Rachel joined Carpmaels & Ransford as a Technical Assistant in the Engineering and Tech teams in September 2020 after studying Maths and Physics at Durham University.

I normally start the day by checking my upcoming deadlines and any emails that have come in from clients overnight. Clients will often provide detailed instructions on how to proceed with their cases so I make sure to read them carefully. I then check and correct any mistakes in the files that need to be submitted to the patent office by the end of the day. Within a few weeks of joining Carpmaels & Ransford I was given my own cases to manage which was quite daunting at first but it’s been an incredible learning curve. I have found the responsibility very satisfying as I am able to prioritise my own time to ensure I am on track to meet deadlines.

In the morning, I might read the patent office’s objections about an invention and consider how to argue against them. Firstly, I make sure that I understand how the invention works. Although my mathematics background has been useful in a few cases, most of the time, the technology is new to me. I find this particularly rewarding as I get to continually apply my general scientific knowledge to the latest technological developments. Next, I’ll consider the patent office’s objections in more detail. Often, the patent office believes that the invention is not new and they will cite previous documents that have been written in the same technological field, so then I’ll compare the invention with the previous documents to work out whether the invention has any new features.

After I have formulated an argument, I’ll start drafting a response to the patent office. It’s important to keep the clients informed at every step of the process, so I’ll draft a letter to the client explaining how I will approach their case.

Before lunch, I’ll often attend one of the regular in-house tutorials run by other technical assistants or associates. These tutorials cover the legal specifics of filing and prosecuting patents which we put into practice each day. Many of us don’t have legal backgrounds so these tutorials are a great way to get up to speed with relevant knowledge quickly.

After lunch with some fellow trainees I might have a meeting with a partner or senior associate to discuss a case or review a response I have already drafted. An advantage of training at Carpmaels & Ransford is that we get given cases from lots of different partners and associates which allows you to experience different writing styles and work on a wide range of technologies.

After the meeting, I’ll make any required changes to the response and send it to the partner or senior associate for approval. I often have a few questions about how to approach a response so I might have a quick meeting with my buddy. The buddy system matches new technical assistants with a technical assistant who has been training for a couple of years already. It’s a great system as it means that even though we’re given a lot of responsibility early on, you’ve always got someone you can speak to when you have questions.

Before I finish work, I have a final check of any deadlines to make sure I have met them all and make a note of anything that will need to be done the next day. Then I’ll switch off and join virtual drinks or games with the other trainees to wind down at the end of a busy day.

13th May 2021

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