IPR, an emerging career option in law domain
Apratim Chatterjee, 08 Nov 2014, #CLAT
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Experts define Intellectual Property as one’s creation of mind, including inventions, industrial designs for article, literary and artistic work which may be commercialized. “There has been a substantial splurge in opportunities in the Intellectual Property domain”, says Meenakshi Khurana, Partner & Patent Attorney of Khurana & Khurana Advocates. The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) professional explains that with the exponential rise in the number of patent filings a company’s valuation these days is largely based on the value of IPR possessed by the company.

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In this series of IPR Professionals’ Interview with Careers360, Meenakshi Khurana, Partner & Patent Attorney, Khurana & Khurana Advocates, shares her experience as an IPR Professional.

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The Patent attorbey talks about the current scenario of IPR as a career option, challenges of an IPR Professional and also shares some tips to become a successful IPR Professional. 

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Read below the edited excerpts of the interview with the IPR Professional.

Meenakshi-KhuranaExcerpts of Interview

Careers360: How IPR has emerged as a career option over a decade?
Meenakshi Khurana: In India with increasing awareness about Intellectual Property including SME, MSME segment, there has been a substantial splurge in opportunities in Intellectual Property domain.

In the current scenario, a company’s valuation is largely based on the value of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) possessed by the company. There has been an exponential rise in the number of patent filings in our country over a decade. In addition to that, research institutes in the nation including IISc, KIIT, JNCASR, etc, have become pro-active in filing patent applications. It may be worthy here to mention that the highest patent filer in India is CSIR.

Careers360: What specific areas can a candidate opt for, while choosing IPR as a career option?
Meenakshi Khurana: A candidate interested in IPR can select one or more domain areas based on the background education he/she has.
Candidates with non-technical background and possessing a degree in law can go for Trade Mark Litigation and/or Prosecution, whereas, candidates with technical backgrounds can opt in areas of Patent Prosecution, Licensing, and Litigation having designations such as Patent Analyst/Patent Agent/ Patent Engineer/Patent Specialist etc. 

IPR-2Careers360: What key qualities one should possess for becoming an IPR professional?
Meenakshi Khurana: Professionals having a technical background, for example, Bachelors or Masters in Sciences and Engineering degrees can be trained to work as Patent Analyst/ Patent Engineer, wherein they perform tasks such as conducting various types of patent searches and analytics.
If a professional, in addition to a technical degree, is a registered as a Patent Agent as well, he/she performs tasks such as patent drafting, filing, prosecution and opposition at the Indian Patent office in addition to conducting patent searches.

In addition, teh area of patents require a lot of reading and strong grasp of various technical fields and, therefore, adaptability to such new fields on a daily basis is a key to growth in the domain.

Professionals having only law degrees can be employed as trademark and copyright associates wherein they can take part in registration or litigation or both. Key qualities of course include strong communication and analytical skills, case law research and client counselling.

Professionals having degrees both in law and technical are authorized to litigate in both patents and trademarks/copyrights domains.

Careers360:  What challenges an IPR professional may encounter?
Meenakshi Khurana: Key challenges of an IPR professional include capability to go through a very fast learning curve, capability to read literature/laws/cases/precedents, among others.

CopyrightCareers360: What is the earning potential in this field?
Meenakshi Khurana: The starting salary of an IPR professional depends on various factors including schools from where the degrees are attained, prior knowledge of IPRs, prior industrial experience, IPR certificate courses pursued and recruiting company. A fresher can typically start from a package of around 3-4 lakhs and can reach 10-12 lakhs after having an experience of 4-6 years.

Careers360: What are the other related fields where an IPR practitioner can find himself apart from joining law firms and corporate houses?
Meenakshi Khurana: An IPR practitioner can join a senior advocate litigating in IPR apart from joining law firms and corporate houses. However earning potential may not be as high as compared to those working with law firms and corporate houses.

Careers360: What are your suggestions for aspirants who are seeking a break in this field?
Meenakshi Khurana:
Aspirants must develop a good command over written and spoken English as every patent specification and legal documents have to be written in perfect English.

In pleas and pleadings, expression of thoughts is more important than mere possession of thoughts.
Patent professional having a technical degree need to have a strong hold in field of science/engineering else they will not be able to understand, analyze and draft patent specifications which are complex techno-legal documents.

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