Inspire me

Our whole society is built on ‘intellectual property’. Your phone. The music on it. Even your textbooks. It all starts with ideas.

Just like any other property, there are people who make a living buying and selling IP, working with inventors, scientists, artists and celebrities releasing the potential of ideas, making them valuable, guarding them.

Some went to uni, some didn’t. Either way, they all started out like you.

What is intellectual property?

Why work in ideas?

What careers are there in ideas?

Getting a career in ideas

A career for anyone

Ideas people

What is intellectual property?

We all have ideas. And sometimes people will pay you for them.

Intellectual property – or ‘IP’ – is anything that might be worth something, but where the valuable bit is more of an idea than a physical object. See our jargon buster.

A house is ‘property’, because there’s something physical there. The design for a house, on the other hand, is intellectual property because, even when it’s drawn out on blueprints, it’s the idea that’s valuable, not the paper it’s printed on. Read more…

Why work in ideas?

Careers in ideas mix creativity with the practical application of imagination through science and engineering. They combine the detailed eye of a lawyer with an enterprising business brain. And they bring together opportunities in arts and media with solutions to global challenges.

Intellectual property is a current flowing under so much of modern society. That means working in IP puts you at the heart of important developments.

It also means careers in ideas not only bring respect and responsibility, but also good salaries and rewards.

What careers are there in ideas?

From high-flying lawyers to super-efficient administrators, from innovative designers to international business people, there are many careers in ideas and intellectual property. Read more…

Take a closer look at just some of the roles, meet people who do those jobs and search for openings for you.

Read more…

Getting a career in ideas

There are career openings in intellectual property whether you’re a school-leaver at 16 or you have postgraduate qualifications. Read more…

At the more junior level, the opportunities are mostly in administrative roles. Given the level of qualifications needed, they are varied and exciting roles, that soon come with plenty of responsibility and decent pay. If you’re organised and have good business skills, you can rise through the ranks fast.

The more senior roles though are for graduates – often people who’ve studied science, engineering,  law, or even a combination of them. Many jobs will require specific qualifications for entry and/or on-the-job training.

For more details, take a look at the descriptions of different roles here.

The best route into a career in IP is to get some work experience in the field. That helps you test whether it could be the career for you, but it also helps you grow your understanding and shows your enthusiasm. Try approaching some of the supporters of this website, or, for current opportunities, look here.

A career for anyone

The wide demands of careers in IP – legal, technical, scientific and administrative – mean there are opportunities for everyone, regardless of background, race, gender, sexuality or physical ability. Read more…

Ideas people

All sorts of people find fulfilling careers in IP, from different backgrounds in different roles. The jobs are generally well paid and offer more than just money. There are challenges, excitements, recognition and responsibility.

Meet some of those people here and hear their stories…

Did you know?

Sildenafil was patented as a heart-drug, but it got another patent when a side effect was noticed. It’s now sold as Viagra.

What careers are there in ideas?

Graduate

Technical Translator

Patents can be complicated and technical, but they need to be understood by people all over the …

Key skills: Amazing language skills - nothing short of bilingual
Needs: Ideally a degree in languages & a Masters or diploma in translation
Avg starting salary: £***

More information

Graduate

Technology Transfer Officer

A lot of the best research goes on in universities.  Sometimes, research teams realise they’ve created or …

Key skills: A bit of science, a bit of law, and a lot of business enterprise
Needs: Typically a science degree, or a law or business degree together with a keen interest in science and technology
Avg starting salary:

More information Read a case study

Graduate

Patent Searcher / Analyst

If you invent something, how do you know no one else has thought of it before? You …

Key skills: A strong head for analysing and interpreting numbers/stats
Needs: A degree in a science area
Avg starting salary: £***

More information Read a case study

Graduate

Licensing Executive

If you want to use someone else’s intellectual property – whether it’s a patent, music rights, or …

Key skills: A business and legal mind-set and excellent negotiation skills
Needs: Usually you need a degree, preferably in law (or maybe in science for patent licensing)
Avg starting salary:

More information

School leaver

Trade Mark Examiner (UK)

Working at the Intellectual Property Office, a trade mark examiner assesses whether an application for a trade …

Key skills: An analytical mind and the ability to communicate clearly and accurately in written reports
Needs: At least 2 A levels (or equivalent)
Avg starting salary: £***

More information

Graduate

Patent Attorney

A patent attorney is someone who’s qualified to give advice to people about patents and to act …

Key skills: English language skills, an aptitude for law, a close eye for detail
Needs: Science or engineering degree, possibly a PhD
Avg starting salary: £25,000

More information Read a case study

Graduate

IP Journalist

IP is a world of intrigues and innovations, breakthroughs and break-ups.  Somebody needs to tell these stories, …

Key skills: An inquiring mind and a sharp writing style
Needs: An understanding of the law and science could be helpful (but isn't essential).
Avg starting salary:

More information

School leaver

Formalities Examiner (UK)

Formalities examiners check that when people (or companies) apply for their ownership of IP to be officially …

Key skills: Well organised and able to organise other people. A stickler for detail
Needs: 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) - preferably more
Avg starting salary: £***

More information

School leaver

IP Legal Secretary / Paralegal

Legal secretaries and paralegal assistants do all sorts of jobs such as filing and routine tasks, managing …

Key skills: Good time management, an ability to hit deadlines in a busy environment
Needs: 5 GCSEs (or equivalent)
Avg starting salary: £***

More information Read a case study

School leaver

IP Administrator

IP administrators are the ones who make the office run smoothly by providing administrative and secretarial support

Key skills: Great time management and organisation skills
Needs: GCSEs as a minimum, and ideally office experience
Avg starting salary: £***

More information Read a case study

Graduate

IP Judge

A judge presides over legal disputes in courts or in hearings, ruling on matters of law and …

Key skills: Years of successful experience as a senior barrister or solicitor
Needs: Years of successful experience as a senior barrister or solicitor
Avg starting salary: £***

More information Read a case study

Graduate

IP Solicitor

A solicitor gives legal advice to clients and represents them in negotiations or disputes.

Key skills: Legal & business skills like negotiating, commercial acumen, interpersonal skills
Needs: A good law degree or law conversion course, then the Legal Practice Course
Avg starting salary: £***

More information Read a case study

Graduate

IP Barrister

When we think of lawyers, we often think of people arguing a case in court. That’s pretty …

Key skills: Ability to get to the heart of complicated disputes quickly & tease out relevant issues
Needs: A good law degree or law conversion course. Then lots of training
Avg starting salary: £***

More information Read a case study

Graduate

Trade Mark Attorney

If you own a brand, you want to ensure that no one can cash in on your …

Key skills: An eye for detail and the ability to communicate clearly with clients
Needs: Usually a 2:1 degree, often in law or business
Avg starting salary: £18,000-£28,000

More information Read a case study

Graduate

Patent Examiner (Europe)

A patent examiner who works at the European Patent Office (EPO) performs a similar job to a …

Key skills: Excellent language skills in English, French or German
Needs: Dependent on specific job within sector
Avg starting salary: €55,000

More information Read a case study

Graduate

Patent Examiner (UK)

Working at the Intellectual Property Office, a patent examiner decides whether applications for patents can be granted.

Key skills: Good technical knowledge and communication skills
Needs: A degree in a science, technology or maths discipline
Avg starting salary: £***

More information Read a case study

Ideas people

Gideon Agbanoma

Patent Attorney - London

“Unlike a lot of my contemporaries, I was not informed about the patent profession while I studied my undergraduate degree...

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Saiful Khan

Patent Attorney - Nottingham

“I’d studied engineering for my undergraduate studies and was fortunate enough to be sponsored by an oil company. This meant...

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Ikechi Iwenofu

IP Administrator - London

“I entered the trade mark profession by chance after completing a law degree. While working as a temp, I was...

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Suzanne Oliver

Patent Attorney - Cambridge

“I studied Electronics at University and then I started work at Nortel Networks, a telecommunications company in Harlow, Essex as...

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Ashley Evans

Patent Searcher - Newport (Wales)

“I was introduced to patent researching via a recommendation of a friend who had applied for a patent searcher position,...

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Sarah Neil

Trade Mark Attorney - London

“I studied IP during my law degree and after deciding that the traditional solicitor/barrister route was not for me, but...

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Chris Burnett

Patent Attorney - London

“I found out about the patent profession by chance whilst at university. Whilst I enjoyed my Biochemistry course, I was...

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Karen Leung

IP Administrator - Halifax

“I am head of records and renewals with Appleyard Lees, but didn’t start off in that role. I joined as...

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Anna Bartholomew

Patent Attorney - Woking

“I chose to study Mechanical Engineering at university because I loved, and still do love, maths and science. However, after...

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Geoff Hussey

IP Solicitor - London

“After completing my genetics degree at university I set about trying to work out what to do with the rest...

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Rhiannon Turner

Patent Attorney - Cheddar

“I was most of the way through my second degree when I heard about being a patent attorney, as a...

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Chris Hall

IP Barrister - London

“Think of a barrister and you probably imagine dusty old books, wigs, and average TV dramas.  But you need not...

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Ryan Weeks

IP Legal Secretary - London

“I entered the profession after studying a law degree at university, where one of the modules was IP law. The...

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Anita Shaw

Patent Attorney - Winchester

“Confession: I come into work each day looking forward to the challenges that I will face – not many people...

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Deepti Nigam

Patent Attorney - Buckinghamshire

Trainee

“My first brush with IP was a chance encounter.  During the final semester of my dual degree program (B. Pharm...

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Monika Kraszewska-Hamilton

Technology Transfer Officer - London

“Sometime during the final year of my Master’s in Biotechnology I realised that even though I thoroughly enjoy science, a...

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Mark Bearfoot

Trade Mark Attorney - London & Oxford

“My route to the profession was a little unorthodox.  I actually left school at 16 and found myself an office...

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Sir Colin Birss

IP Judge - London

“I went to a state school. The idea of becoming a lawyer was not on my radar until well after...

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Annsley Merelle Ward

IP Litigator - London

“I dreamed of being a doctor. When I was 17, I was in the midst of my chemical engineering undergraduate...

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Helga Chapman

Patent Attorney - Winchester

“While completing my engineering degree at university, we were invited to choose between architecture and law for a short course...

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Emily Teesdale

Patent Attorney - London & Bath

“I have always preferred maths and science to languages, arts and humanities. But after taking Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Further...

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Emily Cottrill

Patent Attorney - London

“Like many patent attorneys, I started off life as a keen undergraduate, fully expecting to keep on the white coat...

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David Llewellyn

Trade Mark Attorney - Cambridge

“My journey started nearly 20 years ago. I studied biochemistry at university and I liked it so much, I stayed...

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Susi Fish

Patent Attorney - Reading

“Having completed a Masters and PhD in Mechanical Engineering (specialising in biomedical engineering), I was faced with the decision about...

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James Love

IP Solicitor - Leeds

“Throughout my undergraduate physics degree, I always anticipated I would be pursuing a life in scientific research. However, in the...

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Julia Tribe

IP Administrator - West Sussex

“I fell into the profession purely by chance. Having risen through the ranks of Private Secretary / Personal Assistant to...

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Auguste van Poelgeest

Patent Examiner (Europe) - Germany

“I studied mechanical engineering with French at the University of Bath in the UK and spent two semesters in France...

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Xavier Dauw

Patent Examiner (Europe) - Germany

“After my masters in semiconductor physics, my PhD and a couple of years in industry, I became aware of the...

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Rachel Garrod

Trade Mark Attorney - Halifax

Trainee

“I am currently undertaking a training contract, to become a Trade Mark Attorney, with Appleyard Lees. My route to becoming...

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Tom Leonard

Patent Attorney - London

“I am a patent attorney specialising in life sciences and have been in the profession for nearly 11 years. I...

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Jennie Flint

Technology Transfer Officer - Cambridge

“After finishing my PhD in chemistry, I realised that I didn’t want a career in academia but wasn’t sure what...

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Debra Smith

Patent Attorney - Swindon

“I studied mechanical engineering at university and was sponsored by the research laboratories of a large company. I worked at...

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David Spinner

Patent Attorney - Cheddar

“Leaving university, I had no idea what I wanted to do.  Although I ideally wanted to use my science degree,...

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Kerri Stenning

Patent Examiner (UK) - Newport (Wales)

“At school I enjoyed sciences and knew that to study Chemistry at university I’d need to do maths and sciences...

Read more