Patent Law is an evolving area of study which by its very nature is intersectional between law, life sciences, and technology. Lawyers often tend to not consider patent law as a career option as they are intimidated by the idea of dealing with complex scientific principles and concepts or in some cases averse to the idea of moving away from core legal matters. Similarly, many individuals with a science or technology related educational background are not familiar with the career prospects they can enjoy within this realm, as they treat it to be more in the domain of law than of science and technology. The good news is that this is not true. Lawyers, and science and technology graduates both stand to benefit from a thriving patent practice in the country.
Drafting a patent application, filing paperwork at the various statutory offices, representing the applicant during hearings, are all complex and arduous tasks requiring analytical and drafting skills, possessed in abundance by lawyers and specifically patent lawyers who possess in addition to the aforementioned, knowledge about the science involved in the patent subject matter. Patent prosecution also involves oral hearing before the Controller to prove validity of the patent if objections are raised by the Controller or by third party intervenors. This calls for the services of a Patent Agent.
Patent agents help inventors prepare, file, and see patent applications become registered patents. In order to practise as a patent agent, one needs to be registered with the Controller and their name has to be entered in the Register of patent agents. Sections 125-132 of the Patents Act, 1970 deal with patent agents, their qualification and functions. It is important to note that a patent agent must necessarily be a person with a degree in science, engineering or technology making it a comfortably niche area for persons of science to enter this profession. In addition, interested persons must also qualify the Patent Agent Examination conducted by the Office of The Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks under the Indian Patents Office, Government of India. Patent Agents can practice before the Controller of Patents and also prepare documents, transact business and discharge such other functions as prescribed in the Act, regarding proceedings before the Controller. Registered patent agents can practice independently like chartered accountants, or can choose to be employed in law firms and international companies specialising in patents. The Patent Agent Examination is a challenging test that assesses the candidates’ knowledge of the Patents Act, 1970 and the associated Patents Rules, 2003. A dedicated course that helps non-lawyers to learn the intricacies of the statute as well as tackle the examination could benefit the candidates in their endeavour.
Here’s our free course on Introduction to Patent Law.
While patent prosecution is the domain of patent agents this does not mean that regular lawyers are not relevant in patent law and patent administration. Once a patent is granted, the patent owner acquires monopoly rights which exclude other persons from using the patented process or product in any manner of commercial exploitation without the permission of the patentee themselves, acquired through licences. Litigation and disputes adjudications remains the domain of lawyers and this makes patent law a lucrative area of expertise for law graduates.
Patentees who are aggrieved by unauthorised use of their patented subject, or who fear such infringement, seek the Court’s intervention in the form of injunctions, and damages. Infringement suits, suits for injunctions and damages, are filed in the Court of law and only a qualified lawyer with a licence to practice can appear in these Courts to represent the parties to the patent dispute. Patent is an intellectual property and therefore, lawyers are equipped with the necessary skill to help their client secure their property rights. To this end, an understanding of patent law apart from sound legal knowledge would help lawyers establish themselves as patent lawyers in the profession.
We encourage those who are serious about a career in patents to learn patent law for just Rs.199 per month.
Thus we see that patents law is an important discipline with vast opportunities of employment and is also monetarily rewarding. With the right kind of training and guidance, lawyers as well as science and technology graduates can foray into this area and make a mark for themselves as illustrious professionals.