Partner, Patent Attorney
During my PhD I was part of a team developing and evaluating new molecules with potential anti-cancer properties. At this time I became exposed to and interested in the world of intellectual property.
The recruitment process to become a patent attorney was rigorous, but I came away from my interview at D Young & Co with a sense that I could feel at home there – the people were friendly but professional, the atmosphere was business-focussed but down-to-earth.
From the outset working at D Young & Co, I was exposed to a fascinating breadth of technology – I had soon dealt with everything from a high-heeled shoe to high-throughput DNA sequencing.
However, the majority of cases I see daily are in the fields of biochemistry, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, which gives me great satisfaction that I am putting the skills I learnt during my degree to valuable use.
I was given a lot of responsibility at an early stage, which helped to quickly immerse me in all the relevant aspects of the job and the law, including patent drafting, prosecution and opposition.
I particularly enjoy contentious work, and have represented clients at opposition proceedings before the European Patent Office in Munich and The Hague.
There are regular social events for the whole office, including barbecues, charity runs and our infamous Christmas party. If you’re looking for a job that’s intellectually demanding in an environment that’s supportive and sociable, then a career as patent attorney at D Young & Co may well be for you.
Partner, Patent Attorney
After finishing my Master’s degree, I was keen to stay involved in science but found the work I was doing in a laboratory unrewarding and so decided against doing a PhD. I really wanted a career which would both challenge and intellectually stimulate me.
I have found that a career as a patent attorney offers the unique opportunity to put your scientific and technical knowledge into practice in a legal and highly commercial context.
I joined D Young & Co in January 2014. From day one, I was exposed to real cases and given substantive work to get stuck into. My day to day work is very varied and can include any number of different tasks, from drafting a new patent application to opposing a competitor’s patent on behalf of a client. The bulk of my work is concerned with responding to arguments from an examiner as to why they believe an invention isn’t patentable. This is challenging but rewarding work as it requires an in-depth understanding of the technology involved, and the ability to formulate complex legal arguments and communicate them clearly and persuasively in writing.
I have been exposed to a very broad range of different technologies from the beginning, from cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to industrial chemistry and medical devices.
Part of the job that I particularly enjoy is visiting clients to speak to them face to face about their new inventions. During the course of my training, I have been lucky enough to attend a number of client meetings, where I have had the opportunity to see the new invention in process.
The route to qualification in the UK and Europe takes about four years, and the exams are notoriously difficult to pass. However, the training at D Young & Co provides excellent on-the-job mentoring from one or several partners for whom you work directly. In addition, an excellent schedule of in-house tutorials is offered, alongside external courses such as the Certificate in IP Law at Queen Mary University.
There is a fantastic work-life balance at D Young & Co, and many social occasions are organised throughout the year, including sporting events and the well-renowned Christmas party.
Senior Associate, Patent Attorney
I graduated in June 2015 from Durham University with an undergraduate masters degree in mechanical engineering.
Having undertaken a couple of engineering internships during my studies, I knew that I wanted to do something which used the technical skills I had acquired at university but not necessarily work in a purely engineering firm.
Although I knew of the existence of patents and their importance through my studies and internships, I hadn’t really considered a career as a patent attorney until I spoke to a friend from Durham who was a trainee. She was the first of my friends who I had spoken to who seemed to really love the work they were doing.
Having explored the career further, I decided it was perfect for me. It allowed me use my technical knowledge whilst considering the broader impact of inventions and their commercial value to clients.
I started work at D Young & Co in September 2015 and can honestly say I’ve never regretted choosing this career path. D Young & Co is a great place to train due to the support given to you both by the partners for whom you work, and by the firm as a whole in providing access to in-house tutorials and external courses to help in your route to qualification. I share an office with a recently qualified patent attorney who is always happy to help me if I need it.
I am in the electronics, engineering & IT team and given my degree subject I mainly work on patent applications for mechanical inventions. This sees me cover a broad range of technologies from sewing machines to driverless cars! This means I am always learning something new and no two days are the same.
Most of my time centres on the prosecution stage of the patent application process. This involves responding to communications from both the European and UK patent offices requiring me to analyse applications and prior art documents and formulate arguments as to why the applications should be allowable.
A work-life balance is considered very important at D Young & Co with regular social events and the well known Christmas party. If you are looking for an interesting, varied and intellectually stimulating job in a supportive and friendly firm, I couldn’t recommend a career as a patent attorney at D Young & Co more.
Associate, Patent Attorney
Upon first hearing of a career as a patent attorney, I thought it sounded fascinating; being able to marry disciplines of science and technology with law, communication and business, as well as other areas.
I was able to get an interview at a few firms, including D Young & Co, through a specialist IP recruitment agency. Having lived in Southampton at university for four years, the location was appealing, though it wasn’t until my assessment morning, where I met several partners and experienced their enthusiasm and warmth, that I knew it was my favoured destination. I was fortunate enough that I was offered a job shortly afterwards, and haven’t looked back since!
My favourite part of working at D Young & Co is undoubtedly the people I work with, although the variance of the job, the relatively low stress levels, the interesting technologies and the broad range of clients (I could go on…) all score highly for me.
A typical working day will often be filled with the prosecution of one or more patent applications in the UK or Europe, and often I'll have meetings with clients to give general advice, updates on their cases, and handle requests for drafting new patent applications.
Aside from the day job, I've been getting involved with the 'CIPA Informals', sitting on the committee as a representative for the South Coast and then treasurer and getting to know a number of my contemporaries around the country, which I love.
In terms of skills, particularly useful are those relating to written and verbal communication, which are vital for a good attorney, but general team working skills and analytical problem-solving abilities always prove important. In the next two to three years, I will (hopefully!) be a qualified attorney, and progressing upward in my career. I feel very settled both in my work and home life here at D Young & Co.
My biggest challenges have been exam related – when trainees say these are hard, they are right! However, the support here for training is brilliant, both in terms of in-house tutorials and advice, and generosity in paying and allowing time for trainees to attend external courses.
Overall, D Young & Co is a great place to work – especially if you value the people you work with as much as the work itself. I’d certainly advise any prospective attorneys to consider D Young & Co!
Associate, Patent Attorney
Upon exploring a career as a patent attorney, I found the unique opportunity to use the knowledge and skills that I gained at university in a legal and commercial context interesting. I was also attracted to the profession because every patent attorney I spoke to genuinely enjoyed their role. I applied to several firms, speculatively and also in response to advertised vacancies, towards the end of my PhD and I then joined D Young & Co in 2017.
From day one, I was given responsibility and experience of real cases. The majority of my work concerns the prosecution of patent applications which typically involves responding to opinions from patent examiners explaining why they think that the invention is not patentable. This requires in-depth knowledge of the science underpinning the invention, alongside the ability to present technical information and complex legal arguments in a concise yet persuasive manner.
At D Young & Co, most of our training is on-the-job under the guidance of several partners and senior qualified attorneys. As a result, I have helped to represent diverse clients and have been exposed to a wide range of technologies (including medical devices and therapeutic antibodies) and different aspects of the patenting process (e.g. prosecution and oppositions). I am fortunate to have experience of drafting patent applications and opposition work (attacking/defending a granted patent) at an early stage in my training, which is not always the case. One of the best aspects of my role is definitely the variety of my day-to-day work!
The support from senior colleagues and fellow trainees is excellent – my colleagues are always happy to answer questions. The firm also provides all of the support needed to pass the qualifying exams, including study leave, in-house tutorials and external courses (e.g. the Certificate in IP Law at Queen Mary, University of London). The latter are great opportunities to meet trainees from other firms.
The importance of a good work/life balance is recognised at D Young & Co – my supervisors often check that I am comfortable with my workload. The environment at the firm is supportive and friendly, with many social events organised throughout the year, including charity runs and the Christmas party.
If you would like a job which is challenging and intellectually stimulating in a supportive environment, then I highly recommend a career as a patent attorney at D Young & Co.
I graduated with a master’s degree in physics knowing that academia wasn’t for me. The heavy focus on a single research topic just didn’t suit my desire for highly varied work. Therefore, when I was introduced to the career of a patent attorney through a friend who had just started in the job, I was immediately interested. A role where I could apply the technical knowledge I had gained over my degree to a wide variety of real life problems seemed to be the perfect balance I was looking for. I started at D Young & Co in October 2020 and have been very happy with my decision.
I joined D Young & Co through the internship program. I wanted to make sure the role was suited to me before committing to a full job search. However, the size of the patent attorney profession is quite small, so it was difficult to really learn about the job without trying it out for myself.
I started by attending the three-day Easter internship in 2019. This offered a chance to learn about the career with no assumed knowledge, meet current trainees and attorneys in casual social settings, and take part in the sorts of activities performed by a patent attorney (such as drafting and amendment). Whilst relatively short, there was a lot of information packed into the three days, and by the end of the internship I had a much better insight into the role of a patent attorney.
I was invited back to spend a further three weeks at D Young & Co in the summer of 2019. This was an entirely different experience to the Easter internship, as I was given the opportunity to work on real cases. Since starting as a trainee, I have realised that the time spent on the summer internship was very similar to the role of a new trainee. By the end of these three weeks I knew that the role was right for me, and I was fortunate to be offered a position based on my performance on the internship.
From day one, I have been very involved in prosecuting patents. This involves writing to patent offices (the EPO and UKIPO) as well as foreign attorneys, making arguments for why a patent should be granted. In some cases, this also involves finding suitable ways to amend a patent application, so that it can be granted, in ways that provide the greatest level of protection to the client.
I also regularly draft new patent applications. This involves meeting with inventors to discuss their ideas, identifying the key inventive concepts, and writing a patent application to protect their ideas as broadly as possible, whilst meeting the legal requirements for a patent.
I will usually work several new inventions each week, meaning that I come across a huge range of technologies.
In summary, a career as a patent attorney provides an ideal way to use your technical knowledge whilst working on a wide variety of different topics. An internship is a great way to learn about the profession and might also be a way to secure a graduate role.
I joined D Young & Co in September 2016 after applying to a few patent attorney firms over that summer. Through an internship at one firm I learned about basic concepts of patent law and the patent application process, which greatly assisted in my later successful application to D Young & Co.
I work in a team of a handful of qualified attorneys and other trainees. The attorneys delegate tasks to us trainees, then provide feedback once we complete the work. The structure is reminiscent of an academic research group, with each individual working independently but the rest of the group providing support.
The aspect of the job I enjoy the most is its variety. I have worked on cases related to technologies ranging from mechanical processes for producing pipettes to therapeutic antibodies. Whilst the majority of my work when I first started was prosecution (arguing why an application should be granted), I was also involved in opposition work (attacking or defending granted patents) from literally my first day. The proportion of my work relating to oppositions has grown with my experience, and I have attended multiple hearings at the European Patent Office in support of my supervisor. I have also drafted patent applications, provided freedom-to-operate opinions (assessing whether a client’s activities infringe existing patents), conducted patentability reviews (assessing whether an invention is patentable) and visited clients abroad.
Generally, my work entails synthesising technical information from patents and research papers into some form of writing. For example, to draft an opposition statement I read relevant documents published before the patent application was filed then write arguments explaining why the patent should be revoked in view of those documents. Such tasks involve hours of concentrated reading, thinking, writing and re-writing whilst maintaining close attention to detail, which can be challenging. Fortunately, the rest of the team is always ready to provide assistance and advice, typically simply by informally chatting about whatever tricky issue of patent law I’m facing.
D Young & Co provides all the training and support required to pass the qualifying exams, including paying for courses and materials, offering study leave and providing in-house tutorials.
Overall, I am very pleased to be training as a patent attorney with D Young & Co. The firm strikes the right balance between excellence and a relaxed environment. The highest standards are expected at all times but everyone is approachable and willing to help. Work-life balance is valued; I have been repeatedly encouraged to speak up if my work-load is too great.
If you wish to train as a patent attorney, I highly recommend D Young & Co to you.
Like many in the profession, during my PhD, I realised that a career in research wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. However, it was important to me to find a job where I was still utilising the scientific knowledge I had gained as well as combining the problem solving and analysis aspects of research that I had particularly enjoyed. The more I found out about patent law, the more I was convinced that the profession was exactly what I was looking for.
I was attracted to D Young & Co because I wanted to join a firm where there was a cohort intake of trainees.
This has been beneficial in terms of settling in and having a group of people to go through the qualification process together with. I also found the offer of one-to-one mentoring appealing as I would be moving away from an environment that I knew and so a high level of support was important to me. In fact, I now work with multiple qualified attorneys on a one-to-one basis which has really helped me to experience different approaches and develop my own style of working.
I applied to D Young & Co after seeing an opening advertised on their website and submitted my CV and cover letter. After an initial telephone interview with HR, I was asked to complete an online spelling and grammar test. Lastly, I was invited to an assessment day. The day had a number of components including time to chat with other trainees. Everyone involved in the process was extremely friendly and despite being an interview, I enjoyed the exercises and felt like I could really imagine myself working at D Young & Co. Therefore, when I received an offer it was an easy decision!
My advice would be to speak to current patent attorneys to get an idea of what day-to-day life in the job entails, I found this really useful when I was considering the profession especially as experience in this field can be hard to come by.
Furthermore, the training experience can vary widely between firms. Therefore, speaking to current trainees can be invaluable in finding out the culture and training programme at each specific firm. The exams are notoriously difficult and preparing for these will make up a large part of your first years in the profession so it’s worth considering what environment would suit you best.