This month’s featured member has a particular focus on developing people and practices that support the future of the independent IP profession.

Howard Read, a partner at Appleyard Lees IP in Cambridge, England, points to his firm’s approach to mentoring as a best practice to share with other FICPI members:

“We have a robust mentoring programme, for everyone from IP Administrators to senior associates, delivered by Partners from other offices and other fields, to support professional development.”

As well as inspiring younger professionals through mentoring, Howard looks to trainees to inspire their more experienced colleagues on emerging communication best practices:

“How we interact and communicate with colleagues will change.

“Current trainees often interact and communicate amongst themselves in a very agile manner, by engaging in multiple, rapid and rapidly changing discussions in parallel, using multiple online forums.

“This is the practice of the future. We must adapt and adopt.”

Professional background

Howard joined Appleyard Lees in February 2014, after 14 years at the global analytical instruments and software company, the Waters Corporation.

His areas of expertise are in patent drafting and prosecution; oppositions and appeals at the EPO; and litigation.

Every FICPI member is highly educated – it comes with the job! However, Howard’s educational resume is particularly noteworthy for the diversity of topics in which he is qualified. 

Aside from a LLM in IP Law (Manchester, 2012), his degrees include a PhD in Metallurgy (Cambridge, 1996), MA in Natural Sciences (Cambridge 1995), MSc in Computing (Open University, 2006) and a BSc in Technology (Open University, 2015).

Adding value to clients

Howard believes that the greatest value that he and his firm bring to clients is as a trusted advisor – offering unbiased, pragmatic opinions based on a keen understanding of the client business goals.

It is helping clients achieve those goals that Howard cites as the most satisfying aspect of his own career as an independent IP attorney, “from product launch to raising investment to acquisition.”

He recalls a recent example of how satisfying it is to help a client win:

“Success, whether defending or opposing, in opposition and appeal at the EPO are always enjoyable challenges.

“Of particular note, is a recent due diligence assessment that resulted in both acquisition of our client and winning further work from the purchaser.”

Value of FICPI membership

Howard joined FICPI in 2019 and currently sits on the CET Group 6, which focuses on software and high-tech issues.

He is secretary of FICPI-UK and was an alternate delegate to the ExCo meeting that took place recently in London, immediately prior to the Open Forum.

You may have heard Howard speak at the London Open Forum – he was also a speaker at Vienna in 2019.

He is very clear on the value of FICPI membership:

“The enduring relationships with FICPI members across the world.”

Final word – outside of work

Howard has a more interesting and diverse background than most!

“My heart is Brazilian, my eyes were opened in Japan,” he says. 

“Though born in the UK, I enjoyed the delights of growing up in São Paulo, Brazil. As a research fellow, I was privileged to live and work in Tsukuba, Japan.”

Outside of work he enjoys rowing, for which he trains and races with the Isle of Ely Club, based on the River Great Ouse, near Cambridge.