Laura Ramsay, Partner, specialising in mechanical engineering, physics, dispute resolution and consulting, at the Dehns firm in Oxford, UK.

It is about 200 miles from Laura’s home county of Yorkshire to her current base in Oxford, England. However, her professional journey is longer and more impressive than the four-hour drive between the two places might suggest. 

It begins with gaining first class MA and Msci (Hons) degrees in Physics and Material Sciences from the world-renowned University of Cambridge and goes all the way to her present position, as a partner in an IP firm, with eight offices and 300 employees, while making regular advocacy appearances before the European Patent Office (EPO).

However, despite 25 years of professional achievement since leaving her northern home, Laura reminds us:


“You can take the lass out of Yorkshire, but you can’t take Yorkshire out of the lass.”


Professional Background & Expertise

Laura joined Dehns in 2003 immediately after graduating from Cambridge University, joining the Brighton office, candidly admitting that she enjoyed the social life in the famously fun seaside town on the south coast of England.

Even the attractions of Brighton could not distract Laura from making great strides as an IP attorney. She qualified as a European patent attorney in 2007 and as a UK Chartered patent attorney in 2008.

Laura moved to Dehns’ Oxford office in 2011, since which time the local team has expanded from ten people to around forty.

She became a partner in 2013. Her responsibilities include key roles in the business development and IP consulting teams.

Her particular areas of expertise are medium-sized engineering and medical device companies, helping them create and shape their portfolio of patents, designs and related rights. Laura observes:

“I’m a pragmatic and commercially-minded advisor. I love getting to know the technology and then figuring out where patents/IP can make an impact.” 


With regards to her work as a European patent attorney, Laura explains:

“A large chunk of my practice as a European patent attorney relates to contentious matters. I’m a frequent advocate in opposition and appeal cases at the EPO. 


“And I am now active as a UPC Representative. My first UPC revocation action is due to be heard later in 2024. None of us are experts yet, but I’m in the front pack - running up this steep learning curve of the new court and its procedures.”


Education & Training

For those interested, you can read Laura’s project publication for her Masters’ degree at Cambridge University - “High aspect ratio piezoelectric strontium-bismuth-tantalate nanotubes”, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 15 (2003), L527-L532.

Other notable academic and professional accomplishments include a Certificate in IP Law from Queen Mary, University of London, 2004. 

Adding Value to Clients

“Friendly and receptive”

is how Laura describes her firm’s approach to clients, and she believes this is the key to adding value for clients:

“Whether the problem is big or small, no question is too silly to ask. That means that we work alongside our clients as enterprising partners rather than advisors at a remote distance.”

Laura derives a lot of satisfaction from accompanying clients on their journey, whether it’s a start-up building a patent portfolio from scratch or a large corporation looking to resolve a dispute.

“I also find it very fulfilling to spot the gaps where IP can make a difference to a client. This often involves an element of tangential knowledge or expertise that you only acquire from working with a variety of different clients in multiple situations.”

Recent Client Challenge

Laura recalls a recent client challenge that she particularly enjoyed resolving and which epitomizes her approach to adding value as an IP attorney:

“Being engaged by a rapidly expanding renewable energy company to audit their IP position and uncover innovations spread across the business. 


“In a small team, we interviewed more than 100 people to discover their unique knowledge and then built an inventory of IP assets - spanning everything from operational knowhow to hardware modifications to data modelling.”


Changes to the IP Profession

There is a lot of change facing the IP profession, largely driven by technology (as witnessed by the observations of our profiled members over the past year), but Laura welcomes at least one aspect:

“I expect that transactional acts, like filing applications and paying fees, will only become more automated. I look forward to this! 


“As practitioners we can adapt by concentrating on providing high-level advice that is based on our varied knowledge and experience.”


Value of FICPI membership

Laura joined FICPI in 2012 and is very clear about why she enjoys participation in the FICPI global community:

“It is a welcoming community where you can discuss the daily challenges of being an independent IP attorney – with a feeling of collaboration rather than competition.”


Best Practice for the FICPI Community

For an area of her firm’s work that would be of interest to other FICPI members, Laura highlights the training philosophy of Dehns and how it helps others learn from less experienced colleagues:

“We have a strong focus on training, with our practice being to openly involve our trainees with our clients right from day one. 


“Working with trainees means that I’m often challenged on how and why we do things, which improves the service we deliver.” 


Final word – outside of work

With all that is going on in her life professionally, Laura likes to unwind by a complete change of scenery:

“Getting away from my computer means getting outdoors – cycling with my kids, running in the countryside or swimming in a lake.”