• Role: Technical Assistant
  • Location: Brighton
  • University: Oxford
  • Degree: MEng Materials Science

Alex Ford

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After interning as an engineer and completing my Masters research project on graphene, I was sure that I wanted to have a scientific/engineering focus to my career, but knew that the academic research or graduate engineer routes were not for me. After working at Dehns for the last two years, I can safely say that the patent profession is a good choice for anyone with a similar outlook.

I work within the Engineering and Physical Sciences Department at Dehns, and this gives me the opportunity to work on a variety of different technologies from gas turbine engines to nanomaterials. The day-to-day of my job requires me to not only learn about new technologies, but also apply legal and commercial understanding to aid our clients, whether they are large multinationals or individual inventors. There is a lot of reading of documents and writing of letters and emails to clients, foreign associates, patent examiners and clients, but every day has a scientific/engineering focus.

I applied for jobs at a variety of firms, but decided to join Dehns because they are a Tier 1 Firm with a superb reputation for training. I was also attracted to the Brighton office, which provides all the advantages of a vibrant city lifestyle and the seaside, whilst still being close enough to London for those inevitable trips to see friends.

Dehns has a strong ‘learn by doing’ attitude, and from day one you are entrusted with your own cases to work on, having to understand new technologies and pick up new legal and commercial skills as you go. At first, this may seem daunting, but your work is supervised by multiple partners who give you guidance and teaching along the way. It is the best way to learn and gives you genuine responsibility from the start. Trainees are trained in the Postgraduate Intellectual Property Law certification, which provides exemption from the UK foundation exams. This is studied alongside your training in the office to improve your understanding of IP law. It also has a social element allowing you to meet up with your fellow colleagues in other offices, and also other people working or looking to work in the industry.

Dehns is a friendly and supportive firm to work for and has recently started running a two week summer work experience scheme for those who are looking to gain a valuable insight into working as a patent attorney, and to see what it is like to work at the Firm.

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