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This article has been written by Oishika Banerji of Amity Law School, Kolkata. This article provides an overview as to how one can build a practice in trademark law, copyright law, or patent disputes. 

Introduction 

Some of the basic steps that are to be adopted in order to build a practice in intellectual property as a whole have been provided hereunder;

  1. Identify your niche: To begin, decide whatever subject of intellectual property law appeals to you. Patent prosecution requires admission to the patent bar. Copyright and trademark prosecution do not require extra certification beyond the entrance to any state bar. Because trademarks are ubiquitous and accessible to all practicing attorneys, many IP lawyers start with them. Whatever path you select, make sure to think about carving out a niche in copyrights, trademarks, or patents. This will enable you to narrow down your market and establish yourself as an authority on certain topics.
  2. Learn the basics: It’s important to educate yourself on the essential concepts of IP practice after you’ve determined your specialization. Fortunately, there is a wealth of free information about trademarks, patents, and copyrights available on the internet as well as by different websites specifically offering courses in intellectual property rights.

Refer: 

https://lawsikho.com/course/diploma-intellectual-property-media-entertainment-laws

https://lawsikho.com/course/certificate-intellectual-property-rights-ipr

https://blog.ipleaders.in/why-is-intellectual-property-law-so-popular-as-a-career/

Use the right tools:

  1. For IP lawyers, malpractice insurance is a must. A missing trademark or patent deadline might result in your clients’ rights being revoked and you being held liable for millions of dollars.
  2. As previously stated, failing to meet deadlines can be terrible for an IP practice. When you first start out, it’s simple to manage a few filings for a few clients. Imagine having to track hundreds of filings, receiving updates from IP offices for each of them at different times and with different deadlines as your firm grows. Even for the most organized attorneys, this can become increasingly laborious and prone to errors. Fortunately, contemporary docketing software can update the status of each IP filing automatically.
  3. To handle your back-office tasks, such as creating new issues, managing time, generating invoices, and more, you’ll want to invest in a comprehensive practice management package. Not only will ideal solutions provide enterprise-level protection, but they will also be cloud-based, allowing you to access your company from anywhere.
  4. Find clients: The tried-and-true methods of networking and recommendations are still effective, but social media should be used as well. Using Twitter to interact with your followers might help you spread the word about your practice quickly. Also, by writing insightful blog entries and speaking at events, you can brand yourself as an IP expert.

Building a practice in Trademark Law 

Tips and advice for those embarking on or in the early stages of a career in trademark law:

Understand your path

When starting a new job, it’s crucial to have a clear idea of where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. This is especially true in IP law, where practitioners have access to a variety of environments and can take a variety of paths. Is a career as an in-house, in a legal firm, or a combination of the two, for example, the most desirable outcome? Do you wish to focus on management? Is it better to be a specialist or a generalist? Do you work with specific categories of clients? While you may stray from the path over time, it is beneficial to start with a strategy. You must trust in yourself and have the guts to ask for a seat at the table, and if necessary, demand it. It will not happen unless you ask. You must also be willing to make a financial investment in yourself. If your employer refuses to pay for education, you will have to pay for it yourself.

Go beyond the law

The importance of developing a thorough understanding of the law whether by reading, researching, or attending industry events should not be overstated, especially for those just beginning out in trademark law. However, knowing the law isn’t enough for trademark professionals; they also need to understand business and marketing concepts and be able to apply the law to specific situations.

Locating a mentor 

Finding a mentor is one way to gain support in creating career goals, obtaining professional support, and measuring success. Formal programs are available in many forward-thinking organizations, but even in the absence of these, an informal mentor-mentee relationship can be sought out. Importantly, these can be time-limited if you have specific goals in mind, or longer-term if the goal is to assist you in navigating a professional path. “I propose getting a position as a paralegal, bonding with a trademark lawyer, and identifying your qualities that you can bring to the profession to people interested in pursuing a career in trademarks” stated Venable’s Andrew Price

Engage with associations

It’s easy to fall into the habit of ‘desk life’, spending all of your time at the office, in the high-pressure world of trademark law, especially at the start of a career. That’s fine, after all, that work isn’t going to take care of itself. However, you risk missing out on opportunities to advance both your personal and professional development. In short, participation with associations is something to aim for, by all means necessary. “Learning and sharing legal knowledge and experience are the most obvious gains of industry groups,” says Ashwin Julka of Remfry & Sagar. He further adds that “knowledge obtained from such gatherings can often assist you in predicting what the future may bring.”

Adopting a collegial approach

More casual forums can be sought out in the same way association involvement can provide an opportunity to network with and learn from colleagues. Shanghai, for example, has a group of corporate brand protection experts that collaborate and exchange best practices. Professional development is aided by knowledge sharing, which allows you to reflect on your IP enforcement program and technique while motivating you to do better.

Building a practice in Copyright Law 

The advice listed hereunder will provide a deep understanding as to how a successful practice can be built-in copyright law. 

Know the law and understand its implication 

Every law is not the same or similar, so research the demand for the law and the legal stance on copyright in other countries before deciding on a field. It’s possible that you’ll have to deal with a variety of legal issues, not just copyright law, so be prepared. Make sure you have a diverse set of skills so you don’t fall behind.

Need for relevant qualifications

Once you’ve decided to become an expert in copyright, look for the credentials that will offer you an advantage over the competition. Because it is a general LL.B, having a law degree is a prima facie need, although it is not necessarily sufficient. So, someone interested in the copyright field can pursue specialization such as a diploma or certificate degree in the field, or pursue an LL.M in the topic. Though an LL. B degree is the sole qualification, a course, whether online or offline, should be preferable to gain a thorough understanding of the subject.

Market yourself 

When it comes to human resource management, the law is no different than any other profession. As a result, a lawyer who is interested in copyright should advertise himself/herself as such, just like other professionals. Attending conferences, obtaining customers through referrals at the outset, establishing a major presence on online social media platforms, and becoming affiliated with a top-tier law firm are all examples of strategies to market oneself.

Skills and aptitude 

Skills and aptitude are essential for making a lasting impression on consumers and competition. Drafting, research, and good orator abilities are only a few of the basic criteria when it comes to choosing the greatest skills for oneself. When copyright is submitted, for example, it could be in a variety of sectors such as fashion, music, art, and so on. As a result, having a broad understanding of all fields will help you better grasp the idea, which will help you obtain a copyright for the creation. Negotiation and management skills are essential because they are also involved in safeguarding and advising on the commercial use of copyright. While fighting a case as a copyright infringement litigator, an individual has to be well versed with the possible defences that must be resorted while defending an infringer so as to possibly win the case. 

Litigation skills

Lawyers who specialize in copyright are also known as litigators. They devote a significant amount of their time to preparing cases and pursuing them in court. Copyright lawyers must be knowledgeable in all aspects of litigation, from drafting legal documents to preparing discovery. They should feel at ease in court and be prepared to try cases if required. Copyright lawyers might defend clients who are facing allegations of both criminal and civil violations.

Well versed with emerging technologies

Lawyers who practice copyright law must consider how new technology interacts with the law. It is now easier to record a work-related copyright, thanks to modern technology. Copyright infringement is also easier than ever. Copyright lawyers now must devise new methods for detecting and enforcing copyright breaches. Some believe that making music more widely available will help musicians extend their brand and increase sales. Others argue that if copyright violations are not pursued, they set a dangerous precedent. Copyright attorneys may also be called upon to assist clients in defending against copyright infringement. 

Building a practice in patent disputes 

Tips and advice for building a practice in patent disputes have been provided hereunder. For more information refer to https://blog.ipleaders.in/can-develop-career-patent-law/.

Knowing the law and the latest amendments 

The recognition and enforcement of patent rights in India are principally governed by the Patents Act 1970 and the rules issued under the Act. The latest amendment to the Patents (Amendment) Rules 2019 came into effect on September 17, 2019, to simplify the procedural rules for e-filing of papers, requiring original documents only when the Patent Office requests them. The modification also broadened the eligibility conditions for accelerated assessment of patent applications under the Patents Act of 1970 to cover small firms, government agencies, government-funded groups, and other applicants. Before practicing a career in patent disputes, the law in hand needs to be understood very well. This will not only help the litigator to argue well before the court of law but also convince the judge with the prayer of his or her client. In India, court decisions are an important source of patent law. As far as patent law is concerned, Indian courts depend on both European and US court decisions. Familiarity with such judgment and citing the same while arguing before the court can help a patent litigator have a smooth win. 

Technological knowledge 

Technology businesses must have strategic plans in place to vigorously preserve and enforce their intellectual rights in today’s competitive economic environment. Companies that are proactive should also try to prevent being held liable for infringing on the patent rights of others. The patent litigation team assists clients in protecting and leveraging their intellectual rights, defending against third-party infringement claims, establishing a competitive market position, and providing value to owners/investors. Patent attorneys should be experienced at conveying and demonstrating complex technical issues to judges and before juries. Patent attorneys, who represent huge corporations, small enterprises, and individuals, should have in-depth knowledge of their client’s businesses, concerns, and goals, as well as substantial expertise litigating a wide range of patent-related cases.

Understanding client’s needs 

While each client’s decision to proceed to trial is based on client- and matter-specific factors, patent attorneys who are ready, willing, and able to take a case to trial if required, serve their clients best. Clients often range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies across a wide variety of industries, with each having their particular needs. Patent attorney’s representation should be such that a particular client’s needs are addressed which will satisfy them as well. 

Ability to explain complex information clearly and concisely

Patents are legal rights granted to inventors of new technical processes and products, granting them exclusive rights to their creations for up to 20 years.  This might sound very simple but the process of patent registration followed by the patent infringement (if it takes place) is a complex process altogether. It is extremely necessary for a patent attorney to make their client understand this complex process with simplicity and ease. Only then can the client gain confidence in the patent attorney. Therefore, to build a successful practice in patent disputes, the ability to explain complex information clearly and concisely stands must. 

Conclusion 

It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, as well as financial resources, to become an IP lawyer. However, the end result being a meaningful profession in a highly sought-after legal speciality could make it all worthwhile. The potential for lucrative compensation is one of the most tangible advantages of a profession in intellectual property law. The different ways in which you can build a practice in trademark law, copyright law or patent disputes holds importance and should be adopted. 

References 

  1. https://www.nesl.edu/blog/detail/everything-you-need-to-know-about-becoming-an-intellectual-property-(ip)-lawyer
  2. https://legalcareerpath.com/what-is-copyright-law/
  3. https://legodesk.com/blog/legal-practice/9-tips-to-build-a-career-as-an-intellectual-property-lawyer/

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