Passion for science leads to a career in patents for DCC’s Edith Hamilton
Davies Collison Cave Trainee patent attorney Edith Hamilton didn’t know about patent attorneys when she was completing her engineering degree, but she is very happy to be one now.
Hamilton, who will soon be a registered patent attorney, fell into patent work by accident while taking a break from her PHD. “I was feeling disenfranchised by research and moved overseas to Japan to teach English,” she said. While there she saw a job position for a professional English document reader at a Japanese firm. Her employer took interest in her skills and engineering background and soon had her hooked on patents. “I really enjoyed the technical aspects of the work, understanding the science behind the patents, while investigating and developing arguments as well,” stated Hamilton.
Having completed an undergraduate degree majoring in materials and manufacturing systems, Hamilton then completed a Masters in ultra-fine fibres before embarking on her PHD. “Law was something I had briefly considered before I became far more interested in science and engineering,” she said. “Patent attorneys are not lawyers, but I don’t think there are that many differences between us, it’s more about how we look at a legal issue affecting a patent.”
Patent attorneys are involved in the creation of the patent from the very beginning, whereas lawyers only normally become involved once the patent is complete or in dispute. “It’s nice when you are talking to people about their inventions and helping them to build something, it’s very rewarding,” states Hamilton.
This article first appeared on the ALB Legal Jobs Centre website. Click here to view the original article.
For those passionate about science Hamilton says being a patent attorney is a fulfilling career option. “You get exposed to a variety of inventions and theories. Our practice covers everything, from explosives to nappies,” she added. However, budding patent attorneys also need to be prepared for going back to the bottom of the ladder. “No matter how successful you are in the technology field, when you take on a new skill set you spend a fair bit of time being wrong,” she said. “There is always more than one way of arguing a position.”
How to build a career as a patent attorney
- A basic requirement is a degree, diploma, advanced diploma or graduate diploma under the Australian Qualification Framework that is in a field of technology that contains potentially patentable subject matter and is awarded in the Higher Education Sector.
- Be employed in a position or positions that provide experience in the following skills: searching patent records, preparation filing and prosecution of patent applications in Australia and with other countries, drafting of patent specifications, and provision of advice on interpretation, infringement and validity. You should have been employed in such a position for at least two continuous years or a total of two years within five continuous years.
- Complete a course of study, conducted by an appropriate tertiary institution, which covers five main topic areas: Legal process, Overview of intellectual property, Professional conduct, Trade Marks Law and Trade Marks Practice.