• Role: Technical Assistant
  • Location: London
  • University: Manchester
  • Degree: MEng Mechanical Engineering

James Burgess

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How did you get into the profession?

In my final year of university when looking for jobs, I came across the role of a Patent Attorney. It wasn’t something I had thought about before, however the profession stood out to me for a number of reasons. I realised it would be well suited to my technical knowledge and communication skills, and would give me the opportunity to work with a range of new technology. As well as this, there is clear career progression, and as technology improves so does the demand for patent work.

One of the main reasons I applied to Reddie & Grose was their focus on support and training. I had heard how tough qualifying exams could be so it was reassuring to see they provide a structured training program including a two week training camp upon starting and then fortnightly training sessions. They also hold many tutorials and seminars for trainees about to take exams. Trainees also undertake external courses such as the Queen Mary University course which provides exemption from the UK foundation papers and, leading up to the European Qualifying Exams, trainees currently attend seminars at CEIPI in Strasbourg. The investment in trainees is evident considering exam performance.

 What are your main roles and responsibilities?

I work directly for a partner at the firm, although I am often given work from others too. A large section of my work so far has been responding to examiners at either the UK or European patent offices and presenting arguments in favour of my clients invention. I also correspond a lot with clients who range from foreign attorneys to large companies to lone inventors. My approach to each client must be tailored to them and their specific knowledge and requirements. I have also done some patent drafting and in the future I look forward to working on contentious issues such as an opposition.

I was given real cases to work on right from the start. It is standard to then go through the work I produce with my partner, who will correct and guide me. As I experience more and more work the less guidance I need and the more efficient I become. I would say the most important skill is the ability to clearly and concisely explain technology and express your opinions of it, as you will often be discussing the intricate details of an invention and what makes it better than another. There is a steep learning curve with a lot of new information to learn, particularly regarding IP law. However there is constant support to help you progress and ensure you are producing top quality work.

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