Life at Reddie & Grose – Harriet Boswell
Harriet Boswell – Trainee Patent Attorney
As a trainee patent attorney I spend my time assisting senior attorneys. My tasks are corresponding with clients, patent offices and overseas attorneys, and drafting and analysing patent specifications.
My work involves corresponding with clients which vary from overseas attorneys, multinational companies to lone inventors. My job involves providing each client with information and advice at every stage of the patent process.
Responding to examination reports is an important aspect of the job. An examiner in a patent office examines the patentability of an invention and usually provides a list of reasons why they cannot grant a patent based on the application in its current state. We can argue against the examiner’s objections if we consider that the examiner is wrong or we can suggest the client amends the application to overcome the examiner’s objections.
When I joined Reddie & Grose, the new trainees took part in a two week boot camp in the London office, so that we develop our skills at a similar rate. As a trainee in the Cambridge office, these training sessions were useful for me to integrate with people in the London office, as well as to learn from different qualified attorneys.
The learning curve is steep as a trainee; there is a whole new area of law to understand and learn, and there are other areas that require a lot of practice, like drafting patent claims. Client care is an important aspect of the profession, and spending more time working with a particular client means that you learn more about what their company is about and how best to communicate with them.
In the office, the partners will often give me work that they think will be a good learning opportunity for me. I usually draft a letter that we discuss and the partner gives me corrections to make before the letter can be sent. This is an important part of the training process. As a trainee, I have been learning how to correspond with the UK and European patent offices and with different clients. Communication skills are crucial for the job, as are networking skills.
There is constant support from partners, qualified attorneys and fellow trainees in the office, which both ensures I produce good quality work, and also helps greatly with learning.