Investors would be paupers it weren’t for lawyers. In other words, if it weren’t for lawyers, inventors would not be able to gain anything more than fame for their efforts. Lawyers who understand technology, or technologists that under stand law are essential for innovation.
There is no other way to file a patent. 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.
Q. How do I progress faster in this profession?
A. Engineering and diploma in IPR Law.
Q. Where am I ten years from now?
A. Possibility of being a consultant
Q. What’s in it for me?
A. This is an extremely interesting job profile as the IPR Specialist will always have a peek at technology that may be released even five years ahead of public launch.
- 50,000 patents filed in India last year as compared to 5,000 about five years ago.
- 450,000 patents filed in China last year.
- 400,000 patents field in US.
- Roughly about a million patents are filed every year around the world.
- India’s first IPR case verdict expected in next 3 years increased demand for IPR Specialists expected after that .
What is Intellectual Property Right Management?
IPR is a term that 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, 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 basically 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 100 years ago. On march 2, 1909, the first US hybrid patent was granted to German-born inventor Henri Pieper. It was awarded for something called the “Mixed Driver for Auto vehicles.” In his application, submitted in 1905, he wrote that:
“The invention…comprises an internal combustion or similar engine, a dynamo motor direct connected there with therewith, and a storage battery or accumulator in circuit with the dynamo motor, these elements being cooperatively related so that the dynamo motor may be run as a motor by the electrical energy stored in the accumulator to start the engine or to furnish a portion of the power delivered by the set, or may be run as a generator by the engine, when the power of the latter is in excess of that demanded of the set, and caused to store energy in the accumulator.”
Back then, Piper covered the entire concept of a Hybrid car under the banner of “Mixed Drive for Autovehicles”. The idea was revolutionary. Today, the Toyota Prius is the world’s best-selling hybrid car and comprises of nearly 50 percent of all sales in the hybrid segment. The car has over 2,000 patents that cover the minutest of incremental innovations. Most of these 2,000 patents are tiny evolution over existing technologies.
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 essentially the job of the IPR Specialist.
The Tata’s Nano is great example of how innovation originating from an Indian company requires patent protection. An example of the ingenuity of the car is that the car has a two-cylinder rear-mounted petrol engine connected to a single balancer shaft. Also, even though the Nano’s shell is smaller than the Maruti 800’s, it actually has 20% more seating space. The modular design of the car also allows it to be transported as components, thereby significantly then all these will collectively give Tata a head start in the small car segment, that nay aspiring competitor would have to struggle with.
The Growth Story
According to the 2009 projection, NASSCOM believes that the software industry will grow by 15 percent over the next financial year. It projects a 14.4 percent growth of software product and engineering services and expects a revenue of $7.3 billion. The software company is only growing, and with it patent and IPR management jobs will grow as well. The head of leading IPR management firm told Digit that the number of patents filed at the Indian Patent Office last year was around 50,000 as compared to 5,000 about five years ago. The Chinese on the other hand filed a gargantuan 450m000 patents last year, beating the US Patent Office at 400,000 patents in the same time period. Roughly about a million patents are field every year around the world.
As technology progresses worldwide, there is a 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 monetisable 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. One of the first few IPR violations comes in the form of the Novartis-Ranbaxy case, which was reported last year. Ashish Gupta, the COO of Evaluserve believes that once the verdict is passed on that, we will see the tipping point for IPR law as a career path. Once that happens and the value of the IPR Specialist is realized, more Indians will want to get into this field
Nikhil Sharma has been in this industry for nearly four years. He recalls how back in 2005 there was a reform in the Indian Patent Act which allowed the Indian Patent Office to grant process patents as well. Till then it was limited to product patents. Then in 2006 a couple of IP cases were registrated in Indian courts. These were indicators that there was an increase in consciousness about the important of IPR. This helped him decide that this was a promising career to look at.
Possible Career Paths
Dividing IPR Management across industries would be as follows:
- IT and Telecom Technology.
- Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology
- Energy, Oil and Gas Technology
Of these three options, currently the most business is focused on IT, Telecom, Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology. However industry players believe that the next 20 years will belong to IPR Management to the Energy field. There are many other forms of patents based on industry.
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 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 researcher 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. “We can support the litigation with our research, but we cannot sit with you on the negotiation table,” says Nikhil Sharam, Once Indian courts see more action in the IPR space, we can expert 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 they energy is enormous. Two hours of brainstorming in a room with these guys is quite a high. Other than that we interact with people dealing in R&D for over 20 years, CFOs and CTOs, and so the level of interaction is at another level all together,” he says. illustrating the high points of job.
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, specialists fro/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.
An Employer’s Perspective
Evaluserve, among other things, works in IPR. They have a team of 250 people that work in this division. Ashish Gupta, the COO draws on the analogy of real-estate to describe the value of IPR. He points out how the number of patents filed in India nearly ten-fold as compared to four years ago. He looks over the Chinese and looks at how they filed away 450,000 patents last year, while the US filed away 400,000. The number of patents being filed in the US is growing at a rate of 6-7 patents, while in India is projected to grow 15 percent this year. He also points out the shortage of patents lawyers in Europe. Now, he believes India is heading for a tipping point in the next three years, when the value of an IPR attorney will truly be discovered. This event, he believes will be marked by the verdict on the Novartis-Ranbaxy case. ” This judicial system in India is yet to learn how to pass judgment on an IPR case,” he says.
His team of 250 people are divided among 1. IT & Telecom, 2. Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology and 3. Energy, Oil & Gas in the ratio of approximately 10:10:5 respectively. He believes the most promise lies in Energy, Oil & Gas.
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.
A large number of organizations outsource their legal service requirements to centers in India. Technology Professionals can seek employment in either captive centers or third party units.
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.
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 will as greater expertise in the field. Third-party units include pure-play offshore legal service providers. There are also law firms such as Anand & Anand that hire engineers for IPR-related work.
Roles in the Company
Managerial : The growth along the managerial path demands team interaction. That path is typically.
- Senior Analyst
- Manager, with a team size of 60-70 people.
Knowledge Specialists : In this role an individual dedicates his time to specializing to a specific technology. Deep domain knowledge is the priority.
School And Certifications To Consider
- Post Graduate Diploma in Patent management IPR Academy of Intellectual Property Studies.
- Post Graduate Diploma in Patents Law NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.
- Post Graduate Diploma in Patent Law and Practice AJ College of Commerce, Mumbai.
- Postgraduate Diploma in Patent Management The Academy of Intellectual Property Studies, Mumbai.
- Postgraduate Diploma in IPR Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) New Delhi.
- National Institute of Intellectual Property Management, Nagpur
- Patent Information System, Nagpur.
Sample Job Description
- Responsible for evaluating compounds in vitro and cellular models.
- Development of newer and innovative methods of testing compounds using the methods of molecular biology, gene expression, cell biology and enzymology.
- Experimentation using the methods of biochemistry and cell culture facility.
- Management and maintenance of the radioactivity facility and the radiation safety program.
- Supervision and training of scientists Participates in cross-functional compound development efforts as applicable.
- Participates in the selection, contracting, and day-to-day management of external suppliers involved in the analysis of compounds.
- High quality scientific reading/writing.
- Maintenance and protection of intellectual property (Research schemes, journals, analytical data, material/ product safety data sheets etc.)
- Participates as appropriate in the human resources activities of the department (staffing, training, performance management, and employee development).
Qualification / Requirements / Skill
- Ph.D., in Biological Science in the broad areas of molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry or immunology with 8+ years of relvevant, hands-on experience.
- Experience in management of personnel.
- Ability to work independently and flexibly and to adapt to changing priorities.
- Excellent interpersonal skills.
Career Growth In This Industry
Salary (in lakhs)
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Source : Digit Fast Track to Tech Careers: Your Handy Guide to Everyday Technology