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Jonathan Goodacre is a partner at Keltie, specialising in chemistry and the life science sectors. He heads up the firm's Cambridge office and has broad expertise in various technology areas, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and sustainability. Jonathan has degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Leeds. He is a UK Chartered Patent Attorney, a European Patent Attorney, and a UK Design Attorney.


Excelling on the life sciences and chemistry side, Jonathan Goodacre’s expertise lies in supporting start-up and spin-out companies. As IAM Patent 1000 2024 states, “his advice is straightforward and clear-cut, which makes navigating the patent landscape for the first time a breeze.” With this accolade, who better to speak with to uncover more about this area?


To celebrate being named again as a recommended practitioner by IAM 1000, we talk to Jonathan Goodacre to discover why Cambridge is at the heart of the life sciences sector and how to solve the modern challenges of this evolving industry sector.

The IAM Patent 1000 focuses exclusively on patent practice and is the go-to resource for those seeking world-class legal patent expertise. Can you share what being named as a recommended practitioner in the IAM Patent 1000 means to you and your team at Keltie?


At Keltie, we work hard for our clients every day – never for awards or recognition but simply because that is what our clients expect from us and what we expect from ourselves. That’s not to say, though, that we don’t like a pat on the back sometimes!

The IAM Patent 1000 means a lot in the industry and greatly to us at Keltie. It is one of the preeminent awards in the IP sector and is based, at least in part, on the comments and feedback provided by our clients, which makes it something special. As a firm, it is very rewarding to receive a good ranking in the IAM Patent 1000. To be selected as a recommended practitioner alongside this is a great honour and one, I have been very privileged to have for four years running now.


What do you believe sets Keltie apart in patent law and intellectual property?


I think what sets Keltie apart from other IP firms is, put simply, we care. Many firms (including ours) offer top-quality IP services; many firms have knowledgeable and reliable attorneys, but many (not including ours) limit themselves to their basic instructions.


I find that Keltie is different – we are genuinely interested and want to understand our clients’ companies and needs inside and outside of IP. We want to understand our clients’ commercial aspirations and plans and provide commercially relevant IP advice. We don’t just ask, “What would you like us to do for you?" Instead, we ask, “What do you want IP protection for?” “What are your plans for your next investment round?" and “What stage are you at with your prototype?” partly because it helps us best advise on approaches, but also because we are interested and want to help. We don’t just stop working for our clients when their application is filed or the latest examination report is dealt with; we plan, we follow up and visit, we check in - we want to keep in touch so that we can understand the client’s business and current needs. We find that caring just gets the job done better.


How have your background and experience prepared you to excel in this area?


Despite my years of training on the legal side, I still consider myself a scientist. I intended to work in science, and in particular pharmaceuticals, in my mid-teens. I have a first degree in natural sciences and a PhD in organic chemistry. I even held a post-doc position in Europe before returning to be a lab-based pharmaceutical chemist for GSK for several years before I became a patent attorney. This love of science and mix of in-house and legal experience helps me work with companies in diverse sectors, including pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical devices, and agritech, protecting their IP and working with them to develop an IP strategy that adds value. For me, though, it means I get the best of both worlds: to stay in touch with the science that I love but also to be able to offer something of real value to the companies I work with by strengthening their IP protection, helping them build and grow, and continuing to do more great science.


What is the biggest challenge clients in the life sciences sector face now?


The life science sector is buzzing at the moment, particularly in the world-renowned life sciences hub of Cambridge, UK, where I am based. AI has entered everyday thinking and become accessible to all. This is leading to an ever-increasing number of fantastic inventions based on the advancements in life sciences that AI and machine learning can offer. Whether it be small-molecule drug discovery, computational design in cell biology, or even insect protein production (one of my clients has fantastic inventions in this area), AI is everywhere. It’s a great thing and is only going to get bigger, but this is not without its challenges, both technically and legally.


How does Keltie’s Life Sciences and Chemistry team help solve these challenges?


At Keltie, we pride ourselves on collaborative work and thinking. The team of Keltie patent attorneys that would normally support our life sciences clients now works routinely with our Keltie AI group in a multi-disciplinary manner. This gives us the skills, flexibility, and expertise to adapt to our clients' needs and adapt again as those needs change over time. It would be nice if technology fell into easily defined groups, but it doesn’t, and never has. It’s great to see that Keltie is continuing to adapt to the changes in the life sciences sector, and I think this is another example of the same care for our clients that we so pride ourselves on.


Can you tell us about your team in Cambridge?


The Keltie Cambridge team includes Samantha Walker-Smith, Michael Moore, Mark Levy, and Florencia Wisnivesky. We also have an incredible support team here in the Cambridge office. This includes Sharon Osborn, who provides attorney support; and our trainee patent attorneys Eleanor Adams and Samuel Daffern. Maria Polo and Joseph Costelloe provide IP system support. Others, such as Edwina Bishop and Amelia Skelding, also regularly support the Cambridge office. It’s a friendly and supportive group, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.


Today, Cambridge is Europe's largest and the world’s third largest biotechnology cluster, consisting of more than 30 science and technology parks within 10 miles of the city. Why is Cambridge one of the world's most successful life sciences and technology clusters?


Cambridge has always had a buzz to it. With its history, the University still dominates the city and this academic pedigree continues to inspire and attract the highest quality life sciences companies to the area. With over 430 life sciences companies and organisations supporting a specialised workforce of more than 15,500 and contributing around £2.9 billion annually to the UK economy, it is a very special place to be a patent attorney.


With the infrastructure keeping pace with the exceptional growth evidenced by the continued expansion of science facilities and train and transport links, then it appears Cambridge remains on track for a very healthy future. We at Keltie are proud to be here and be part of this fantastic community.


You can read more about Patent 1000 here:  Keltie LLP - Patent 1000 - IAM (








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