Nigel Brooks

Victoria Colley

Engineering is in the Brooks genes. As a little boy Nigel helped his father get a model traction engine working that had been made by a great uncle. The engine went with him to school and still sits in its chest in his workshop. It taught him to twiddle the knobs on the lathe, which all helped to get him to Moulton Developments before reading Engineering Science at Oxford University. During 18 months back at Moultons, he laid out Hydragas car suspension geometries. Leverages, spring rates, compliance and so on has never left him. From there followed a period with Glacier Metal. Both Moultons and Glacier were very patent aware. Sadly, there seemed little future for him as an engineer in the English car industry, but patents fascinated him, being half engineering and half law.

A position as a technical assistant to a firm of patent agents in Chancery Lane followed. On qualification, he found that the advent of the European Patent System was causing a contraction in the patent profession. So set up on his own. More than 40 years later, he is preparing for retirement but still acts as a consultant for his successor firm Schlich.

People have asked what Nigel’s specialism is. His slightly flippant answer supported by so many years of experience is that he is a jack of all trades. Today’s job may be packaging medical samples, last week’s computer peripherals, a fortnight ago’s plasma lights, last month’s aircraft seats, last year’s inhalers. The common theme is only his skill in understanding what is new and then securing good patent rights on it by defining it with appropriate language.

Thus, notwithstanding "preparing for retirement" he is still happily drafting patents, fighting infringing competitors for his clients, dealing with competitor patents that ought not to be in the way of his clients and battling over ownership of inventions.

Meanwhile, the engineering genes have not gone away and are to be found in his small car business, Findhorn Cars.