Helga Chapman


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“While completing my engineering degree at university, we were invited to choose between architecture and law for a short course with a once weekly lecture; the head of faculty thought that, as engineers, we would need to have something vaguely interesting to talk about at dinner parties! I chose the law module and found it so fascinating that I took to the careers library to research potential career opportunities within the legal world. It was then that I stumbled upon the patent profession. Finding a career which combined science and law seemed the perfect path away from the traditional graduate engineering roles.

I joined a large private IP practice as a trainee patent and trade mark attorney, and during the next four to five years I worked through the extensive exams set by the Institute and the EPO to qualify. The exam system certainly tested your commitment to the profession. My next move was to Rolls-Royce plc where I gained very useful in-house experience and met some brilliant inventors (and patent attorneys), a very different job to the billing-orientated and fast moving private practice environment.

I later developed an entrepreneurial interest for developing my own practice and was drawn to the idea of returning to the more varied, private work that I loved, along with having some flexibility and control of my future. My own practice was born and grew over the ensuing 15 years. Today, it is a very busy and still growing business, employing 20-30 people and expanding in Europe. Over the years new partners have joined me, and together we are developing the business collaboratively with a great team.

Starting and building a business is not always plain sailing and not for the faint hearted, but one thing is certain: looking back to the early 1990s, pre-Google® days, reading the “Inside Careers” booklet and uncovering this somewhat hidden profession, has led to an exciting and rewarding career.”

Patent Attorney & Partner / Chapman+Co / Winchester

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