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From in-house patent attorney to independent professional

From in-house patent attorney to independent professionalMichiel Ras was employed as a patent attorney at a leading high-tech company for eleven years but has recently joined EP&C. This means he is no longer able to cycle to work, but to make up for this he has been given a broader range of duties and the opportunity to participate in a number of special training programmes. How does he like working as an independent professional and what made him decide to switch?


Keen to find out more about other patent work

If you have been employed as a patent attorney at the same company for eleven years, there comes a point when you are ready for a new challenge, irrespective of how nice the company you work for may be. As an in-house attorney, I was very familiar with both the technology and the internal processes.  
As part of my job I was in regular contact with EP&C and started to become increasingly interested in what their work involved.

Searches, client acquisition and oppositions

I recently made the switch and I soon discovered that the range of duties at a patent agency is quite different. I now not only write patents, but conduct searches, am responsible for my own client acquisition and I will be filing oppositions.  I also enjoy the fact that I work for different clients. One moment you are working on boilers, the next you are working on clothing for motorcyclists.  All clients are unique and have their own specific patent strategy, wishes, style of communication and pace. 

Soft Skills

Even though I have been employed as a patent attorney for the past eleven years, I do not have all of the soft skills required at EP&C. That is why I am taking part in the induction days for trainees, during which we discuss things like how to conduct talks with inventors, portfolio management, and role play oppositions. The support we receive is of a high standard. Colleagues with years of practical experience share the tricks of the trade with us. 

A lot more to learn

My work is more varied and the dynamics are very different. I am learning new skills and working on different technical innovations every day. That makes the work challenging. On top of that, I have very nice colleagues. Everyone is helpful and that is nice when you have to find your feet in a new organisation and get used to a new way of working.

I am not saying that I will never work as an in-house patent attorney again, but for now this is what I really want to do.