Robert joined Gill Jennings & Every in 1972, shortly after graduating from Cambridge University with an honours degree in natural sciences, specialising in organic chemistry and biochemistry. He qualified as a Chartered Patent Attorney and European Patent Attorney in 1978, and joined the partnership in 1980.
Initially, Robert's work involved primarily pharmaceuticals, and he gradually assumed responsibility for biotechnology work as that started to come in. He is now pleased to leave the more technical aspects of the bio-work to younger partners, as the focus of his own work has developed in parallel with the increasing awareness, among venture capitalists and financial institutions generally, of intellectual property as a means of realising commercial goals. When GJE opened an office on the new Cambridge University Science Park, in 1986, we complemented the growing number of technology-based small companies that constituted the "Cambridge effect".
This has also been the core of Robert's current practice. It primarily involves working with small, emerging companies from concept via business plan, financing and, eventually, sale or flotation. The companies he has taken through to such an exit strategy include Celsis, Chiroscience, ITM Fuel Cells, KS Biomedix, Powderject, Ark Therapeutics, Oxford Glycosciences. He is currently working with many more, and is confident that several will be added to the list of companies that have successfully raised funds to support valuable research and development, on the basis of strong intellectual property.
Over the years, Robert has enjoyed acting as an advocate in the Patent Office, in the High Court and, on many occasions, at the European Patent Office in Munich. His mantra remains: "show me something new and I will help you protect it".
One consequence of having a broad British client base is that Robert has considerable experience in co-ordinating foreign patent filing programmes. This includes obtaining over 100 US patents for Chiroscience alone.