00:00:02 My name’s Robert G, and I’m a British and European Patent Attorney. A Patent Attorney protects people’s inventions, and their industrial designs. Generally people come and find us when they have an invention that they’d like to protect. They can be large companies with big research departments, or it can be a man in a shed at home, who’s got an invention he’s come up with to solve a fairly basic problem.
00:00:27 When I was a child I was actually interested in woodwork, and what I really wanted to do was to have a sawmill. I used to spend a lot of time doing woodwork, making things, building dens, all of those sort of practical things that, you know, a small busybody boy would be interested in doing. When I was at University, I never really considered particularly what I was going to do when I left University. I was always very keen on being self-employed, and I’d always had the idea that what I’d like to do was either something with woodwork or something with building, and I knew that by doing a Mechanical Engineering degree, that there would always be opportunities for me in engineering sectors, or indeed in the legal sector, or in other sectors.
00:01:14 After I graduated I actually ended up living with my parents for a short while, probably about nine months in fact, and I started renovating a property in South Wales. I borrowed some money, and I started working on a house, a derelict house. Started renovating it, to get it up to scratch, ready to either rent or sell it. I then spent two years renovating houses, and the simple fact of the matter is that I ran out of money at that point, and needed to find a job or a profession. I saw an advert for the UK Patent Office, and decided that it looked like a very, very interesting role, and followed it up and started working as a Patent Examiner at the Patent Office.
00:01:54 I did a Mechanical Engineering degree at Southampton University, and that set me up well for becoming a Patent Attorney, because you have to have, in fact, some kind of technical qualification before you can become an Attorney. Patent Attorneys generally train on the job, so you have a technical qualification, and then you join a firm, and you effectively do an apprenticeship on the job. And that apprenticeship can take quite a long time, there are quite difficult professional exams which you have to undertake. Those exams can be gruelling, and I would say that in – even if you’ve got an exemplary schooling record, it might be the first time that you would fail something in your life!
00:02:37 I basically run a – what’s really a rural practice. We’re in a small town – in Cheltenham in fact – and because of that, we dictate the hours that we keep, and we, you know, we can – and at the moment we have levels of work where everybody’s sort of occupied to a reasonable level, but not tearing their hair out. And with inventions, it’s quite nice to spend time over the invention. If you prepare a patent specification one day, and you look back on it the next day, there are often areas where you can find improvement. So I don’t like to rush jobs, I like to take my time over them. And in fact by sort of breaking from a job and going back to it sometimes gives you fresh ideas, and sometimes makes you think around the invention a little bit more clearly.
00:03:12 I really enjoy the management of the business, and nothing really excites me more than getting new business in to the firm. Especially when it’s new clients. And when we get – when we get that work, you know, it’s really great to be able to service that work to a high standard and, you know, make clients happy.