Page published on 15th November 2023
Page last modified on 16th November 2023


“After this workshop, I have gained further confidence in pursuing a career in IP, as I now feel more assured about the next steps to take.” 
Kusum Gurung,
Summer of IP alumnus

“Undoubtedly, this event will feature in my CV and future cover letters, as well as be an interesting subject to bring up in interviews.”
Paris Ware-Lane, Summer of IP alumnus


During the summer of 2023 our Careers in Ideas team coordinated a programme of outreach activities and events, under the Summer of IP banner. They included introductions to the basics about IP and the careers available here, some more specific events to showcase particular types of career, and opportunities such as taster sessions and work experience placements from IP sector employers.

We asked participants to tell us about their Summer of IP experiences, what they learnt and what they enjoyed the most. We’re publishing the resultant blog posts on our website News and Features page throughout the autumn. Here Kusum Gurung, an undergraduate student in biomedicine at the University of Warwick, and Paris Ware-Lane, a French and classics undergraduate student at the University of Edinburgh, tell us about the “IP Detective” workshop they attended over the summer.

Kusum writes:

Photo of Kusum Gurung

Kusum Gurung

I attended the “IP Detective” workshop led by Sarah Neil (Senior Associate) and Marianne Privett (Partner) at AA Thornton this summer. I am pursuing a degree in biomedicine with a keen interest in patent law, and I found this experience very insightful.

I initially learned about the event through IP Inclusive. I attended several IP workshops this summer, and my experience with AA Thornton was the most impactful. They had a unique approach, teaching us about the four main types of IP, followed by a series of interactive exercises that we completed together. I learned the importance of IP and what each type of IP protects. It was also helpful to put theory into practice: for instance, we identified different types of IP using Lego. Furthermore, we engaged in another exercise in which we compared two very similar Star Wars packaging designs and debated certain aspects of whether they constituted infringement. It was fascinating to learn how a product can be interpreted differently and how it affects consumers’ overall impressions. Therefore, I realised the significant role of patent attorneys in navigating the legal framework to protect their clients’ inventions within the bounds of the law, which requires a deep understanding of patent law and regulations. Overall, it was an informative and enjoyable workshop.

Both Sarah and Marianne were fantastic, as they not only made pursuing a career in IP appealing but also a career with AA Thornton. They translated complex jargon into simple, accessible terms for us, as most of us were undergraduates with non-law degrees. Additionally, they were very friendly and addressed our questions with great consideration. In general, they provided excellent advice. After this workshop, I have gained further confidence in pursuing a career in IP, as I now feel more assured about the next steps to take.


Paris writes:

Photo of Paris Ware-Lane

Paris Ware-Lane

On Wednesday 6 September 2023, I virtually attended an “IP Detective” interactive workshop, led by Marianne Privett and Sarah Neil from AA Thornton. It was easy to find this event via the IP Inclusive website, which has organised a campaign – Summer of IP – to encourage a wider range of people to learn more about and pursue IP-related careers. Being an aspiring trade mark attorney and having previously enjoyed completing virtual IP infringement tasks with other law firms, this event sounded perfect, and I couldn’t sign up quickly enough!

Throughout the hour, a wide range of topics were covered: an overview of the work AA Thornton does; the five core types of IP; the reasons for IP protection; what kind of product each IP type is used to protect. Once this information was presented, I, with the fellow attendees, had the chance to put all this into practice identifying the different types of IP used for well-known products. This was a highly engaging way of introducing us to the mindset of a trade mark or patent attorney and solidifying our knowledge around the topic.

I found the session to be particularly insightful and enjoyable due to its inclusive and relaxed atmosphere. The hosts were easy-going, personable and welcomed all questions, and the more intimate number of attendees meant that everyone’s queries were voiced. There was also an interesting range of perspectives across the group; as a French and classics undergraduate student myself, I was in the company of several science undergraduate students, as well as an attendee qualified within the Indian IP sector. Additionally, the differing backgrounds of the hosts – Sarah Neil, a trade mark attorney with a law degree and Marianne Privett, a patent attorney with a science degree and masters, provided further depth to the discussion and ensured multiple areas of IP were covered.

The format and content of the workshop, such as the inclusion of familiar names such as Barbie, Lego and Coca-Cola, sparked interest throughout the group and made the information all the more accessible. Discussion over the potential copyright of the term “Kenough” from the new Barbie film was a particularly enjoyable topic.

This session certainly confirmed my desire to pursue a career in IP, particularly trade marks. I came away so enthused that I, almost immediately, presented my flatmate with a summary of everything I had absorbed. Undoubtedly, this event will feature in my CV and future cover letters, as well as be an interesting subject to bring up in interviews. At the workshop’s conclusion, the hosts kindly invited us to connect with them on LinkedIn and provided us with additional ways to gain insight into IP. Overall, I hope the Summer in IP campaign continues, and that I get the chance to attend more of these insightful sessions.


Our thanks to all the IP professionals and organisations who helped to make Summer of IP a success, and in particular to the team at AA Thornton for organising and hosting the workshops that inspired Kusum and Paris so much.

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Comments: (1):


Great to hear how useful the participants found our sessions, hosted by Marianne and Sarah. We too hope the Summer of IP campaign continues to give people the chance to find out about IP and hopefully see what a great career it can lead to for them.

Jill Wilson

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