This article is authored by Anvita Bhardwaj, a student pursuing BA LLB from Symbiosis Law School, Noida. In this article, the author discusses the scope for a career in IP law outside India.
With the evolution in technology, the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) sector is on the rise. Not only the big corporates but also small businesses are familiarizing themselves with IPRs and are realising the plethora of untapped opportunities working in the IPR sector holds. Result? The need for IP law experts has skyrocketed, making it one of the most exciting and dynamic career options that one may choose. An IPR lawyer is required to handle issues on things ranging from copyrights, patents, trademarks, industrial design rights to duplication, infringement, trade secrets, and plant variety rights. A career in the IPR sector is a secure one. I will further elaborate on some of the prominent opportunities available for IP law abroad.
Advantages of choosing the IPR sector
The industry is recession-proof
Intellectual Property is not affected by the recession in the economy as it is dependent on the creativity of individuals. Ideas and inventions do not stop in the face of economic recession. This is why employment in this sector will not go down. In fact, the jobs in this industry are projected to grow in the coming decade.
It is an evergreen and exciting field of law
As Intellectual Property Rights have been developed recently in comparison to old statutes and laws, there is a large scope of opportunities available to lawyers to grow exponentially. Moreover, new challenges emerge all the time which require the lawyers to be proactive and analytical. Intellectual property drives economic growth and competitiveness.
Lucrative salaries and non-monetary perks
Financial stability is an important aspect of any job you pursue and this industry guarantees it. As per PayScale, a Patent Attorney, on average earns $138,054. The average salary of a Trademark Attorney is $106,386. (This is just an indicative average as per the salary trends in the United States). Other benefits include bonuses, conveyance fees, health insurance, etc. (These differ from place to place). Intellectual property creates and supports high-paying jobs.
Scope of IP law abroad
Working in an IP law firm
Patent and Trademark Attorney
The job of a patent and trademark attorney revolves around IP management and protection. They are required to draft and submit applications seeking patents and trademarks for their clients, and assist in matters related to IP disputes such as copyright infringement. They have an advisory or representative role towards their clients. Work such as evaluating requests, drafting, filing, handling applications and the registration process comes under their portfolio. They earn an average of $145,000 per year.
In a law firm, the team doesn’t consist of only attorneys but also entails numerous high-profile support roles. For example, ‘Patent Records Team Leader’, ‘Temporary Patent Secretary’, ‘Senior Trademark Administrator’, ‘Patent Examiner’ etc. You can check out the payscale for these roles here.
To become a Solicitor, you need a minimum of 3-5 years Post Qualification Experience (PQE). A solicitor’s job entails preparing legal documentation, representing and/or defending a client’s legal interests. In this case, the Solicitor needs to be a qualified legal practitioner whose expertise is in IP law. With a five years’ PQE a Trade Mark Solicitor can earn up to £85,000 in the UK.
Setting up your own law firm
Working in an IPR law firm is very different from owning one. Nothing beats being your own boss. You can generate good revenue from your own practice. You can expand your practice however you want. IP creates and supports high-paying jobs. If you open your own IPR firm, you will be helping people gain employment. It is important for you to identify your niche before you go about running your own law firm. Find out which is the most interesting and appealing area of interest for you within Intellectual Property Rights. Interest is not the only thing that you need to consider, introspect and acknowledge your professional strengths and weaknesses. Usually, up-and-coming law practices focus on copyright or trademark prosecution as they ascertain a set standard of filings. Moreover, unlike patent prosecution, these two do not require additional certification and qualifications. It is very important to identify your area of expertise as only then you will be able to focus your limited resources towards building a loyal client base. An average small law firm revenue potential is $210,000.
Litigation is an ever-green field of law. Common types of IP Litigation are:
- Patent Litigation;
- Copyright Litigation;
- Trademark Litigation;
- Trade Secret Litigation.
Paralegals assist attorneys with the legal representation of the firm’s clients. In a firm specializing in IP law, a paralegal who is an expert in the same field of law would be required. The work would entail (but not be limited to) conducting trademark & prior art searches, preparing applications, drafting appeals, listing important evidence, preparing first drafts of licensing agreements, production agreements, royalty-sharing agreements, IP agreements, drafting a patent landscape report, drafting and filing a pre-publication objection to a trademark registration application etc. You can earn a salary ranging from $13-$40 per day online on sites like Upwork and Fiverr depending on your skill and expertise. A paralegal in the USA earns $51,166 annually.
You can sit in the comfort of your home and earn money by making profiles on sites such as Upwork and Fiverr. Simply list your academic qualifications, certifications and experience here and you can opt for freelance work such as drafting an IP contract/agreement, proofreading, content writing, patent assistance etc., just click here to see the various freelancing opportunities. The pay will differ on the basis of work assigned and opted for.
An ideal candidate to be an IP professor needs to have expertise in Patent, Trademark or Copyright law, or have experience in all three fields. There are both lateral-level and entry-level jobs available. The former requires a superior publication record while the latter needs the candidate to showcase a commitment to scholarship. The candidate must have a Juris Doctorate (JD) to qualify for the position.
An example of the roles and responsibilities for the work profile of an Assistant Professor include “Teaching, scholarly research and writing, and related activities (such as presenting papers at conferences). As appropriate to the candidate’s interest and the school’s needs, duties may also include administrative roles in a research centre, as well as ordinary committee service.” The average pay scale in the USA for this job is $175,158 while the same in the UK is £75,000.
You can also apply to be a Technical Writer in any IP law firm/company. The work profile of a full-time Technical Writer differs from what is normal content writing. The roles and responsibilities (according to a job post in Harrisonburg) are as follows:
- “Work both independently and collaboratively with Trainers and other stakeholders to develop user documentation and training that ensures users understand changes to patent processing software they rely on for their daily work.
- Maintain manuals, policy documents, training materials and similar content so that it consistently reflects current features, policies, and best practices.
- Write standardized material for reports, manuals, briefs, proposals, instruction books, catalogues, and related technical and administrative publications concerned with work methods and procedures.
- Acquire an understanding of the work performed by various end-users to understand how software functions to support specific work activities and overall business needs
- Engage multiple stakeholders, recognize different perspectives
- Prepare written descriptions and visualizations of requested software features
- Represent users in discussing desired software functionality with developers, correct assumptions of developers and users
- Test software prototypes for expected functionality; provide clear written and verbal descriptions of observed issues to developers
- Create user guides and related documentation to support new software releases
- Prepare and maintain policy and process documents to support other areas of the organization
- Conduct training and work with Training staff to ensure effective curricula.”
If you have made it till the end of this article you know that working in the IP sector is going to be very rewarding, not only financially but also in terms of career advancement. Growth in this industry is very promising as the industry itself is growing and evolving. Here is a little motivational fact! Most companies work in compliance with US Trademark and Patent offices therefore the number of working days in a week is 5. You get your weekend free.
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