Tharsini relishes internship with Stratagem IP

Tharsini relishes internship with Stratagem IP

Tharsini Sivapalan, a student at the Institute of Food Research (IFR), wanted to get an insight into intellectual property (IP) law so spent her 12 week internship at Stratagem IP, an intellectual property management company based in Cambridge.

Tharsini undertook her internship from April to July 2016 and during the 3 months gained an understanding of patents and commercialization of IP. “This was a steep learning curve but I really enjoyed it and benefitted from it”, she reflects. After grasping the basics of IP, Tharsini’s objective was to assist Stratagem with advising and managing the IP portfolio of one their large clients, the IFR, and to work with other patent attorneys on other client cases. Tharsini was trained to become familiar with the publication approval process and this was her main duty during the internship, consisting of logging in all incoming approvals requests, reviewing the publications and providing background information to the senior patent attorney ahead of the deadlines. During the 3 months at Stratagem, Tharsini pre-screened approximately 75 publications for the IFR.

Reviewing the publications included reading the documents to determine the novel inventions and industrial applicability, conducting scientific literature/patent searches in the research area and examining the novelty of the inventions in comparison to the disclosed inventions in the public domain. After reviewing the publications, Tharsini then had to brief the senior patent attorney on the scientific background. “During my 3 months at Stratagem, I had the opportunity to work on other client cases which included reviewing 600 patents. I was also able to get involved in the process of drafting a patent application which gave me an understanding of the process required to protect an invention”, says Tharsini.

Tharsini found her internship to be an invaluable experience, developing many transferrable skills, including time management and communication skills. It also gave her the opportunity to master working in a different working environment. “For someone who has been in education for a long time, this gave me an opportunity to experience a 9-5 office job. As a result of this I feel more confident in the idea of getting a job away from lab research” says Tharsini. “The internship has strengthened my self-confidence by working in a law firm with new colleagues. During my 3 months I’ve learnt how to priortise tasks, meet deadlines and be committed to the work that I undertook. I had opportunities to discuss how the all the attorneys got into their careers and their route to qualification. I’ve now got a clearer career direction as result of the internship”.

Stratagem were extremely happy with the work Tharsini did, saying, “it has been a pleasure having Tharsini here with us at Stratagem. She has done some really useful work for us including contributing to a publication review process for IFR that we will continue ourselves”.

Having had 3 months away from the lab, Tharsini now has a different perspective to her project and feels motivated to finish her PhD.  She advises students to make the most of the opportunity to undertake an internship away from the lab and to get exposure to another employment environment. “Whilst you’re away for three months don’t think about research just enjoy the internship and the 9-5 working hours”!