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Blog | A week in the life of a Trainee Patent Attorney | EP&C

A week in the life of a Trainee Patent Attorney

Following 'A week in the life of a Patent Attorney’ we are now going to take a look at 'A week in the life of a Trainee Patent Attorney'. 


The addition of the word 'Trainee' means that you are, in fact, still a student in your first 3-4 years in the job. On top of your ordinary work you spend an average of one day a week on training. This week starts with a training day in Utrecht, which focuses on the topic of Licences. The lecturers are generally experienced attorneys who present the subject matter in an inspiring way by using anecdotes from their own practice. After a day of active listening it is nice to get some physical exercise, which is why I round off the day in a climbing hall together with two fellow students from another firm. After a couple of tough routes and boulders I drive home feeling content.


Today I am being picked up early by my mentor, Walter Hart, for a visit to a potential client in Friesland. Category: pneumatics. I know the director and head of R&D from an earlier workshop on 'Applying for a Patent'. The fact that they decided to schedule this appointment after the workshop is a nice compliment! Their passion is contagious and is partly fuelled by a tour of the workplace. During appointments like this I try to pay close attention to the way in which Walter gives advice because I can learn a great deal from that. The director decides that we can go ahead and translate the company's idea into a patent application. All in all it has been an educational and successful day!


Today I am rounding off an initial draft of a patent application that I started last week. Category: offshore wind turbines. I am handing the draft in to Walter so that he can have a critical look at it. I will deliver the draft to the client once I have incorporated Walter's feedback. After lunch we cycle over to see a client who recently set up business not far from us. They are working on an innovative coffee machine. The icing on the cake for me, as an espresso lover, is that I get to try a free cup of coffee and it tastes great! I will definitely be getting one of these machines for myself soon. Back at the office I spend some time translating some patent claims. It is good to do a translation every now and again to keep your technical vocabulary up to scratch.

I leave the office at 18:15 for a swim in the Flevoparkbad, one of the best kept secrets in Amsterdam. Perhaps not for much longer ...


I am usually stationed in Amsterdam, but today I am working at our head office in Rijswijk. My colleague Isabelle de Grave-Wolterink also works in Rijswijk and I have been asked to assist her with the preparations for an appeals procedure. Category: mechanical engineering. The main focus is on analysing the requests for assistance. Our tickets to Munich have already been booked for this case.

Later in the day I have a meeting with Hendrik Jan Brookhuis about a patent application which has been filed by a competitor of one of our clients. Category: railways. The patent application appears to be riddled with holes, which offers opportunities for an effective Third-Party Observation. This is a notice providing reasons why the patent application should not be granted because the technology is already known or self-evident.

One of the advantages of working in Rijswijk is that you can be in Delft in no time, which is why I am going to a BBQ on the roof terrace of my former student digs after work.


The Novelty Search and accompanying Written Opinion of one of my favourite inventions has come in. Category: bicycles. The examiner does not appear to be interpreting the invention correctly. It is down to me to ensure that he does, which is a nice challenge!

In the evening I am going to a Jong IE get-together. Fellow trainee Thomas Remmerswaal and I discover we are the only techies among the Jong IE attorneys (IP= Intellectual Property). It was quite a long and eventful evening ...


I arranged to meet a friend and his girlfriend at the Utrechtse Heuvelrug to go mountain biking. I get left way behind as we cycle up the hill, which is a bit embarrassing.

On Sunday I spend some time on my course and, in particular, the Practical Skills module. The assignment involves compiling an advice for a fictitious client who wants to know if a fictitious competitor is infringing the patent on his toolbox..

If you are keen to find out more about the work of a patent attorney, please do not hesitate to contact me!