Day in the life of an associate

As part of the close-knit chemistry and biosciences team, and with a global client list, patent attorney Philip French has plenty of opportunities to share his IP expertise.

I work in the office three days a week and work from home for the other two days. Today is a day in the office and, therefore, it is an early start.


I catch the train to London Paddington, I am amazed by the number of other people waiting on the platform at that time in the morning. My first job is porridge. However, once fortified with porridge my day can begin. I can view my emails and I can access our internal files, from my laptop, and therefore, I have everything I need.


I check my emails. I have one email from one of our US associates reporting the filing of a response to an examination report at the US Patent Office, which I forward to our client.


My first job is to instruct our Russian Associate to respond to an examination report for one of our client’s applications in Uzbekistan. The examination report is the third we have received from the Uzbek Examiner and contains mainly clarity objections. I enjoy the intellectual challenge of responding to objections from Examiners. Often, an Examiner asserts that claims are not inventive, but when you look carefully at the documents, there are strong arguments to overcome the Examiner’s assertion.


I arrive at London Paddington and therefore it is time to sample the delights of rush hour on the Central Line. The Central line is particularly sardine tin-like today!


I arrive in the office and after logging into my computer and coffee, I am ready for the rest of the day.


I finish my instructions to our Russian Associate and email them to him. I receive an acknowledgement of receipt, almost immediately. I hope the next communication we receive from the Uzbek Examiner will be an acceptance of the application to go to grant.


My next job is to work on drafting a patent application. We have a university client who is interested in using biomarkers to predict the response of cancer patients to specific treatments and to predict side effects. This is interesting science. The great thing about patents as a career it that you can combine an interest in science with the legal side, which is equally interesting.


Time for lunch. I usually go for a 30 minute walk and pick up a sandwich on the way round.


I return to drafting the patent application. I should have the application finished this week and I will send it to the client for a final review. Assuming I get instructions from the client, I aim to file at the end of the week or early next week. This will be filed at the UK Intellectual Property Office and will serve as a priority application for a later filing.


I meet one of our clients in the office. He is based abroad and is in London for a meeting. He has come for an update on the case we filed for him about 3 months ago. All is in order and we expect the application will publish in 3 months. We discuss next steps and whether further applications are required.


I now turn to the appeal we have for one of our client’s applications in Israel. This application has been rejected by the Israeli Examiner and we are preparing for an oral hearing. We work with attorneys throughout the world, and in this case, the oral hearing will be attended by our Israeli Associate. In some cases, we would also attend the hearing but in this case we are not. I am currently drafting a brief for our Associate to give him all the information he needs for the hearing. I think we have strong arguments and equivalent applications have been granted in many other countries.


Time to leave the office to catch the train home.


I catch the train and armed with a latte I am ready to do some more work. Today I am preparing for some training I am giving to some of our patent administrators. We run internal training for a qualification which they can sit and I am giving the revision session looking at European patent law. I enjoy training, especially when you have people keen to learn, as our administrators are.


Train arrives and it is only 5 minutes’ drive home. First job will be making a big fuss of the dogs!

"One of the things I really enjoy about my job is meeting scientists and discussing their work."