Act as an IPR Attorney

Gauri Chhabra

Imagine how would you feel if you came up with an idea, developed it and just about you wanted to reap benefits out of it, you saw the same idea , just packaged in a new cosmetic style out for sale! Where would you go? Who would you approach? An IPR Attorney. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are essential to reward innovative thinking which it turn contributes to mankind tremendously. If an inventor couldn’t protect his idea from being ruthlessly ripped off, the he’s got little reason for creativity. The big-picture impact is that the human race suffers.

What is Intellectual Property Right Management?

IPR covers patents, trademarks and copyright. Of these, the most relevant to you as a technology enthusiast is the patent. To file a patent there are sub-processes such as prior art searches, patent drafting, and patent landscaping. At first glance it may seem like a lawyer’s job. On closer examination it becomes clearer that only a qualified technologist can excel in this field. This field ensures that the inventor of the technology gets what he deserves. This means that the invented product or process would have to unique. It was easy to recognize an innovation a century ago. Today, with a multitude of incremental innovations coming up, the need for patenting becomes imperative. In other words, leaps forward are constantly getting smaller. It is getting increasingly difficult to firstly, spot these evolutions, secondly check if anyone else has thought of the idea already, and thirdly articulate why your evolution is unique. This is where an IPR attorney comes in.

The Growth Trajectory:

Key Drivers

As technology progresses worldwide, there is an increasing need for patents to be field for new developments. The opportunities in India are increasing because of the amount of work being outsourced to India. The task of identifying magnetisable technologies, comparing it with existing technologies and then following it up with communications with the patent office is a huge and expensive task. It therefore makes sense to outsource such progresses to India where there is a large pool of engineering graduates that can consider this as a career option. In India, the career of being an IPR professional is very young.

Possible Career Paths

Dividing IPR Management across industries would be as follows:

* IT and Telecom Technology.

* Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology

* Energy, Oil and Gas Technology

The IP law course generally comprises of Biotechnology patent policy, Chemical and Biotech patent policy and practice, Comparative and International Intellectual Property seminar, Comparative patent law seminar, Computer law, Copyright Law, Electronics and Computers’ Policy and Practice, International and Comparative Patent Law, International and the Country’s regulation of foreign trade, Licensing of Intellectual Property Rights, Patent Enforcement, Patent law, Trademark law, Unfair Trade Practices.

Within each of these paths, it can further be divided into the following roles.

* Commercialization analysis

* Identifying useless IPR

* Determining the royalties

* Market dynamics of technology sub-segment

The Role

The role of an IPR specialist is to help the inventor gain patents on his invention. The inventor can be a large corporation, a small business a team of scientists and even a lone inventor that’s working out of his garage. The first step taken by the IPR specialist is to understand the invention itself. He then researches whether such a technology already exists in some form. After this he goes about understanding how best the invention can be patented so that maximum monetization is achieved. The final step is to file the patent with the Patent Office.

The IPR Specialist in India does about 80 percent of his peer in the US. This is because in India the specialist does not pursue litigation.Once Indian courts see more action in the IPR space, we can export more IPR specialists that can apply their skills in court.The thrill is picking up an unstructured problem and then fixing it. The work culture is extremely young and therefore the energy is enormous.

Skill Sets

An IPR specialist needs to degree in science or engineering and then supplement this with a degree in law. Considering that IPR Management covers a number of industries, specialist for each industry is required. If the professional is moving laterally from, let’s say, being a telecom engineer and into IPR Management of telecom technologies, then he comes with a certain amount of skill sets already. From here he would have to gain the legal acumen to understand how to apply his skills in IPR Management.

A fresher from an engineering college on the other hand can join a firm and gain the skills in house. Training of a fresher usually takes two to three years.

Impact of Background

The brand of your graduate or PG College helps only initially. After about two years this disparity disappears and growth is based purely on performance. A thorough knowledge of a technology field will always be preferred to high scores in tests. Experience gained on the first jobs in specific domain, like telecom or biotechnology, can be applied in the respective fields within IP management

A large number of organizations outsource their legal service requirements to centres in India. Technology Professionals can seek employment in either captive centres or third party units.

Captive Centres

An emerging trend in the industry has been the off-shoring of legal services by foreign law firms establishing units’ also known as captive units in India. Captive units are the preferred mode of outsourcing for organizations out sourcing high-end critical work. Most foreign law firms in India operate through this structure for want of greater control on areas related to their core competence and business. Issues relating to client confidentiality and risks of unauthorized practice of law are also some key reasons for operation through the Captive units.

Third-party units

These service-providers are law firms that either cater to domestic or foreign companies. The law firms themselves could be a foreign company with an arm in India. Many of them provide off-shore services to foreign companies. Third-party units have the advantage of greater flexibility as well as greater expertise in the field. Third-party units include pure-play offshore legal service providers.

The Road Ahead:

India is heading for a tipping point in the next three years, when the value of an IPR attorney will truly be discovered. Engineers, biotechnologists and scientists in this field are usually employed at companies or institutes where they are involved in research and development. The objective of these employers is to find a unique way to solve a problem, gain the intellectual property rights to that solution and then market it.

Therefore, if you are a person with an aptitude for law in combination with research, IPR is the domain for you. So, march ahead…