This article has been written by Oishika Banerji, an undergraduate student of Amity Law School, Kolkata. This article deals with the kind of work one can get as an Intellectual Property lawyer.
A branch of law that promotes and safeguards creativity and innovation is Intellectual Property. The controlling of physical manifestations is handled by Intellectual Property Rights. The intellectual property rights, therefore, aims to provide the producer of any product, idea or work with legal rights that are enforceable in order to protect themselves from any kind of infringement or detrimental effects. The execution and implementation of such legal right manifested upon the producer is looked after by an Intellectual Property lawyer. The object behind the formation of intellectual property rights is to avoid fraudulent and misrepresentative activities of the ideologies that promote a new world altogether.
There are several domains in the ambit of intellectual property rights like patents, trademarks, copyright, geographical indication and many more. In present days, intellectual property is a basic requirement in several aspects in the world like innovation, biodiversity, food products, company names etc. Each domain requires a specialised hand to find a solution to a problem related to the particular domain. The call for Intellectual Property lawyers extends across the globe due to the growing cases of infringement of intellectual property rights. It often becomes difficult to distinguish between the original work with that of the copied one. Providing proper support to overcome such exploitation and thereby keeping the integrity of the Intellectual Property laws intact is the burden that rests on the shoulders of the Intellectual Property lawyers.
Intellectual Property Lawyer
Intellectual Property lawyers are those specialised groups of legal practitioners who help in carrying out litigation only related to intellectual property cases which may include trademark, copyright, trade secrets to that of patents and geographical indication. The main work of any intellectual property lawyer will be to decide the ownership of the infringed product or idea. There are various activities that an intellectual property attorney is supposed to perform be it just providing legal advice to his or her client or searching for registries of patents for any new invention. All such work is simple to hear or just talk about, but in practical implications, such activities involve an excessive amount of knowledge and hard work. When disputes arise, IP lawyers are involved in the initiation of discussions between the parties who are involved in the dispute and challenge any arguments that are against the interests of his or her client. In order to be aware of the specialisation that any IP lawyer can have, there are certain intellectual property terms that need to be taken into concern. Some of them are provided below :
1) Patent-The subject-matter on which the patent law is based is innovation, inventions, ideas, creativity. The three types of a patent that any patent law recognises are utility patent, design and plant patent. While the first one protects manufacturing procedure, useful methods, matter composition, design patents include the design of ornamental ideas for any article that is in the process of getting manufactured, any new plant that has been produced through asexual reproductive methods comes in the ambit of plant patents.
2) Trademark– Whenever there is a matter that is associated with goodwill or the identification of any company, the trademark comes into play. The job of any IP lawyer who specialises in trademark laws is to ensure that the trademark that has been provided to a particular company or individual should not lapse. In doing so he or she should also take into concern whether the marks that are in an issue are deceptively similar or not.
3) Trade Secrets-Trade secrets protect the exclusivity of any object. The individuals or entities in possession of the respective trade secret possess the exclusive right to make proper usage of the same unless the same is not revealed.
4) Copyright- When the protection of artistic creation or creative ideologies come in concern of being infringed, copyright is a medium to protect the same.
These are some of the areas of specialisation that are mostly looked after by any intellectual property lawyer for they commonly come across.
Role of an IP lawyer
Any role associated with an IP lawyer starts from the very beginning of the formulation of the entity for intellectual property is used for building the entire setup and successfully carrying it out with worldly affairs. Intellectual property lawyers are involved in playing a large number of roles that turns out to be critical at times for it involves the safeguard of intellectual property. The work performed by an IP lawyer is out of reach of the general visualization that any layman has about a court proceeding or as the television and digital aged media perceive. Before even appearing in front of the court, hours of brains wracking in offices, visiting of different locations to be aware of the goods, products or ideas that have been in a confrontation, searching of the required information, conducting of interviews, carrying out analysis of technical material that often come into interrogation are the list of activities that need to be carried out by any IP lawyer. Therefore it would not be wrong to say that the role of any intellectual property lawyer is way more than the lawyer of any other field. Some tasks that are common for all intellectual property lawyers are:
1) Preparation of documents that are required for filing of any patent or trademark.
2) Representation of any individual or organization to deal with those who are liable for the unfair usage of the concerned intellectual property.
Some other roles for the IP lawyers are provided below:
- Role in this field involves specialization in technicalities for this is the branch of law that does not limit itself to books but is actually reflected when it comes to application in the real world. When intellectual property is the framework in which the company or an individual stands, a legal attorney is constantly in need in such a field to combat with the misuse and detrimental impact on his or her field of specialisation.
- The role of educating the officials or the individual who carries along intellectual property rights is also one of the most important roles of any legal practitioner specialising in the field of intellectual property rights. Education is a key element to gain awareness about the rights that are available to an individual or an entity possessing his or her own products. The illegal use of intellectual property has been a common concern nowadays. If any individual or entity fails to recognise the kind of loss he or she has been made to suffer, it will not be possible for him or her to idealise the same and seek compensation. Approaching an intellectual property lawyer will not help in the same because for any successful lawyer a case can be fully overcome when the client is a part of his or her own case and is aware as to what he or she desires from the concerned lawyer. As education is necessary for the client, it is equally important for the lawyer as well to be well-versed with his or her case and the situation surrounding the same. The education for legal expertise is required in the field of contract drafting along with other legal knowledge necessary for that field.
- The role of an intellectual property lawyer as a whole may be different in different circumstances he or she is in. Due to the developing technologies, the interests of IP lawyers are shifting from one aspect to the other. This demands more awareness among the lawyers for the revolutionary changes in business sectors as well.
- IP lawyers may infer laws and rules for their client which can be followed by conducting research which is used in the preparation of a variety of documents related to the case and carry out communication procedures both verbally and non-verbally with clients and concerned legal professionals as well who are associated with that field.
- Intellectual property lawyers provide service to knowledge or creators which broadly includes inventors of some ideas or products, writers of books or journals, musicians, directors of any film, content-creators.
- They also work towards the preservation of trade secrets for firms when it comes to the production of formulas, designs, and techniques of production.
- IP professionals provide advice about safeguarding trademarks and in executing the procedure they provide help to their clients to preserve their brand value and identities.
The field for IP professionals is divergent in nature, and therefore the role is also variable by nature. Thus what can be inferred from the roles of the intellectual property attorneys is that they deal with specification on certain fields that govern a business or an individual’s content on a large scale.
Scope of an IP lawyer
The world is fast adapting to the revolutionary change in the intellectual property law domain. This has widened the scope for the IP lawyers as well. Intellectual property has not only become a field to be adapted for professional purposes but also education-wise a lot of aspiring lawyers take in this field to specialise in it and profess the same in the near future. Industries are developing, globalisation is taking place, creative skills are increasing. All these hints on the aspect that an IP attorney has several grounds to look into. The rising demand for holding intellectual property rights is responsible for increasing the scope for intellectual property lawyers as well. A field which is evolving every other day is leading to the increase in the ambit of intellectual property including subjects beyond trademark, copyright, patents and trade secrets to that of artistic creation, typography, databases, semi-conductor products, etc.
If specifically databases are looked after, in this world of digitalisation, this has gained huge importance for privacy infringement and it is one of the luxurious problems that come hand in hand with digitalization. Thus, there is a development in the method of carrying out legal processes by the intellectual property lawyer each day. This is one branch of law that is not restricted to a particular country but can be applied globally. Some of the reasons for which the scope for intellectual property lawyers are widening every day are provided below:
1) Large amounts of natural resources and several ways of utilising the same involve a lot of creations owing to specific intellectual property rights. Due to a global rise in the same, confusions are also occurring related to these rights. Hence arises the requirement of an intellectual property attorney.
2) Machines are being introduced to carry out the regulation of innovations. Although there is a presence of law, the application is clearly not known hence come the requirement of IP lawyer.
3) With the awareness of intellectual property rising among the industrialists if any of them faces infringement, an immediate necessity of a lawyer arises so as to overcome loss suffered.
The fact that new fields within the field of intellectual property are arising, there are no regulations governing the same. If also there are statutory provisions that are outlining those, how to execute the same and ask for compensation for the loss suffered is not known. Therefore, comes the requirement for a legal advisor or an attorney specialised in the field to help out the sufferers of traps associated with this field of rights.
Intellectual Property lawyers have a huge demand for the kind of work they do. In the current world as well as in future there will be a huge demand surrounding the IP lawyers. It is only in the hands of the lawyers to carry out the legal procedure, to provide the privilege to the original owner or producer of the product or the inventor of an idea or any kind of creativity over those who have used unfair means to infringe the same.
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