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Based in Keltie’s Cotswolds office, Sullivan leads Keltie's Sustainability Practice and deals with technologies across the full range of engineering disciplines, including mechanical, electronic, materials, control systems, and software-related inventions.


A graduate of Mechatronics from the University of Leeds, Sullivan qualified as a Chartered and European Patent Attorney in 2008. His technical knowledge supports his drafting and prosecuting patent applications in engineering and computer-related technologies.


We talk to Sullivan about what he thinks makes a successful IP law firm and learn about how Keltie is helping clients with their current IP challenges.

What do you think makes Keltie a successful IP firm?


It starts with excellence in their people. This is both on the fee-earner side and the client service side. Excellence starts with recruiting the best people with the right technical skills but, more importantly, recruiting those with the right mindsets that align with what Keltie represents and who will work together collaboratively to grow with the business in the future.

Also, I think that every successful business needs to nurture values that encourage openness, collaboration, entrepreneurialism, and a lack of blame when things don’t go as planned.

With the right people in place, the firm will be in the best position to serve our clients in the best way we can and tackle the inevitable challenges to the business as we look ahead.


What qualities do good patent attorneys have?


The types of people who make good patent attorneys are as varied as the types of people who make good clients. Generally speaking, a strong technical aptitude is pretty much assumed in our profession, but patent attorneys also need to be open and personable to foster the most effective relationships with inventors and clients. On top of all this, it’s crucial to put yourself in the shoes of the client to understand what they want to achieve commercially in order to advise them in the best way possible.


I think genuine intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm, combined with commercial understanding and an interest in people, which supports an attorney in engaging effectively with clients and contacts, can be a potent mix.


What are the main challenges IP clients are experiencing right now, and how does Keltie help them?


I think for smaller clients, the challenges are rather perennial; often they are coming into the world of intellectual property (IP) with little in the way of detailed knowledge of this field. Keltie attorneys are adept at helping these clients navigate the IP landscape effectively. Keltie attorneys like to advise what a client should do (with full disclosure about risks, costs, and so on), rather than simply point out the options and ask what they want to do.


For larger clients, there is constant pressure to trim costs as well as a shifting IP landscape to contend with. In this case, I think the way in which Keltie professionals communicate with clients openly and forge great working relationships with them is an effective way to address these challenges together.


Why is it better to use a specialist IP law firm?


IP, and particularly patent law, is a niche area of the law requiring a unique mix of technical ability and training, legal knowledge and commercial acumen. Patent attorneys are immersed in this niche field in their day-to-day lives and so are best placed to advise clients on the complicated process of obtaining, defending and enforcing patent rights and other related issues.


Therefore, engaging with a specialist IP firm, like Keltie, is the most effective way for an innovative business to build its expertise in this area as well as to develop an IP portfolio to protect its innovative efforts.


Why do you think Keltie is one of Europe’s leading Patent Law Firms?


Importantly, the Financial Times rankings are based on client reviews, and that is why we value the rankings so much; it’s our clients talking about us rather than us talking about ourselves.


Keltie has always had a knack for nurturing clients, and this is supported by the many client relationships that go back years. Of course, there is always more we can do, and we are restless in our efforts to build existing client relationships and build new ones.


Headquartered in London and with offices in Cambridge, the Cotswolds, and Ireland, Keltie specialises in IP law and management. Clients benefit from experienced IP attorneys who work across all technologies and commercial fields. To find out more about working with Keltie, contact your nearest office:

Continue reading about An interview with Sullivan Fountain, Partner at Keltie
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