Career In Patents & Copyright Industry After Masters in Life Sciences
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Career In Patents & Copyright Industry After Masters in Life Sciences

Intellectual property (IP) owes to any original creativity of the human intellect such as artistry, literature, technical, or scientific dimension. Intellectual property rights (IPR) alludes to the legal rights given to the inventor or creator to protect his invention or creation for a particular span of time. These legal rights address an exclusive right to the inventor/creator or his assignee to fully utilize his invention/creation for a given span of time.

A patent is granted for an exclusive invention, that satisfies the notion of global novelty, non-cognizable, and industrial or commercial application. Patents can be awarded for various products and their processes. As per the Indian Patent Act 1970, the span of a patent was 14 years from the date of filing except for processes for manufacturing drugs and food products for which the span given was 7 years from the date of the filing or 5 years from the date of the patent, whichever would be earlier. No product patents were permitted for drugs and food products. Copyright was generated in a member country of the Berne Convention that was protected in all the member countries, without any necessity for registration. India is an endorser for the Berne Convention and has dynamic copyright legislation comparable to that of any other countries. However, the copyright will not be available in all other countries that are not a part of the of the Berne Convention. Therefore, copyright may not be observed as a territorial right in a constricted sense. The most important aspect, like any other property IPR, can be transferred, sold, or gifted.

This article has been penned with an aim to give Life science & Biotech students a vivid view of how a Career In Patents & Copyright Industry looks like along with details on Salary, eligibility criteria, Online exams, career prospects in future and much more.

Why Patents and Patent agents – An India Scenario

As India emerged as an economic able country in the 1990s, our policymakers conceded the importance of IP to encourage private investment in Research and Development. According to a guide published by WIPO and many other studies in the past, a healthy IP system is a prime element in encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI). According to the WIPO report, there has been an undeviating increase in FDI in India, ever since the patent and Trademark reform was introduced in the 1990s. In the rise of India’s economic growth, it may be worthy to be aware of the immense importance of IP, the role of professionals within this field and why IP hold an important impact on our economy. The IP protection, mainly patents are the key force for further innovation, technology upliftment, and development of newer products that would revolutionize mankind.

To legally own an IP, one has to file for its protection. The strategies associated with these may be rather complicated, often requiring a negotiator with a legal background to proceed with the application. It is interesting to note that the skill required for the protection of each form of IP might require a skill that is different from the other. However, most of the lawyers undertake copyright and Trademarks work, protection under patents require exclusive technical and scientific expertise in the area sought to be protected. Therefore the largest demand for IP lawyers is for those who can do patent work. While the patent drafting in itself is extremely challenging, patent apprehension is equally a job of clarity and dynamism which requires dealing with the objections raised by the examiners. However, standing on the current economic trend, patents by far are one of the most useful forms of IP and is the only form that can protect innovative and novel ideas.

Career In Patents & Copyright Industry – Career as a patent agent

Throughout the life of the patent, from filing to grant to the expiration of the patent, the patent agent continues to be confidentially linked to the particular invention, following up with the legal requirements to ensure that the patent does not lapse due to any negligence. With all the grandeur of the technology behind the invention, the agent is nevertheless faced with the routine roles of tracking deadlines and writing letters to clients, filling in forms, attending meetings with inventors and many more. Nevertheless, the field offers an interesting approach to science – learning about newer fields. Dr. Theresa Phillips, an environmental biologist has written in her blog “Success in this field depends on an ability to go “fact-finding”; gathering information and processing it an orderly fashion. Both require a high amount of logical introspection and attention to detail”. Although a PhD is not a mandate to enter the field, in specialized areas such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical research and this may make it immensely useful to get the essence of  the field and

How can it be beneficial for Biotech and Life science students?

Being a Biopatent lawyer

Life science is all about studying life processes. The opportunity of PhD in IPR is quite good as the person is familiar with the research but the best way to move ahead is to pursue any online IPR courses and get an overview of IPR. One should have immense interest and passion to solve the queries related to the intellectual creations of mind and to add one should also have a problem-solving approach as the client is in a hunt for a proper way out. Moreover, to look upon Biotechnology patent law focuses on securing and defending the property rights granted by patents on technologies developed and invented by scientists working in the field of biosciences. There are quite a number of opportunities in biotechnology patent law for both patent lawyers (who combine a law degree and a background in science or technology) and others that do not require a law degree, including becoming a patent examiner, serving as a scientific advisor for any law firm or any legal department of a company, and working in technology transfer at a University. Now in this context, we can discuss some common questions related to patenting which will usually come up in our minds:-

Who is a patent attorney?

  • A patent attorney is a technical and a legal professional both who represents clients in obtaining patents and in filing a lawsuit in case of infringement by some competitor.

What can be an expected salary if anyone aspires to be a patent lawyer?

Salary of a patent agent in India ranges in between 3.0 lakh per annum to 20 lakh per annum. The entry-level salary for freshers can range in between Rs 20,000 to Rs 28,000/- pm. However, if you are successful in grabbing a job with top law firms the perks will be even higher – in such case salary offered to freshers can go as high as Rs 35,000/- pm. Specialization also matters – if you are just getting into filling – initial pay will be on the lower side. But if you are into reading claims, drafting applications etc pay package will be on the higher side.

  • At the later point of the  career, you can also make progress on the basis of your learning potential and performance
  • Creative abilities to make valuable contributions to the invention may end up as co-inventors.

How to make an entry in this field?

Gaining expertise in any of the life science fields will do —Botany, Zoology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology etc. Bachelor’s or preferably a Master’s in any of the above-mentioned fields can be pursued. After this, a diploma in intellectual patent rights from a known institute or an  LLB from IIT (Kharagpur) where intellectual property rights are the prime focus has to be done.

  • Next, some law firm or company as a trainee in the patent department can be joined and after gaining a year’s experience you can actually appear for a patent agent exam. Once it has been qualified, any law firm can be joined, a corporate or an outsourcing firm with a job profile, whichever you find the best — drafting, prosecution or litigation.

List of Top Institutes From Where you can get a relevant degree 

  1. Academy of Intellectual Property Studies, Mumbai for a PG diploma programme in patent management (www.aips.ac.in)
  2. NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad for a PG diploma programme in patent law (www.nalsar.ac.in)
  3. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for a PG diploma in IPR (www.ignou.ac.in)
  4. National Institute of Intellectual Property Management, Nagpur (www.patentoffice.nic.in/niipm/index.htm)

What are the required skills?

Most importantly, the person should bear a technological and legal acumen to understand the major innovations and have a research capability to work at least for 10-12 hours. Thinking out of the way to solve a research project is key in assisting the inventors to protect their inventions.

Is it mandatory to qualify a patent agent’s exam to become a patenting professional?

Primarily, there are two forms of job roles. The first one is the prosecution, which includes meeting the examiner (official) in the patent office and getting the patent approved. To be able to deal with the patent officials, one must have cleared the agent’s exam.

In order to become a patent attorney or patent agent, it is mandatory to take and pass the Patent Bar Examination. Only those individuals with scientific education are allowed to sit for the examination, and it is not a necessity to have any legal training for writing the exam. The easiest and more direct way is to have a bachelor’s degree in one of the listed fields.  

  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Botany
  • Computer Science
  • Electronics Technology
  • Food Technology
  • General Chemistry
  • Marine Technology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Physics
  • Textile Technology
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If you have one of the degrees on the list you are said to qualify to sit for the exam under Category A and all that is needed is to submit your application and transcript. If anyone having a degree then he/she is eligible to sit for the patent bar exam, but you need to prove either enough credits of coursework (Category B) or generalized technical expertise (Category C). For those who are unable to qualify as a result of not having a bachelor’s degree in one of the above disciplines, the most common way of demonstrating the technical sophistication is to resort to what is called Category B.  Under Category B an applicant can qualify to sit for the patent bar examination through the fulfillment of one of four options (Given below).

Option 1: 24 semester in physics. Only physics courses for physics major paper will be accepted.

Option 2: 32 semester  in a combination consisting of the following:

  • 8 semester  of either chemistry or  physics, and
  • 24 semester in botany, microbiology, or molecular biology.8 semester of either chemistry or physics must be obtained in two consecutive semesters, each semester including a lab.

Option 3: 30 semester in chemistry.

Option 4: 40 semesters  in a combination consisting of the following:

  • 8 semester  of either chemistry or  physics, and
  • 32 semester of chemistry, physics, botany, microbiology, molecular biology. The 8 semesters of chemistry or 8 semesters of physics must be obtained in two consequent semesters, each semester including a lab.

How does a career in IP evolve in India?

The individuals in our country are most passionate about protecting innovations. To get evolved in this field one has to be technology savvy. The Intellectual Property law has evolved a lot in the last 10 year and now it’s a trademark that can be registered in less than one month in India with proper documentation. The Indian government is giving a number of grants to startups in India to grow.

What is the kind of work one is expected to do in this field?

Reviewing and researching the technologies filed across global patent websites. IPR rights are territorial in nature, that is, if a  patent is protected in India and not in the US then anybody is free to use the technology in the US. A patent is granted to a technology that is afresh, non-obvious to an expert in the same field, and have industrial applicability. Right from patent filing before the patent office to patent grant, a number of steps are executed by a number of patent associates. Apart from this, a patent expert can research and work on a number of projects related to foreign patent litigation cases, which is an excellent knowledge process outsourcing model thriving in India.

Global trade today is ruled by companies and Multinational corporations who have created and protected their intellectual property. No companies exist that embodies this better than Microsoft, and has been built entirely on the strength of its software programs which are protected through copyright. Protection of intellectual property has been a mandatory issue nowadays that the companies today are carrying out intellectual property audits to identify their intellectual wealth and form special departments to manage them. Currently, almost every country is seeking measures to strengthen its shield against cases related to intellectual property and India also has feigned specific laws on a variety of aspects related to intellectual property.

About the Author
This article has been contributed by Priyanjana Ghosh, Senior Professor at Biotecnika with specialization in Plant Biotechnology. She has been an ardent follower of trends in Biology. She has immense knowledge and interest in Life Sciences. We thank her for her valuable inputs. More such discussions will be published in the future on Biotecnika by her.

Keywords: Career In Patents & Copyright Industry After Masters in Life Sciences, Career In Patents & Copyright Industry, Intellectual Property Rights Life science career, career in Intellectual Property Rights, Career in IPR, Biopatent agent career, patent agent salary, Patent agent exam, Patent agent eligibility criteria, Patent agent after Msc Life science.

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Perfection is her hobby, Reliability is a synonym, Editing is her passion, Excellence is her Goal, Tactfulness is in her genes, Yellow is her Fav color. Preety Suman is the name of the Professional on whom entire BioTecNika relies when it comes to its website.A Gold Medalist in Biotech from SRM University, Chennai with a 9.9 CGPA ( was awarded the Gold Medal by Honorable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi , as seen in the pic ), She decided to join forces with BioTecNika to ensure India's largest BioSciences Portal expands its reach to every city in India.She has redesigned the new avatar of BioTecNika from scratch and heads the most dynamic, vibrant and well informed Online Team at Biotecnika Info Labs Pvt Ltd

5 COMMENTS

  1. Patent Agent or Attorney carrer prospects is far better than Patent Examiner in Indian Patent Office.

  2. Will you please give me some information about career as patent agent . I completed masters in Life sciences

  3. My Elder daughter completed her MSc in Biotechnology, completed 6 months work experience & 6 months Industrial Training of BITP. Which course will be better for her ? My younger daughter is a Law Graduate with IPR as Honours subject & may be helpful in my Elders daughters study.

  4. I am ph.d biochemistry how to apply for the exam? when will be the call for the exam? please tell the details how to write the exam?

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