Why did you join A.A. Thornton & Co.? And for how long have you been in your current role?
I researched the role of being a patent attorney from online sources and joined the profession because I was interested in the type of work. The combination of technical and legal aspects of the job appealed to me. I was advised by a recruitment advisor that the firm had a long history of dealing with a mixture of small and large clients, and after interviewing, found the team that interviewed me to be friendly and involved in interesting technologies.
I have been in my principal attorney role since mid-2013 but have been at the firm for over ten years.
What are your main responsibilities?
Directly advising UK-based and overseas clients on patent matters which includes drafting patent applications, reviewing prior art and advising on approaches to address objections by Patent Offices that examine clients’ applications. Communicating with the European and UK Intellectual Property Office on behalf of these clients, and communicating with overseas associates who handle cases on our clients’ behalf. Communication is normally in writing but I also speak to Examiners on the phone and in person at hearings to explain aspects of the client’s inventions. I also assist more junior colleagues with patent-related questions.
What is an average day for you like?
Checking deadlines; checking emails; checking letters and emails prepared by secretaries before they are sent to clients; Responding to an examination report; preparing instructions to assist overseas associates to file a response to an examination report on our client’s behalf; meeting with secretaries to decide whether to remind clients on approaching deadlines; assisting more junior technical staff with any queries on practice and approach.
What training have you received during your time at A.A. Thornton & Co.?
Training primarily from a partner in my department but also from colleagues; attending a Queen Mary University of London course to obtain a Certificate in IP law and exemptions from UK Foundation exams; internal and CIPA tutorials for assistance with final exams; CIPA lectures for final exams; internal continuing professional development (CPD) meetings to discuss various patent issues; attending seminars to assist with CPD.
What skills are required to carry out your role?
Good analytical and communication skills; attention to detail; a good technical background to enable you to understand and describe a client’s invention and spot the key technical aspects in order to define it in claims.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the variety of work due to the different clients for which I am responsible, meaning no two days are the same. I also very much enjoy overcoming objections in particularly tricky cases to secure patent protection for clients.
What does the future have in store for you?
I hope to progress within the firm to the next stage of Associate, which will mean involvement in the management of the firm and the firm’s future.
What would you say to anyone seeking a position at A.A. Thornton & Co.?
I would recommend applying if you want to work for a friendly firm which is focussed on providing an excellent service to clients.