Intellectual Property (IP) opens doors to a plethora of career opportunities and choices. The options to work in IP are not only numerous, but also dynamic, and covering all of them in one article is close to impossible. In this post, we have covered some obvious career opportunities open for an aspiring IP professional.
With very few exceptions, IP as a field is inter-disciplinary, and multi-disciplinary expertise is an essential element for success in the field. From science and technology, to business, economics, management and law, IP pervades several streams, and success as an IP professional requires a good understanding, if not specialization, in more than one stream. Most successful IP professionals acquire degrees in at least two streams, and learn whatever else is required. Having said that, one can always pursue an IP career by studying just law, technology, or management, but such an approach is fraught with growth limitations.
Patent Profession V. Non-Patent Profession
At the risk of attracting serious objection, some refer to the patent option as ‘Hard IP’ and the non-patent option as ‘Soft IP.’ This is because patent as a career option requires a background in science and/or technology, while pursuing a career in species of IP such as trademarks and copyrights do not require any science or technology background. This difference is however being obliterated by the day with increasing merger of creativity with technology.
Having said that, one must initially choose whether she/he wishes to pursue a technology driven IP career, or non-technology driven IP career. The patent profession requires strong expertise in science and technology. The extent of specialization in a particular area can get really specific in certain fields, and a doctoral degree in that area may become a prerequisite. For example, to work in fields such as biotech and pharma, doctorate degrees in specific fields may be required. The same may not be the case with fields information technology and mechanical engineering.
On the other hand, to pursue a successful career in trademarks, copyrights or designs, a Masters Degree in IP Law, and sometimes even a Bachelors Degree in law may be sufficient. However, even in the said streams a good knowledge of business and technology will go a long way.
Basic Career Options
Patent Career Options
Some basic career options available to an aspiring patent professional are:
Patent Research and Analytics
Patent Drafting and Filing
Patent Maintenance and Portfolio Management
Patent Licensing and Technology Transfer
Patent Development and Co-ordination
Patent Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Other options in academics, research, government, etc, are also available.
Trade Mark as a Career Option
Some options available for an aspiring Trade Mark Professional are:
Trade Mark Practice at the IP Office – Trade Mark Search, Filing, Prosecution and Maintenance
Trade Mark Litigation
Trade Mark Management
Trade Mark and Brand Licensing
Franchising and Merchandizing
Also open are academic, research, government and other choices.
Copyright Career Options
Some options available for an aspiring Copyright Professional are:
Copyright Filing and Prosecution
Academic, research, government and other options are available in copyrights as well.
Other IP Career choices include
Professional Qualifications Required
An aspiring IP professional may not require any additional professional license if he chooses options such as strategy, management, licensing, co-ordination, etc. However, for a person aspiring to work as an IP Attorney or agent, she/he will be required to pass an exam conducted by the IP Office. Qualifying examinations are conducted by the Indian IP Office for:
Aspiring Patent Professionals – Patent Agent Exam
Aspiring TM Agents – Trade Mark Agent Exam
An advocate is eligible to practice as a trade mark attorney before the Indian IP Office, and is not required to pass the trade mark agent exam.
Only a technically qualified person is allowed to take the patent agent exam and practice as a patent agent before the Indian Patent Office. An agent, who is also an advocate, is referred to as a Patent Attorney.
Creators, Inventors and Intellectuals
The greatest satisfaction of being an IP professional comes from the opportunity to work with creators, inventors and intellectuals on a daily basis. But, one must bear in mind that IP profession is not as glamorous as creativity.
SiNApSE wishes you all the very best in your IP pursuits.
The information provided is not exhaustive and has several limitations. Please research further, or meet an expert before making your IP career choice.