Patent attorney: A techno-legal profession
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Patent attorney: A techno-legal profession

A patent attorney is a techno-legal professional who represents clients in obtaining patents and in filing a lawsuit in case of an infringement by some competitor.

education Updated: Nov 09, 2011 10:36 IST
Hindustan Times

The lowdown
A patent attorney is a techno-legal professional who represents clients in obtaining patents and in filing a lawsuit in case of an infringement by some competitor.

The term is used differently in different countries. A background of science and technology, with an additional qualification in law are the basics to become a patent attorney. He or she has to understand and assimilate the technology being patented. Since patent attorneys have a degree in law, they can practice in the courts as well. On the other hand, someone with a background in science and technology, can also register and practice as a patent agent for the patent office. With more and more Indian companies investing in R&D, patent attorneys have a very bright future.

9am: Meeting with client to discuss the novelty, features or design of an invention
11am: Do patent searches to find out details of related inventions on websites like Delphion, Micropat, and STL etc
1.30pm: Quick lunch
2pm: Draft the patent proposal 3pm: Meet patent officials
6pm: Leave for home
7pm onwards: Read books, journals and newsletters on Indian and international patent laws and rules

The payoff
The starting salary as a trainee is somewhere between Rs10,000 to Rs15,000 per month, which increases to Rs20,000 to Rs25,000 per month when you become a regular employee. After you gain experience of three/four years, you can earn as much as Rs40,000 to Rs50,000 per month. Later in your career, you can make progress on the basis of your learning potential and performance

* Ability to absorb all kinds of information
* Good oratory skills, which come handy during litigation
* Analytical skills to make inferences and conclusions after studying the invention
* Creative abilities to make valuable contributions to the invention, design or software because some lawyers often end up as co-inventors – something that has happened in the West

Getting there
Gain expertise in one area – mechanics or pharmaceutical, chemistry or software or even mathematical sciences. You can pursue a bachelor’s or preferably a master’s in engineering or science. After this, go for a diploma in intellectual patent rights from a known institute or do LLB from IIT-Kharagpur where intellectual property rights is the prime focus.

Join some law firm or company as a trainee in the patent department and after gaining a year’s experience appear for the patent agent’s exam. Once you qualify that, you can join a law firm, a corporate or an outsourcing firm with a job profile, which you find the best - drafting, prosecution or litigation

Institutes and URLs
* Academy of Intellectual Property Studies, Mumbai for a PG diploma programme in patent management
* NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad for a PG diploma programme in patent law
* Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for a PG diploma in IPR
* National Institute of Intellectual Property Management, Nagpur

Pros and cons
* The money is good and you can expect a good salary right at the beginning of your career
* It’s a new and emerging career, so there’s immense scope in this field
* The job is quite demanding, and may take up a lot of your personla time
* A very well-paying profession

First Published: Nov 01, 2011 12:33 IST