Professor Sally Brooker
Recent PhD graduates
Dr. Duncan J. de Geest, BSc(Hons), PhD
Current Job Title: Patent Executive
Employer: A J Park, Wellington, New Zealand
Previous Job Title: Postdoctoral Fellow (Marsden Fund), University
once read that the work of a patent attorney resides at the point where
science, law and language intersect. I think this is perhaps the most
succinct description of my current job that I have found. A broad scientific
knowledge together with good communication skills are prerequisites for
those intending to train as a patent attorney. The necessary legal knowledge
is generally acquired in the course of employment and study for the registration
examinations. That said, a law degree or a basic understanding of legal
process is certainly helpful. Given the commercial importance of patents,
an understanding of business imperatives is also valuable.
The day to day aspects of my work involve dealing with local and international
clients in the course of preparing and prosecuting patent applications
in New Zealand and overseas. No two applications or clients are identical
and, as a result, each day is different. Most tasks are deadline driven
so organisation and flexibility are essential. A sense of humour is also
I completed a B.Sc.(Hons) and Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of
Canterbury with Associate Professor Peter Steel. Seeking gainful employment,
I joined Sally's group for a year in 1998, and returned for another year
in 2000. My time at the University of Otago was both challenging and enjoyable.
The Chemistry Department at Otago has a strong research focus supported
by very capable academic and technical staff.
Working with Sally gave me the opportunity to be involved in organic synthesis
and coordination chemistry and provided me with experience in the use
of a wide variety of characterisation techniques. Dunedin is a great city
in which to live and work, offering easy access to a wide variety of recreational
pursuits from the sedentary to the extreme.
I enjoyed and feel I benefited from my time at Otago and would recommend
the experience to anyone wanting to combine scientific challenge with
a great lifestyle.
Contact: Dr. Duncan J.
de Geest, A J Park