International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022: Emily Brunton


Emily Brunton is an associate based in our Liverpool office. Emily tells us about the path she took before joining Forresters as a trainee in 2016, through to becoming a fully qualified UK and European Patent Attorney five years later.

Picture by Edward Moss – All rights reserved.


As a patent attorney, what academic and professional qualifications have you needed to qualify?

In terms of academics, you generally need a science or engineering degree in order to work as a trainee patent attorney. I personally did a physics degree, before entering the patent profession.

In terms of professional qualifications, there are a number of exams that you need to take while training. I’ve done my exams to become a Chartered UK Patent Attorney and European Patent Attorney.

Had you always planned a career in IP or did you consider alternative ways of using your scientific degree?

When I started my science degree, I hadn’t considered working in IP, and I didn’t know what career I wanted. I looked at everything and then, in the second year of my degree, I heard about being a patent attorney.

I found out about the profession from a patent attorney who I was put into contact with. When I got in touch with her, she explained what she did and offered me some work experience. I did a week of work experience with her, to see what the profession involves day-to-day. Based on that, I knew that I wanted to be a patent attorney and I didn’t consider anything else after that point.

What attracted you to a career as a patent attorney?

What attracted me was the variety of it. The nature of our job means that we are always learning about new technologies in a variety of fields, which helps to keep things interesting.

Describe your typical working day.

I generally start my day by checking the upcoming deadlines and prioritising my workload for the day. I will then begin working on a case, which would typically involve preparing a response to an examination report from the European Patent Office (EPO). I typically start by reviewing the client’s invention and comparing their invention to the documents that the EPO have identified. After this, I’d try to figure out the best approach in order to protect their invention and get a patent granted.

In the afternoons, I will often liaise with a partner at the firm, to review the work that I’ve done so far and talk about what we need to do next. I might also take a call from a potential new client, to give them some initial advice about IP.

Do you have any advice for graduates considering a career in IP?

Becoming a patent attorney requires a bit of research to figure out what the job involves. But I would say that it’s a career that’s definitely worth looking into!

My advice is to do your research and try to speak to someone in the industry to get familiar with the profession.