Sarah Richmond

Sarah RichmondI studied Engineering Science at St Peter’s College and have really fond memories of my student days: rowing on the river, days spent in the Thom building and evenings in the college bar! I chose to study Engineering Science at Oxford because at the age of 18, I knew I liked the idea of a job in engineering but wasn’t sure exactly which discipline was for me.

As it turned out, the broad base of my degree has been a fantastic, solid foundation for my career as an engineer, which has lead me to many different places and work in a large range of technical areas, and also to becoming a Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

After university, I worked for GKN plc for six years. For the first 18 months I was on the GKN Graduate Development programme, which gave me an excellent opportunity to gain a broad insight into the global world of engineering. I worked at Westland Helicopters in Yeovil on the build of the first Apache helicopter, was a project manager in the Off-Highway Division in Germany developing a tractor hitch and worked as an application engineer in the Driveline Division in Paris. Following this, I joined GKN Driveline and my first role was as a Project Manager in the Global Standards Team. I was responsible for the development of programme management standards and had a 9 month secondment to Tokyo. I was tasked with deployment for Asia Pacific, which gave me a fantastic opportunity to explore the region. My next move was back to the UK, where I worked as a Project Engineer at the GKN Driveline facility in Birmingham for two years. I was responsible for three assembly cells which supplied constant velocity joints to Jaguar and Nissan. I then moved into a role as Global Programme Manager for Information Systems. I completed the roll out of the IS applications to 35 Driveline locations worldwide and was also responsible for the design and development of a Global Internal Supplier Portal. I managed a central team and remote teams of IT applications developers in Italy and the UK.

In 2005, I moved to Munich, Germany where I lived for six and a half years and worked as a Patent Examiner at the European Patent Office (EPO). The role of an EPO examiner combines technical expertise with analytical research, language skills and an eye for the legal aspects of intellectual property. My job involved: reading technical patent specifications and drawings; searching in relevant technical fields using the extensive EPO databases and knowledge of global classification schemes; working with the attorneys representing the applicants to amend the application ready for grant. I worked with colleagues and attorneys in all three official EPO languages: English, French, German.

In summer 2012, I relocated back to the UK with my husband and two young children and started a new career as a patent attorney.  I am now working at Wynne-Jones IP in Cheltenham. I use my broad engineering experience and knowledge of Intellectual Property Law to work with engineering companies of various sizes to obtain and enforce their IP rights. I am currently part-qualified and working towards full qualification. The job involves working with the clients’ engineers and inventors to understand their invention disclosures and drafting patent applications. I then act on behalf of the client working with Patent Offices and foreign attorneys.