Debra Smith


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“I studied mechanical engineering at university and was sponsored by the research laboratories of a large company. I worked at my sponsoring company during the holidays and after completing my degree. I loved research, but it took so long to get any results! I was persuaded to enhance my commercial skills and promptly swapped working in research for working at an engineering consultancy, which involved site supervision, and drafting and negotiation of contracts.

At the age of 24, I decided that I needed to try something new. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but was lucky enough to be employed by the Ministry of Defence in their “Directorate of Intellectual Property Rights”. I’d never heard the terms “intellectual property rights”, “patents” etc., but my commercial skills were beneficial and, as I discovered, intellectual Pproperty allowed me to enjoy the thrill of research, but without the disadvantage of having to wait for the results, i.e. someone else had done all the time-consuming work for me and I was just required to listen and convert their research into formal legal language, and thereby gain commercial advantage for all their hard work.

Even better, in hindsight, when I became “disabled” about 10 years after qualification as a patent attorney, I was able to perform most of my duties on-line and thus, although my travelling was somewhat curtailed, I continued with work and training, both of which I still find enjoyable.”

Patent Attorney / Mayfin IP Ltd / Swindon

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