Industry overview – Patents

Human Intellect is the most important resource and intellectual property rights seek to protect innovation. The object of intellectual property law is to confer protection to the products of human creativity that meet the threefold test of innovation non-obviousness and usefulness. Hence, intellectual property rights (IPR) are rights that ensure that the inventor or author reserves the rights of the utility of his/her product. The term IPR broadly includes patents, which confer rights over an invention copyright that pertains to rights over an original literary work, and trademark that regulates the distinctive indicator unique to an organization or an individual in business. Industrial design that caters to protection of any innovative design semiconductor integrated circuits and layout design, protection of plant varieties and farmer’s rights and trade secrets which are protected by judicial decisions for the lack of a statutory provision too come under the purview of IPR

An assortment of alternatives

The field offers diverse career options to interested candidates Subsequent to the opening up of the IPR regime followed by the amendments to the legislation in 2000, litigation in the field has increased manifold.

Consequently a legal career in IPR is now a lucrative alternative. One can broadly choose from three options in the legal field concerning IPR, viz working in a law firm, a legal process outsourcing firm or a corporate house. Since the deliverable product is client specific, the work is specialized and the clientele is concentrated to a particular aspect of IPR, such as the pharmaceuticals software or entertainment industry. However the nature of work undertaken within specialized IP might vary. For instance in a law firm or a corporate house one could explore litigation pertaining to IPR with an LPO. The work is most often restricted to drafting prior art search document review or litigation review.

Another option available to graduates which is being increasingly explored is to start off with the government as a patent or trademark agent. Contrary to popular perception the pay packet of an agent is quite high. After gaining some experience as an agent one may shift to a corporate house. Consultancy in IPR can be pursued by professionals with a technological or scientific background so far as patents are concerned.

For non technical IPR such as copyright and trademark a graduate degree in any field with an understanding of the law is sufficient. The scope of the work of an IPR agent broadly covers drafting fitting of patent establishing novelty, countering oppositions on non obviousness and usefulness etc. One not only requires being adept at the scientific nuances of the invention, but also needs to be proficient at IPR management and career to the commercial requirements of his /her clientele. A firm dealing in IPR generally deals with a host of rights rather than specializing in a single one. By and large all of them handle registration of trademark copyrights, patents, designs geographical indications and amendments and renewals of the same and initiation of litigation in the event of an infringement. The protection of intellectual property law deals with innovation and a professional in this field gets the opportunity to interact with a wide range of clients! This vocation is best suited for those who can understand the nature of invention. The nuances of the rights pertaining to IP and its effects on the client’s business

The requisite qualifications for a trademark agent are prescribed in the Trademarks Act 1999 and the Trademark rules 2002. Advocates and company secretaries are entitled to represent their clients before Trademark registry without the need for appearing in the trademark agent examination. However, any graduate may qualify in the examination in trademark law conducted by the registry and be registered as a trademark agent.