Skip to main content

Information, patent and library work

Information management roles focus on organising, facilitating access and retrieval of information in archives and librariesIntellectual property roles such as patent and trademark work focus on safeguarding proprietary usage of intellectual propertyi.e.creative work that can be deemed to be an asset or physical property. Intellectual property rights encompass protection of the following forms of intellectual property: copyrights (e.g. authorship of a book or film), trademarks (e.g. a slogan), designs (e.g. a logo), patents (e.g. process or a product) and trade secrets (e.g. secret formula or recipe). Common to both careerof information knowledge management and intellectual property is a necessity for high levels of research skills, meticulous attention to detail, an investigative mindset, analytical problem solving, and a competency in customer serviceSome IP roles will demand an ability to interpret a highly complex technical STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) information. 

Intellectual property work encompasses the following occupations: IP analyst, IP lawyers, trademark attorney, patent examinersThese occupations are lawyers who are specifically qualified to advise on intellectual property law and are subject to regulation by the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg). The exception being IP analysts who can be seen as business development managers who seek to research patents to identify opportunities for protecting and commercialising inventions. Eighty percent of patent lawyers are found in private practice; the other twenty percent are in the public sector and in-house divisions of industrial companies. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys states there are 2,645 practicing IP lawyers working in the UK. 

In contrast, most libraries, archives and sites of records keeping are found in the public sector, in places of learning such as schools/colleges and universities, they also can be found in commercial spaces, industryprofessional bodies and sites of governance. There are over three and half thousand public libraries and about two thousand archive collections in the UK. The main difference between archives and libraries is the type of content they house. Archives typically contain unique and rare public records or historical materials, sometimes requiring professionals to develop practical skills of conservation, whereas libraries contain various reading and study materialsIn this domain we find the following occupations: librarians (academic and public), library clerks/assistants, archivists, archive conservators, information manager, and records managers. 

Detailed occupational profiles of occupations in information, research and analysis (e.g. intellectual property) can be found here on Prospects. 

For sector statistics, please visit the Legal Services industry page on My Career Zone Digital which contains some data on intellectual property, and the CILP Insights and news page for information about the status of libraries and archives.

Work experience options 

Libraries and archives  

Intellectual Property 

Securing work experience in intellectual property can be challenging due to the classified nature of work and the relatively small number of practitioners working in this field. Some patent firms offer vacation schemes which can found on platforms such as IPCareersAttendance at trade association inventor fairs can offer a great way to meet patent attorneys. Listings of trade fairs can be found on platforms such as International Federation of Inventors’ Association list of events. 

Career Zone Employability Schemes 

We have a range of employability schemes to help increase your work experience and networks in this area. 

  • Career Zone Internship schemes: Internships can be extremelyuseful, so try and get relevant vacation work
  • Ask an Alum: A fuss-free way to connect with University of Exeter alumni to ask careers questions.  
  • Career Mentor Scheme: A popular employability scheme which matches a student or graduate with an experienced professional, for sector insight and one-to-one careers advice and guidance, over a 6-month period.  

Labour Market Intelligence and Recruitment Trends 

Office for National Statistics predict an expansion of the workforce of librarians and contraction of librarian assistants to generate 41,000 combined job openings by 2027. Intellectual property professionals form a small niche of professionals with approximately two and half thousand professionals working at present in the UK, eighty percent of which are in private practice. 

Office for National Statistics analysis predicts 26.73% of librarian jobs are at risk of automation which compares with 24.31% of legal professional(exact data for IP professionals is not available) jobs at risk of automation. See ONS. 

Artificial intelligence tools will have widespread use in patent searching, with projected automation of some elements of patent examination and prosecution, but as drafting is tethered to the interview process with inventors it is forecast that patent professions will be insulated from job losses through automation. There is strong demand for IP lawyers forecast in specialisms of biotechnology, bioinformatics.  

The CILP in a 2021 research report “The impact of AI, machine learning, automation and robotics on the information profession forecasts significant impact on roles within information management, predicting routine tasks such as indexing, classification, signposting, provision of triage information becoming automated with use of AI chatbots such as LAMA and LibraryAnn, and the application of robotics in accessing physical information assets, will impact on numbers of library technicians and clerical library assistants, but the report predictsgrowing opportunities in more complex roles associated with data stewardship and a reconfiguration of existing roleswith the increase intake of information at disposal; the total volume of data being created, managed and shared globally is predicted to increase tenfold between 2016 and 2030 (from 16Zb in 2016 to 162Zb in 2030). The CILP at present is unable to quantify the impact of AI in information management but forecasts change in work and roles. 

Information Resources 

Have a look at the following brief videos and podcasrs for an insight into this sector. 

If you wish to do further research into this sector, the following webpages may be useful. 

Intellectual Property 

  • Careers in Ideas - partnership careers resource between businesses, CIPA, IP Federation, UK association of Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI-UK) and Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys. 

  • UK Intellectual Property OfficeUK gov site for IPO. 

Information Management (Libraries, Archives, Records) 

For general information about finding graduate opportunities, please visit our Graduate Jobs page, and for a list of general job search engines please visit our general job sources page. You could also have a look at Handshake, our vacancy database with employers who are targeting University of Exeter students. 


Information Management 




Intellectual Property 

  • IP Careers - intellectual property professional recruitment service. 

  • Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys professional and examining body for patent attorneys in the UK - job vacancies platform. 

  • EPO - European Patent Office's job vacancies platform. 



If you have studied a related degree, check if your course is accredited by one of the professional bodies. Being a member of a professional body is voluntary however, it can be valuable for developing networks, continuing your professional development, and generally keeping up to date with what's happening in the sector.  

Intellectual Property 

  • IP Federation - advocacy representing practice of intellectual property professionals:  

  • FICPI-UK - The British Association of The International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys - professional register of members representing patent and trade mark attorneys:  

  • The Chartered Institute of Trademark Attorneys- professional membership organisation representingtrade mark attorneys. 

  • International Trademark Associationnot for profit association representingprofessionals, working with trademarks: attorneys, brands owners, law firms, government bodies and academics. 

Information Management (libraries, archives and records) 

If you wish to pursue postgraduate study before entering your chosen sector, please visit our Postgraduate Study information page for more information about choosing further study.  

It can often be useful to gain postgraduate qualifications in the relevant subject area if your undergraduate degree is in a different topic but, beware, there are many courses on the market, and they are not all equally successful in securing your "dream job". You can always complement your degree with professional qualifications to show your commitment towards the industry such as an ARA accredited course or a CILIP accredited course. See the above Professional Bodies section for more information on applicable bodies.