“Our biggest innovation was not to try and have a single innovation. Our biggest innovation was to become an innovation house.” – Tim Steiner, CEO.
Ocado is a FTSE 100 technology company committed to changing the way the world shops. As the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer, Ocado have developed a unique end-to-end operating solution for online grocery retail based on proprietary technology and IP, suitable for operating their own business and those of their commercial partners.
Ocado’s know-how and technology is at the core of their business. To build their pioneering online shopping and fulfilment business model, Ocado had to design their own proprietary solutions from scratch: there was no blueprint to follow; no off-the-shelf solution to buy.
Ocado operates at the intersection of several disruptive technologies: AI, robotics, the cloud, big data, materials handling equipment, automation and the Internet of Things. Their capabilities span physical infrastructure solutions, software and systems, to provide an end-to-end solution for selling grocery online – sustainably, profitably, and with the ability to scale.
To retain their leadership in technology, Ocado have continued to recruit. They now have over 1,500 technology employees based in development centres in the UK, Bulgaria, Poland and Spain and over 500 engineering employees. Ocado are able to attract and retain some of the best technology and engineering talent by providing teams with a licence to innovate. They are not afraid to tackle previously untouched problems, and encourage disruptive thinking beyond conventional grocery issues, to constantly exceed what was thought possible to achieve.
Ocado’s IP department is involved in raising IP awareness in a fast-growing research and development team, harvesting inventions, and drafting, filing and prosecuting patent applications in-house. Their guiding principle is not to ever block the company’s innovation, but to thoroughly counsel the relevant stakeholders on all IP risks and how to effectively mitigate them.
As a new European Patent Attorney within the department, it is envisioned that you will be assigned lead responsibility for e-commerce related innovation in the company. In the same way other attorneys in the department are now the chief point of contact for project managers, you will also in time assume this level of autonomy and proactively capture the key technology.
The focus of your work will therefore be on computer-implemented inventions. You will also, however, receive significant exposure to patent applications arising from the company’s robotics and automation research units.
Key responsibilities will include but not be limited to:
- Raising IP awareness, further establishing the department’s visibility in the company and ensuring scientists have a fundamental grasp of IP matters and policies.
- Harvesting inventions, by proactively engaging with the research teams and building a systematic understanding of their priorities, projects and breakthroughs.
- Mitigating risk, through freedom-to-operate analyses and providing other ad hoc advice on IP issues as and when they arise within the business.
- Drafting, filing and prosecuting patent applications on an international basis.
- Conducting appeals proceedings before the European Patent Office.
- Managing oppositions, in conjunction with outside counsel.
- Reviewing contracts, in conjunction with the legal department when commercial partnerships give rise to IP issues.
- Inputting on infringement matters, whether Ocado faces claims from competitors or selects to enforce its own IP.
The successful candidate will possess:
• Full qualification as a European Patent Attorney, and ideally as a Chartered Patent Attorney.
• Part-qualified patent attorneys approaching qualification will also be considered.
• Up to three years of post-qualification experience.
• A strong academic background in computer science, electrical engineering, physics, mechanical engineering or a related academic discipline.
• Practical IP experience of computer-implemented inventions.
• A pro-active manner and the confidence to assume significant autonomy.
As Ocado invests for the future, this is an exceptional opportunity for a European Patent Attorney to work intimately with some of the world’s leading data scientists and engineers who continue to disrupt global commerce. In addition to continuing to hone your substantive skills in drafting and prosecuting patents, with access to far more information regarding inventions and their strategic import than it is sometimes possible to acquire within private practice, you will also develop crucial career skills in how to build a robust IP culture within a fast-growing technology company.