Career Options for Postgrads – Patents

One area which is consistently of interest to postgrads is the area of patent law. You need to have a science, engineering or technology degree before you can train as a patent attorney, which takes several more years of exams. These are specific exams in patent law, not the same exams you would take to become a solicitor or barrister, and are normally taken whilst you are working as a trainee patent attorney (so, lots of hard work, but you do get paid – and in my experience, many students suddenly develop an interest in patents when you mention what they end up getting paid…).

There are several current vacancies and events coming up, so look out for

  • Mewburn Ellis talk on Careers as a Patent or Trade Mark Agent on Monday 12th November, 1-2pm, Williamson Building G47
  • Mewburn Ellis are also running their annual Open Days, with the chance to talk to partners and recent recruits, listen to talks and have a go at practical exercises. On Friday, there was still one place left at the Manchester day on Thursday 29th November. They were happy to accept reserves, as they generally have some places which become available closer to the Open Day. If you can get to one of the other events, they also had some places left in Bristol and the second London date. As it’s extremely rare to get any work experience with a patent attorney, this is an opportunity not to be missed.
  • There are currently two vacancies on our Careers Service website for trainee patent attorneys – Vacancy 1Vacancy 2 – plus several adverts for Patent Examiners with the European Patent Office

There’s a lot more information on patents on the Inside Careers and Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys websites, including vacancy information.

An alternative is to look at qualifying as a solicitor specialising in intellectual property. You won’t be a patent attorney, but would be involved in litigation eg where patents have been infringed. Law firms such as Bristows have examples of scientists who have followed this route.

 If you’d prefer the idea of becoming a solicitor or barrister, our law recruitment events are currently in full swing. Many of our evening employer presentations are from law firms, and the Law Fair when you can meet many more is on Thursday 22nd November at the G-Mex. Later that day, MMU also have an open evening to promote their Bar Vocational Course.


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