• Role: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Manchester
  • University: Manchester
  • Degree: Chemical Engineering (PhD) and Chemistry (BSc, 1st Hons)

Joseph Flood

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What made you decide to become a Patent Attorney?

During the second year of my PhD, I started to realise that a career in academia simply wasn’t for me. Whilst I enjoyed the technical aspects of my work, I found myself frustrated by glacial-pace data collection and the occasional botched experiment. I wanted a career that provided intellectual challenges, allowed me to use my scientific knowledge and interfaced technology and its commercialisation. Turning to my university’s career advisor, I discovered the patent attorney profession, which seemed to provide an ideal match to my requirements. Having a varied technical background and desiring exposure to a range of industries, I decided to pursue a career in private practice. My role is naturally varied, and working with a diverse range of clients provides exciting new challenges.

How did you get your job at Appleyard Lees?

Prior to applying for a role at Appleyard Lees, I used online resources to find out more about the culture and values of the firm. Additionally, I used the Espacenet database to find a couple of patents of relevance to my technical field for which Appleyard Lees was the representative. Once I felt sufficiently prepared, I applied to Appleyard Lees via their website, and I was invited for an interview the following day. After the initial interview and subsequently three days of work experience, I was delighted to be offered a position.

What is it like working at Appleyard Lees?

Appleyard Lees is a fantastic firm, and this is reflected by its knowledgeable, attentive and welcoming staff. There is an excellent support network of trainees and senior staff, all of whom are keen to help with any matter. Over the next few months, I shall be preparing for the foundation examinations, which will involve considerable study time. To smooth the process, Appleyard Lees provides in-house support and sends its trainees on external courses. In summary, I feel supported, valued and welcomed at Appleyard Lees.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to work in the profession?

One piece of advice, which may seem obvious, is to research the role in considerable detail. Competition for a trainee position is intense, so learning about key concepts relating to, for example, patentability, will only be beneficial. Further, I would advise anyone serious about working in the profession to obtain work experience with a patent attorney; this would provide a useful introduction to the world of patent law and an idea of day-to-day activities

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