.
The best part of my job is the variety, I get to work on completely different inventions from one day to the next, often from the front line of research and innovation. The IPO gives me opportunities to do work outside of examining too, I’ve recently joined the recruitment team, so I spend some of my time helping to recruit the next intake of examiners. This appealed to me because I feel I found the job by chance and I want to make sure more people are aware of it. I also have a lot of flexibility over how, where and when I work so that I can make my job work for me.”
Patent Examiner / UK Intellectual Property Office / Newport (Wales)