Our 2023 Summer of IP programme provided a range of activities and events for would-be recruits to the IP professions – including introductions to the basics about IP and the careers available here, some more specific events to showcase particular types of career, and opportunities such as taster sessions and work experience placements from IP sector employers.
We asked participants to tell us about their Summer of IP experiences, what they learnt and what they enjoyed the most. We’ll be publishing the resultant blog posts here throughout the autumn. Here’s one from Gurveena Sidhu, a chemistry undergraduate at the University of Birmingham, who tells us about a Summer of IP event that gave her valuable insight into a career as a patent attorney.
I first heard about the Summer of IP event “Meet the patent professionals” on the IP Inclusive website, which I checked to see if there were any other events relating to IP which I could attend. I’ve always had an interest in chemistry, however I am keen to follow a career pathway which doesn’t involve lab work or research but encompasses scientific knowledge, writing and linguistic skills, and a career as a patent attorney offers just that. What particularly attracted me to this event was the opportunity to network with patent professionals, from IP solicitors to trainee patent attorneys. Indeed, the highlight of the event was definitely speaking one-to-one with a trainee patent attorney at Reddie & Grose, a highly respectable IP firm, and have any burning questions that I had answered. The experience taught me much more about IP, from learning about a typical day in the life of a patent attorney and the experience of taking patent examinations to the work/social life balance, which has further encouraged me to pursue a career in IP.
Before attending the Summer of IP events, I had a rough idea of what a career as a patent attorney entailed and the importance of patents for new inventions. However, I have now gained a detailed, thorough insight into all aspects of IP, from trade marks and designs to patent examining at the IPO. Another particular highlight of the event was learning about how to make your application stand out in an ever increasingly competitive industry of IP, with new technologies constantly being at the forefront of innovation. This was a particular interest of mine, as I am hoping to apply for internships and work experience at various patent firms, to hopefully differentiate my application from others, and this event only encouraged that by giving useful tips and advice.
What has also encouraged me to hopefully pursue a career in IP is the varied work that you are given as a trainee, which again was discussed in my conversation with the trainee patent attorney. Whilst the academic requirements can be rigorous, the work is extremely rewarding, and can vary from prosecuting patents by drafting patent applications before the EPO, to the more informal side of going out to meet inventors to discuss their new inventions, which for me definitely sounds like an interesting part of the job. For instance, a question that I had with the trainee was whether patent attorneys travel frequently abroad to meet clients or attend conferences, and indeed they do, especially to Munich as the European Patent Office is located there. As a keen linguist, I am also looking for a career that utilises and develops language skills, and therefore, the international nature of the work sounds like an exciting and stimulating part of the job.
Some of the main things which I will remember from this event will be the advice that the trainee gave to me when it comes to applying for graduate jobs. Whilst I am still researching other career options, a career as a patent attorney sounds appealing to me, and by attending future events like this and applying for internships, it will hopefully confirm that.
Our thanks to all the IP professionals and organisations who helped to make Summer of IP a success, and in particular to organiser Tom Hailes and his team who ran the “Meet the patent professionals” event.