UK Intellectual Property Sector Shifts Focus, Says New Review

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In a recent article, specialist recruitment consultancy Fellows and Associates forecasts times of change for the private practice Intellectual Property market in the UK.

Pete Fellows

For the first time in quite a long time ... firms may recruit ahead of their requirements and take the chance that new work will materialise.

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In this follow-up article to his original review of the UK private practice intellectual property sector, Pete Fellows, MD of Fellows and Associates, evaluates his previous predictions in light of market developments over the past six months.

Based on his observations of continuing growth, Pete now expects that “career progression (or lack thereof) will be a key factor in driving recruitment in 2011 and 2012.”

Further current trends include an increased demand for newly qualified patent attorneys. Hiring newly qualified attorneys over trainees or more experienced players has several advantages for any firm in this day and age because “the requirement to train is minimal and firms do not have to worry about career progression to partnership for quite some time. A newly qualified attorney can get on with the work more or less from day one, thus solving the issue of too much work for too few people.”

Another tendency described in the article is market consolidation. Pete draws a comparison with the accountancy profession in the 1990s, predicting that there will be “a number of firms consolidating to form a number of larger practices whilst at the same time there will be a number of new sole practitioner/small practices launched by attorneys frustrated by their current firms.”

Some firms could be a little more introspective when it comes to employee satisfaction and internal politics. There may be unidentified practices that are driving away the most promising staff and creating competitors at the same time. Simple things like a positive working environment and a transparent management structure could help firms prevent this problem.

Specialisms on the rise in the patent profession are electronics and biotechnology.

“For the first time in quite a long time I expect that firms may recruit ahead of their requirements and take the chance that new work will materialise,” reports Pete. “In electronics in particular, the power balance is with the candidate and good attorneys should be able to obtain interviews with a number of firms when considering a move.”

Interestingly, despite the increasing availability of good opportunities, candidates are still relatively unwilling to risk a move.

Keith Jones, founder and director of Fisher Weiler Jones, suspects this is due to a reluctance to trade in job security for the risk of a probation period upon starting a new job. “Undoubtedly there are several factors at play, but I would imagine that aside from their aversion to risk-taking, young attorneys may feel indebted to the firms that have invested in their training. However, newly qualified attorneys need to realise that moving jobs is not as risky as they think, and on top of that it is often the best way to secure opportunities for career progression in the future.”

To help get the candidate market moving, Fellows and Associates created an interactive community of IP professionals on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

About Fellows and Associates
Fellows and Associates recruit Patent Attorneys, Trade Mark Attorneys, IP Lawyers and other Intellectual Property professionals globally. The firm offers a diverse range of recruitment services including search, advertised selection and managed campaigns. Fellows and Associates' management consultancy division provides targeted strategic advice to firms within the Intellectual Property sector on a range of issues from marketing to financial strategy. See fellowsandassociates.com for more or phone +44 207 903 5019.

Fellows and Associates' Managing Director, Pete Fellows has over a decade's experience in the recruitment industry and has recruited positions in locations such as Russia, Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States.

Keith Jones has spent over twenty years as a UK and European Patent Attorney, as well as being a qualified European Trade Mark and Design Attorney. He is a founder and director of Fisher Weiler Jones, managing the UK division.

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