Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Job opportunities in Patents

This is the first of a series on jobs related to Patents in India.

Government Sector:

In India, The Patent Office employs Science and Engineering graduates as Examiners of Patents & Designs who are required to do a thorough patent search to determine whether a patent application fulfills the requirements of novelty,inventive step and industrial applicability and also other conditions laid down by the Indian Patent Act. Salaries offered are the best in the Government sector. But recruitment is rare and a long drawn process.The rate of attrition is also high since candidates with such experience are highly sought after in the private sector with lucrative compensation. Lack of avenues for promotion also contributes to higher levels of attrition. At present candidates with qualification in Biotechnology,Microbiology, Biochemistry,Chemistry and almost all branches of Engineering are selected as Examiners of Patents & Designs after a rigorous selection procedure.

Private Sector:
The counterparts of Examiners are called Patent agents.These people are required to interact with the Patent Office and set right whatever deficiencies exist in a patent application. This highly exacting job requires very high levels of competence in English,and knowledge of a foreign language would be advantageous. A patent agent with a law degree is called a Patent Attorney. Having a law degree would be helpful in prosecuting cases in a Court of Law. To become a patent agent in India, a person has to be registered with the Indian Patent Office. A qualifying examination is conducted twice every year in all four Patent offices( Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata & Chennai). An Indian citizen above 21 years if age with a degree in Science/Engineering is eligible to appear for the examination. A formal qualification in IPR is not essential although helpful. Thorough understanding of the Indian Patent Act and a strong technical background and indispensable for a patent agent. Skills in drafting patents and getting into the core of the invention are absolutely essential. This can come only with experience and like wine, a patent agent can only get better with age. Salaries are the best and are comparable to those in the IT sector and gets even better for experienced candidates. Many top-notch companies are now setting up their own IPR departments increasing opportunities for experienced candidates. Like all jobs in the corporate jungle, a patent agent should be able to tolerate high levels of stress and meet deadlines which in many cases turn into a do or die situation for them.
Another emerging field related to patents is the KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) industry. Some well known companies in this field are Evalueserve, Intellevate,Patent Metrix, IPPRO,GVK bio (Hyderabad) etc.
There are also many online jobs where foreign patent applications are routed to India to be drafted and prosecuted. Few websites like offer patent related jobs where one can work from home.