We interview Laura Mannering, European Patent Attorney at Bryn Aarflot in Norway, who won the draw for FICPI’s female IP attorney under 40 competition, and the 50% discount on this year’s Congress fee, kindly donated by MaryAnne Armstrong of Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch in the US.

 

Catherine Dhanjal: Congratulations on winning the draw for FICPI’s female IP attorney under 40 competition, and winning the 50% discount on this year’s Congress fee!

 

Catherine: It was a pleasure to meet you at the FICPI World Congress in Cannes this year, how did you enjoy the event?

Laura: The Congress was brilliant. The topics we discussed were interesting and varied and hugely practical in my daily work as an attorney. The workshops, in particular, were enjoyable since I could debate contentious parts of intellectual patent law, learning from others and perhaps teaching them a bit too.

A great thing about FICPI is that there is a strong ethos of mingling so I met lots of different people from all over the world. I also felt very privileged to attend the social events which were held in fabulous venues in Cannes.

Since I was elected by FONIP, the national patent attorney association in Norway, as the Norwegian alternate delegate for FICPI, I think it is important to get involved in the working groups. I decided to join the Practice Management Commission (PMC) since I like the variety of topics that they work on. Also I think the group president, Anne Lévy will push the group forward to achieve very meaningful results.

 

Catherine: What attracted you to join FICPI?

Laura: As a patent attorney practicing in Norway, it is important to be a member of the Norwegian national patent attorney association FONIP. All FONIP members are automatically FICPI members and this is how I first become involved in FICPI.

 

Catherine: What have been the main benefits of joining?

Laura: There are so many resources available to FICPI members on the FICPI website and in the member area.

Most topics concerning private practice IP firms have been considered in depth already by FICPI, and ideas, statistics and solutions are readily available to FICPI members. This greatly reduces time spent problem solving for issues that are faced by the individual patent attorney and IP firms alike. 

Another great benefit is the extensive international network. Finding out how the practice and law is both similar and different across the world is both interesting to me on a personal level and useful to my clients.

Furthermore, the FICPI delegates are one of the nicest groups of people I have experienced in a professional setting. Everyone I met at the Congress was friendly, open, encouraging and interesting.

 

Catherine: What were the highlights of the Congress for you? 

Laura: Volunteering to present my group’s notes from the workshop was a highlight since it pushed me outside of my confidence zone and helped other delegates get to know me better. Another highlight was dinner on the Wednesday night since I met some hilarious attorneys from Turkey and we shared stories about experiences in Turkey and the Turkish culture.

 

Catherine: Please give us a potted history of your career and how you came to work in Norway.

Laura: After living in France for a few years and finishing a Masters in Physics there, I returned to the UK to look for a job. I became aware of jobs available as a Patent Examiner. After researching the industry, I decided it would be more interesting to be a Patent Attorney and set about making applications to all the main attorney firms that were hiring.

I got my first training position with HGF in 2015 in the field of electronics. After a year I switch to Engineering/Physics and simultaneously started a secondment with British Automotive company Jaguar Land Rover.

After HGF, I worked as a in-house attorney for Dyson Technology and subsequently for a very small private practice in Leeds.

I had been interested in relocating abroad for several years to utilise my qualification as a European Patent Attorney in another jurisdiction. When I was made redundant in the pandemic I took the opportunity to make applications abroad. I was offered a position by Bryn Aarflot in Oslo and jumped at the chance.

Bryn Aarflot is a great firm with very friendly colleagues and a fantastic atmosphere. Norway has been great too, offering me interesting clients from a plethora of successful start-up companies as well as amazing nature to fit some of my favourite hobbies of hiking and skiing.

 

Catherine: Looking to the future do you plan to attend FICPI webinars, the Forum in London in 2023, etc?

Laura: I do indeed intend to attend FICPI events. I attended the PMC online monthly meeting last week and will continue into the foreseeable future. I am also taking part in a sub working group – achieving strategic goals - where I will log my progress on achieving a particular preset goal and report back on particular successes and failures. I also hope to attend the Forum in London in 2023 pending approval by my fellow FONIP members to carry on as Norwegian alternate delegate.

 

Catherine: What attracted you to become an IP attorney?

Laura: The job of an IP attorney stood out to me since it allows me to use my linguistic, legal-minded and technical skills. I am able to utilise what I learnt in my degree whilst also using creative writing skills and legal knowledge to argue cases. This combination of activities is extremely intellectually stimulating and, I believe, unique to our industry.

 

Thank you Laura! We look forward to seeing you at future events and thank you for your contribution to PMC.

 

MaryAnne, thank you for donating this generous prize! Please tell us about yourself and your involvement with FICPI.

MaryAnne: I have been a member of FICPI for about 9 years and am currently the Reporter for FICPI’s Study & Work Group for International Patent Matters, known as CET3, and on the DEIA committee. I'm a Partner at Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch, LLP in the US. 

FICPI provides a unique opportunity to build professional relationships and friendships with IP professionals around the world.  I find that in FICPI there is a sharing of knowledge and experiences from working in the field that you do not typically find in a professional organisation. I would like to see more young members become a part of the FICPI community and bring their own experiences and knowledge.  As a woman with a STEM background DEIA is particularly important.  It is my hope/goal to see the field of IP increase its diversity with regard to both visually identifiable underrepresented groups and silent diverse groups, like LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse individuals.

FICPI’s view and involvement 

Independent IP attorneys help organisations protect and build value in their IP assets, and bring insights and counsel from a wider external perspective and a commitment to high quality work. FICPI brings IP attorneys from around the world together to connect, share knowledge and grow. 

Next steps

Consider becoming involved with working groups and committees such as:

 

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