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Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 27, 2012
First Published: 17:13 IST(27/11/2012)
Last Updated: 17:17 IST(27/11/2012)
Right to act: A patent attorney helps clients to obtain patents and file lawsuits in cases of infringements by competitors

The lowdown

The role of a patent attorney is twofold. They prosecute patent applications before the patent office and help their clients (inventors or proprietors of inventions) to protect their invention by obtaining patent. Once patent is granted, their advising on licensing of patents forms a crucial part of their portfolio. They also assist in suing for patent infringements at the courts of law and advise clients regarding feasibility of their invention. A patent attorney must have a science background because if it is a pharmaceutical or biotech invention, then they have to understand what it is about. Ideally, a patent attorney is a legal professional who has to have expertise in at least one scientific field, be it biotechnology, pharmaceuticals or electronics, among others

9am: Meeting with the team of patent attorneys and patent agents regarding the matters listed before the courts or at the patent office
10.30am: Hearings before the court or the patent office
1pm: Lunch
2pm: Hearings before the court
5pm: Drafting/research regarding the contentious and non contentious issues concerning patents
7pm: Meetings with clients
8pm: Leave for home

The payoff
Sky is the limit for this profession. The salary of a patent attorney depends on one’s technical and legal skills

* Good communication skills
* Given the complexity of cases, a technical specialisation is beneficial in understanding the patented invention

Getting there
As per the Indian Patent Law, there is no designation of ‘patent attorney’. One needs to register at Indian Patent Office (IPO) first, then he is called a patent agent. IPO conducts a qualifying exam for patent agent registration yearly. A degree in science is mandatory to appear for this exam. To be a patent litigator, a science degree is not compulsory but to be able to practice, one needs to have an LLB degree and be registered at the Bar Council of India

Institutes and URLs
* Academy of Intellectual Property Studies, Mumbai
* Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, IIT Kharagpur
* Indira Gandhi National Open University
* National Institute of Intellectual Property Management, Nagpur   

Pros and cons
* High job satisfaction if your interest lies in both law and science
* The job is quite demanding, and may eat into your ‘me’ time

In intellectual property, the area that requires the maximum development is patents. Hence, the patent attorney will have a lot to contribute -- Pravin Anand, managing partner at Anand & Anand law firm, Delhi

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