When I first heard about the Formalities Officer position at EP&C, I had no idea what the job actually involved. Administrative, legal, client contact - it involves a combination of all these aspects, but how do they all fit together? I have now completed my first month as a Formalities Officer. The job is so much nicer than I had expected. In this blog I will tell you about my experiences in my first month. And who knows, after reading about them you might also want to become a Formalities Officer.
What does EP&C do?
I want to start with a brief explanation of what EP&C does. If someone invents something somewhere in the Netherlands which the inventor would like to protect, then it is possible to do so with a patent. In order to obtain a patent you must file a patent application. And that is precisely what EP&C does. Patent attorneys advise their clients on patenting and file the final version of the patent application.
The Formalities Officer
As the Formalities Officer I am around before and during that filing process. There are a lot of steps that have to be completed as part of the patent application process and all have to be carried out very meticulously. Every wrong date or comma can slow down the whole process or even make it fail altogether. I make sure that all these steps are properly completed, that deadlines are met and that clients are kept informed. In short: I take care of the administrative side of things. In other words, I am the patent attorneys' assistant.
Nice aspects of the job
The nicest thing about my job is the team. I laughed a lot during my job interviews. We work together, but we also have a great deal of fun together. On my first day, I received lots of messages from colleagues welcoming me. The atmosphere is very friendly, safe and open. I am being trained well. There is an induction schedule and I am being trained by three colleagues. I work from home part of the time and the rest of the time in the office, but there is always someone available if I have any questions.
What I also really like about my job is that I get to see all kinds of inventions. In my second week I had to send out a publication and I recognised a well-known boiling water tap in the picture. I see innovations on my desk that I recognise from everyday life. Every Monday we have a team meeting to discuss current projects. We occasionally also discuss inventions. A whole new world opens up for me then.
In my first working week, I sent filing certificates to clients. This is the proof from the Netherlands Patent Office to show that the filing has been received in good order. At the time, I had no idea exactly where these filing certificates fitted in the process. What I find interesting about my first month at EP&C is that I am gradually getting to see the bigger picture and am starting to get a better understanding where my particular job fits in.
What do I do all day?
No two days are the same. Reporting on patents that have been granted, sending out certificates, creating new files, submitting country selections. I enjoy the fact that the tasks are so very varied.
This month I also filed an official patent application. I then make sure that the text and the drawings meet the requirements and follow a precise step-by-step plan to ensure that the filing is complete.
Now that I have been working for EP&C for a little while I am being given more and more tasks. When I complete a step in the process, I already know what is coming next and can anticipate it.
Check for yourself
Are you curious to find out if the job of Formalities Officer would be something for you? If you can answer ‘yes’ to the questions below, then you might just make a good Formalities Officer.
- Do you work in a structured way and can you keep a good overview?
- Do you enjoy administrative work that you can get your teeth into?
- Do you find it easy to switch between Dutch and English?
- Do you enjoy working in a team?