There are a lot of rumors and misconceptions regarding patents as a career option in India and we at LexCampus are writing to you to try and put to rest some of these rumors and misconceptions. We have been flooded with emails regarding Patents as a career choice. The question that pops up very often is “Is this a career for the science and technology guys or is this a career for the lawyers or can anyone get into this field?”
Let us let you into on a little secret, in the world of today, Patent related jobs require all kinds of qualifications, such as science and technology, Engineering, Law, Ph.D, Sales & Marketing, MBAs, Economics and a host of other specializations. Patent related strategies are no longer a core of any one particular subject, and we have come to look at it as a field that involves a multi-disciplinary approach. That being said, you could stick to your core specialization and still have a very satisfying career in Patents. That is how wide the scope of this field is when you want to look at it as a career option.
Let’s discuss in length, breath, and depth the scope of a career in Patents and let us tell you that both the science and technology guys as well as the lawyers and people from other fields can also make a career in Patents and a very rewarding career at that too.
Before we talk about the various career options in the field of patent law, let’s try to understand a few things that are very true to India. In India over 80% of students who take up a course or study something right after high school usually do it without having a career path in mind or without any idea of what they are good at. Most of the youngsters took a course because their parents or teachers told them that was the thing to do, or because their friends were getting into that course. Then there is our professional entrance exam system where 90% of the students end up taking a course that was either their third or fourth or nth choice. So there is usually a conflict between what you are good/passionate about and the core subject that you studied 90% of the time. That is the reason why 90% of people who are employed are unhappy or unsatisfied with their jobs. Finding a career that you are passionate about won’t happen overnight, and it may take time to really find the right path for you.
Here are a few typical Patent related career options that are available to you in India (this is not a complete list, but you will get the idea once you see the list below):
Patent Drafting Specialist
These people draft patent specifications and claims in a patent application. You are needed to understand the invention, strategize protection, articulate the inventions and understand nuances of the language – Patent Drafting Specialist.
There are people in the patent industry who manage and run huge docketing requirements to take care of local and international filings and maintaining strict timelines – Patent Paralegals.
Prior Art, Landscape and Freedom to Operate Studies experts
There are experts who are required in organizations to advice on whether to file a patent, or to start research and development on a new product, or to launch a product in a new territory/market. These are the guys who with their studies and reports and expertise help save a lot of time and money for organizations – Prior Art, Landscape and Freedom to Operate Studies experts.
There are people in the patent industry who provide us with deep information about infringement and competitive landscape analysis of Inventions and Patents – Patent Analyst.
There are people who are experts in assessing the market value of a Patent based on several financial valuation models. These people come in handy during mergers, acquisitions, bank loans and preparing balance sheets – Patent Valuers.
Due Diligence Professionals
Then there are a set of people who are mostly outside consultants who assist in due diligence of assets during mergers, acquisitions and takeovers – Due Diligence Professionals.
These individuals are the ones who liaise with local Patent Offices and are instrumental in filing and registration of Patent Applications – Filing & Prosecution professionals or Patent Agents.
Patent Litigation Experts
Then there are the lawyers who argue Patent Cases in a Court of Law and seek injunctions or defend their clients – Patent Litigation.
Patent Portfolio Managers
Then there are the great managers those are responsible for managing huge patent portfolio for organizations. They have to strategically manage patent assets that are spread across several jurisdiction, and are at different stages of prosecution or enforcement – Patent Portfolio Managers.
In-house Patent Counsel
These are individuals who are an integral part of any organization and are responsible for growth of innovation, filtering patentable ideas, managing law firms for prosecution and also for ultimate enforcement of IPR rights – In-house patent counsel.
Patent Licensing Specialist
These specialists are responsible for licensing. Like sales team, they have to meet revenue targets for organization and are responsible for P&L – Patent licensing specialist.
Costs of preparing, filing, prosecuting and maintaining patents as they started hitting the roof in the developed countries, it eventually led to the blooming of several Patent LPOs in India. These LPOs have created a huge global market for us to work with very high salaries and also opportunities to work for the best companies in the world – Patent Legal Process Outsourcing (LPOs).
Finally, here are a few good reasons to choose Patents as a career option:
- Exponential growth – The patent industry in India has grown tremendously in last few years. The number of patents registered have grown dramatically. Many local companies are getting their patents registered in India. Also, the increase in the global markets has given many outsourced jobs to India. Patent docketing, patent searching, paralegal etc., are jobs which are outsourced to India. India has an enormous talent of engineering graduates, so many of the best companies in the world are outsourcing work of patent related jobs to India. Pharma graduates are budding and blossoming and so the pharma majors have started to outsource their work of prior art searching to India. Legal services in the developed world have become very expensive and so processes of patent docketing and communication with patent office is now being done in India.
- Very good salary – A patent engineer can easily start with a salary of 3 lac per annum as compare to IT industry where engineers are starting at 12,000 per month for night shift job. Postgraduates in engineering can begin with a 5 lac per annum as starting salary in some of the companies in India.
- Growth opportunities are better – If you compare your prospects of growth to the IT industry (which is sluggish) the growth in the patent industry is easy and more upbeat. As this is an industry that is still growing, students or professionals who want to begin their career now have plenty of room to grow and make a mark for themselves. Professionals with 2-3 years of experience in industry are earning around 10 lac per annum.
- You can work for the top companies in the world – As patents are the in thing we should understand that companies spend a major chunk of their research budget on patents. Many of the major players have their own IPR unit or are openings their own.
- International exposure – Most of the IT and pharma majors create and market their product at a global level. Products are launched in multiple continents at the same time. So working in the patents department of such companies will give you the extra edge in handling international projects and clients and you may finally end up working in the international offices of these companies.
- Work in your core area – You get to work in the area of your specialization and also are abreast of the new technological inventions that are being made in your field.
- Investment to begin career in patents is low – Whatever be the degree that you hold you can enter the field of patents by just gaining the extra education needed in a few months and jump start your career. As compared to other fields investment in terms of money and time is less.
- Freedom to switch fields within patents – If you think that the field that you have chosen in patents is not the right fit for you after some time the patent industry gives you the leverage to switch to another career that is related to patents itself. Very few careers provide you with this freedom.
- Patents are here to stay for a long time – Unlike many other industries that have a life span of say 10 to 20 years, patents is an industry that is here for the long run so one need not worry of having to switch career to an entirely new field.
With India being a hub of startups and R&D centers as well as being a huge potential market for MNC products, a career option in Patents cannot (and should not) be ignored by anyone who wants to get into this field.