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Lucky coincidence ignited a passion for patents



Our Patent Attorney Tapio Kinnunen enjoys the independence of the work, its challenges and utilising his prior expertise. A passion for the industry was ignited by a random encounter, inspiring him to complete the Finnish patent attorney examination alongside his work. He passed the difficult examination on the first try. The next goal is the even more challenging European-level attorney qualification.

“I have always been ambitious, and in addition to self-development, I also want to succeed in everything I do. Efficiency in achieving my goals is reflected in success in both working life and studies.

It was precisely the desire to develop that made me transfer to my dream job at Kolster in the autumn of 2019. In my previous job as a patent engineer, I evaluated invention reports and made proposals for patent decisions, while as a patent attorney, I get to write patent applications and correspond with the patent office for the granting of the patent.

At Kolster, I am able to develop myself in the direction I want. I enjoy the independence and challenging nature of the work, and the inventions I come across are fascinating. While reading up on them, I get to constantly learn new things.

Since the patenting process can take years, it is a great feeling to be able to inform the customer after lengthy efforts that the patent has now been granted. The journey is long and requires patience, but it is my pleasure to support the customer at every step.

An unquenchable passion for the patent industry was ignited by an encounter

Even though patents play a significant role in the field of technology, in my studies for a master of science degree, patents were sadly not addressed at all. I ended up in the IPR industry by chance, but it immediately felt like my thing. 

One of the most important turning points in my career was the day I met Kolster’s European Patent Attorney Marjut Honkasalo. At the time, I was working for Kolster’s customer company ABB as a technical documentation specialist and was able to attend a meeting where our product development teams described an invention to Honkasalo, who was writing the patent application. Before that, I had not even heard of the profession of patent attorney. 

The encounter ignited both my interest in the patent industry and an unquenchable desire to learn more about it. Shortly afterwards, I ended up in the role of patent engineer at ABB and was also inspired to complete the Finnish patent attorney examination alongside my work. Only about a third of the candidates usually pass that challenging examination, but I succeeded on the first try. I am proud of that accomplishment. 

I now work on the same team with Marjut and she has served as an important mentor for me. During our first meeting at ABB, I could not have guessed that we would one day become co-workers.

I am a patent guide and interpreter for customers 

Kolster seemed like the best option to support my development in the role of patent attorney, and many of the employees were already familiar to me through ABB. There is also a positive and encouraging work atmosphere here.  

The work of a patent attorney as a whole is an interesting combination of technology, law and business expertise. Sometimes I also get to work on inventions that were invented by my former colleagues in the industry. Additionally, I enjoy writing because it has always been one of my strengths.

In the field of ICT, patentable inventions are often very complex and at times difficult to understand. A particularly challenging invention can be grasped by studying its background information and theory. I especially like that I can utilise the expertise I have previously acquired. When I came to Kolster, I was already experienced in reading patent texts and invention reports, as well as recognising the key features of inventions. 

My previous role as Kolster’s customer also ensures that I bring enough customer perspective to my work. Customers may not understand patent technical issues or be able to provide the information I need directly. Therefore, I act as an intermediary, interpreter and guide between customers and the patent office.

“My brain was in a bit jumbled in the beginning”

Just one wrong choice of words in a patent application can result in the patent becoming virtually worthless. Consequently, the work of novice patent attorneys is thoroughly reviewed at Kolster by more experienced colleagues before delivery to the customer. I, too, received quite a few suggestions for improvement from my mentor in my first applications, such as that I should use more transparent text and avoid words such as ‘only’ or ‘every’. Because the work requires constant relentless precision, my brain was a bit jumbled in the beginning. 

However, I have made huge progress. I have prepared some twenty patent applications during my first year at Kolster, so I can practically already keep up with my more experienced veteran colleagues. I have received a lot of positive feedback about the quality of my work from both my mentor and customers. The feedback encourages me to constantly work to ensure that I can continue to maintain a high level – and raise it further.  

My next plan is to complete the European patent attorney qualification, which is even more demanding than the Finnish attorney examination. It requires at least three years of work experience in the patent industry and very good knowledge of European patent law.”

Interested in a career as a patent attorney? Read more and contact our team leadersYou can send your open application to address rekry@kolster.f


Tapio Kinnunen
Patent Attorney
+358 50 530 4697