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We are
HOFFMANN EITLE is one of Europe’s leading firms specializing in the protection of intellectual property. With seven offices across Europe, the firm is one of the largest of its type. We advise our clients on all legal and technical issues regarding patent applications and patent prosecution and are well known for our expertise in opposition and litigation proceedings.
We offer
The only route to becoming a patent attorney is by taking a position as a trainee, and being trained by an already-qualified patent attorney. We offer our trainees top-quality training (our pass rates for the Qualifying Exams are well above average), good long-term career perspectives, and a dynamic and rewarding work environment.
We are looking for
Individuals with
a technical qualification at university level (M.Sc. or Ph.D.)
excellent English skills (written and spoken)
first-rate technical comprehension
ability to analyze complex facts and present these in precise technical terms
// Interview 2017
Dr. Adam Lacy
European and British Patent Attorney

MSc Chemistry at University of Oxford (2007)
PhD Chemistry at University of Oxford (2011)

joined HOFFMANN EITLE (2013)
European Patent Attorney (2016)
British Patent Attorney (2017)
What do you do as a European and British Patent Attorney at HOFFMANN EITLE?
I advise our clients (mostly European, Japanese, or American companies active in chemical or pharmaceutical research) how to best manage their intellectual property in Europe. This involves helping to draft and prosecute patent applications, and also attacking the patents of competitors. As part of this work, I attend hearings and present our cases at the European patent office.
Are you working in Munich most of the time or does your position entail a lot of traveling?
At present, I mainly work in Munich, with a couple of trips abroad for work each year. The amount of traveling depends on personal preference and seniority: some of my more senior colleagues travel to visit clients or attend conferences worldwide as much as once a month. In addition, trainees at HOFFMANN EITLE have the opportunity to spend six months at our London office.
Why did you choose a career as a Patent Attorney?
The part of research which I most enjoyed was analyzing the results we had obtained, and communicating them in writing or orally. After deciding to leave research, I was keen to find a career in which I could continue to work with research and new scientific developments, at the same time as placing more emphasis on my communication skills. I had an awareness of the patent profession from a young age, because my father was an inventor. So it seemed a natural step to me to move into patent law.
Are there many chemists at HOFFMANN EITLE? How important is the specific scientific background in your field of work?
We have a total of approximately 50 chemists and biochemists at HOFFMANN EITLE. Having a strong scientific background is essential to our work, because we spend most of our time thinking about science.
During you work as Patent Attorney, do you encounter the fields of organic chemistry in which you worked as a PhD student or as a PostDoc?
Yes, I have worked on several cases directed to new synthetic organic methods and handle many cases in the pharmaceutical field. In addition, I have also had opportunities to branch out into new fields of chemistry which I had not encountered in my research career, such as fluorine and paper chemistry.
What led you to choose HOFFMANN EITLE as an employer? How did the application proceed – did you apply for an advertised position or was it a speculative application?
I chose to apply to HOFFMANN EITLE as they are one of the largest and most international patent law firms in Europe, and have an excellent reputation in chemistry in particular.

I made a speculative application to HOFFMANN EITLE. I was then invited to an interview in their Munich office, and was offered a position shortly after.
How easy was the transition from your postdoctoral position to HOFFMANN EITLE? How does work in an organic chemistry group differ from your current work environment?
The transition was relatively easy for me, as I found the work very interesting and the international working environment similar to that which I had enjoyed at ETH. Having said this, although we do work with research, the day-to-day work is very different to lab work. For example, we do not carry out any experiments ourselves, although we sometimes design experiments for our clients. Also, Patent Attorneys tend to work by themselves most of the day, whereas working in a lab brings you constantly into contact with other people. In addition, there is a lot to learn during the three to four year training period, which is a big change from working as a postdoc in a field in which you have several years of experience.
Do you only work in English or does a Patent Attorney need to be knowledgeable of more languages?
The working language at HOFFMANN EITLE is English. It is not necessary to know any other languages to work as a Patent Attorney. Having said this, opportunities do arise to use other languages, so they are always an asset! Additional languages which are of particular interest to us are German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.
Are there internships or other programs, that would allow students or graduates to see first-hand how it is to work at HOFFMANN EITLE?
HOFFMANN EITLE offer internships throughout the year, to allow potential applicants to get a feel of how it is to work as a Patent Attorney. Interns at HOFFMANN EITLE can expect to work together with a supervisor on various cases, and also have opportunities to accompany our Patent Attorneys to oral proceedings at the European Patent Office.
Last question: What would your advice be for someone who recently graduated from ETH and is looking for a job?
Come by and meet us at Chemtogether!
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