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Katherine Dainty

I had always envisaged myself having a career involving science but, during my degree, I no longer felt sure that I wanted to do a PhD. I found that I preferred learning about a variety of topics to studying only one narrow research area. One of the options that came up whilst I was looking at careers where I could use my science background was becoming a patent attorney. I did a week of work experience at a patent firm in Leeds, which confirmed that this was the career for me.

What is it like being a trainee?

I applied for jobs after graduating, and began working at Venner Shipley in November 2012 in our electronics department.  From the start I was given real cases to work on, as the training is mostly on-the-job.  My work is reviewed by my supervisor, who then provides feedback.  The work I do includes presenting arguments to help get a patent granted for a client’s invention, providing opinions on patentability of new ideas, assessing the validity of a competitor’s patent, and drafting new patent applications.  The range of technologies and variety of work means that the job is never quite the same day-to-day.  As part of my training I attended the Queen Mary’s course which leads to an exemption from the foundation exams.  The firm encourages us to attend a lecture series at CIPA, and in-house tutorials complement the on-the-job training.

What do you like about working at Venner Shipley?

The office atmosphere at Venner Shipley is open and friendly and its a great place to work.  I sit in an area with other trainees, so it is easy to ask each other questions and share ideas.  As a new trainee there is a lot to learn, but luckily everybody is really welcoming, and you can always find someone willing help you out, from the partners, to other trainees, and support staff.  Venner Shipley is a sociable firm, and we hold regular social events, go for drinks after work, and take part in inter-firm sports activities.