An unexpected career

20th Jul 2021

Being a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney can be hard to explain, but how can you get into this rewarding profession? We asked HGF’s Director of Trade Marks Lauren Somers to explain her path.

© HGF

Being a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney isn’t a common profession. I doubt that children at school, college or even young adults at university declare a desire to be a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney to their careers advisors. I certainly didn’t.

It wasn’t until, as a recent graduate browsing my university’s career website, I stumbled across a job advertisement for the position of trainee Trade Mark Attorney.

Whilst I wasn’t sure what the job entailed, something in the advert struck a chord. I realised afterwards that I wasn’t the typical applicant.

I didn’t study law – a BA Hons in Politics and Economics – and I don’t have any lawyers in my family – so no footsteps to follow in. I was interested in business, commerce, supply, demand and what makes people spend money though (often brands!). It was enough to land me the job.

The qualification process takes time and effort. Two post-graduate courses plus two-three years in the role are needed before it’s possible to make the transition from trainee to Chartered Trade Mark Attorney.

Going back to studying again after university and alongside a full time job is not easy, but the trips to London and Nottingham to complete the courses were a good chance to meet other trainees and have a weekend in the city.

My job now involves working with a range of businesses in all sectors: from university spin-outs offering innovative green energy solutions, to SMEs in health care, UK based firms producing power tools, right through to multinationals whose products are dotted around most homes.

I seem to have acquired varying levels of knowledge about most areas of technology; artificial intelligence and machine learning are hot topics, with many clients seeking to filter this wave of innovation in to their products or service.

When most people think about brands, they think of the big names such as COCA COLA and PEPSI. Brands go beyond consumer products though and are of equal importance and value in the scientific, technological and engineering sectors.

Alongside other forms of IP protection such as patents and designs, a trade mark can give a product or service an identity that can be protected indefinitely and enforced against others if needed, allowing the user to build up a customer base, reputation and long standing trade.

The most challenging part of working with clients in sectors beyond your typical products and services can be understanding what the business is doing. I have found that it helps to have a conversation with the engineer, scientist, or developer to get to the crux of, in as layman’s terms as possible, what they actually offering.

Essentially, what is being sold? Is it a product? Is it a service? What does the product do? Or, what’s included within the service? The role of a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney often involves “translating” what can begin as a very complex technical explanation in to a simple description that anyone could understand.

The process is rewarding though. Helping clients define their business offering and give it a name, then protect that name by filing applications to register it in line with their business strategy speaks to the economics student in me.

The socialite in me also enjoys that the job involves meeting different people. Lately this has taken a backseat (video calls aren’t quite the same as an in person meeting) but the role allows plenty of opportunities to network, both locally and internationally. My favourite work trips have been to Croatia and Nashville!

Now, with almost a decade in the profession, after starting with no expectations or idea of the opportunities it would allow, I’m thankful that I spotted the listing on my university’s careers website.

Being a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney isn’t the easiest job to explain, but when explaining things is simply part of the job you get used to it.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney, click here to learn more about it.

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