Many law students and young lawyers are fascinated by the idea of working in IP law.
Many of them enjoy reading copyright law or patent law concepts and come to imagine that they will like IP law as a career.
Unfortunately, practicing IP law is nothing like discussing what is copyrightable and what is an inventive step in a patent claim in a classroom in law college.
I have met many young lawyers who joined some IP law firm after graduation out of this misconception and then were disillusioned within months. They leave after some time, disappointed as their reality does not match with what they had imagined.
However, IP law is truly an amazing area of practice if you have the right expectations and you prepare for success. You have to understand that all IP jobs are not the same, and you have to pick the right ones. You also have to prepare yourself to get that job that you really want to land.
Landing a job is just step 1 though, imagine what step 10 looks like. You have to prepare for success in the job even before you get it, and that is the best way to deserve the job that you really want to land.
But before we go in that direction, you have to develop an understanding of what you want and why you want it.
Let me tell you why IP is one of the best legal careers to pursue in today’s day and age.
Please see if any of the reasons listed below resonates with you.
Association with creativity and innovation
It is undeniable that IP law can expose you to more intellectual and finer aspects of human experience, especially creativity, art, and innovation as opposed to say capital markets, project finance, criminal law, or M&A!
Every piece of intellectual property has some creative aspects to it. If you are a creative or intellectual person, you may enjoy the proximity with art, innovation, literature. It is not just proximity, but engaging on a daily basis with art, literature, and innovation is pretty much the job of IP lawyers. Sure it will not feel that way if you are filing forms all day for registration of some kind of IP, but it gets better once you start getting seniority and work on contentious stuff.
There is no limit to what human beings can invent, and how far patent lawyers will go to assail or defend that innovation for their client’s commercial gains.
Imagine lawyers who have to watch movies or stand up comedy to determine whether it is original work or a copyright claim can be brought against it.
Or whether a trademark is deceptively similar to another!
As an IP lawyer, you also get many opportunities to come up with creative and innovative arguments as well, and that may satisfy your hunger for original work.
I, for example, love doing something creative. It quenches some kind of inner thirst for creativity and innovation. I guess that is why I absolutely love writing and have been trying to learn the piano.
It is often said that we should choose a profession that does not merely make money, but where our passion lies. Many young law graduates find it highly inspiring and intellectually stimulating to work on challenging IP matters.
Association with popular culture and cultural icons
A lot of people want to join IP law because they will get to work with their favorite stars, cultural icons, or popular brands.
This is true. IP lawyers do get to work with top scientists, authors, artists, creators, movie stars, even top sportspersons. They act for big brands as well.
How many of you will like to work with Marvel or DC or even Netflix? Maybe you will like to work for FIFA or IPL?
All of these companies need trademark lawyers all the time and sometimes, copyright lawyers too. Enforcing their branding rights and protecting their content from piracy all around the globe requires them to engage small armies of copyright and trademark lawyers.
You can also get to work with companies that are changing the direction of our civilization as a patent lawyer – such as Tesla, Qualcomm, or Alphabet – they all hire top patent lawyers all the time.
Intellectual property law practice is hot because of burgeoning tech and media sectors
As things stand today, technology and media are the two horsemen of IP Law.
The technology sector is seeing big growth thanks to emerging technologies – solar, 5G, biotech, automated transportation, e-commerce, fintech, food technology.
Media has been the fastest growing industry around the globe for the last 10 years and is likely to grow fast on the back of ubiquitous smartphone and internet connection.
Both of these sectors are IP intensive. Not only registration of patent, copyright, and trademark, but these industries are also generating a massive amount of work related to licensing, franchising, assignment of IP, IP prosecution as well as enforcement of IP rights globally.
Of course, there is considerable work from other sectors like manufacturing, FMCG, retail, fashion and luxury, and pharma as well, but tech and media have been the biggest drivers of growth.
It is important to note that due to a strong connection with these emerging sectors IP has not been particularly hit like most other areas of law practice after the pandemic. If you want a recession-proof career, IP is really solid for that.
IP law is an area of practice with a lot of international exposure and foreign clients
IP is by nature an international practice. If you are registering a patent, you probably want to cover several major markets around the world. Similarly, if you are looking to register a trademark, especially for a global or international brand, the scope for international work is massive as they probably want to register it in many different countries.
Also, you get a lot of high paying foreign clients if you are a good IP lawyer. A lot of work is related to global enforcement of IP apart from local work.
Also, IP law is pretty similar across the world. Most major economies today comply with the TRIPS agreement, which is an acronym for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. As a result of this, IP laws vary only in a minor way in different jurisdictions.
This gives IP lawyers a big advantage when it comes to creating an international practice, or even migrating to other jurisdictions including developing countries like the USA, Canada, or Australia that are rather migration friendly.
Many lawyers from developing countries have managed to get into international academia after studying IP law thanks to the cross-border relevance and similarity of IP laws. If you want to teach abroad after studying law in India, IP law specialization should be one of your top picks, apart from subjects like competition law and international trade.
IP law pays well
IP is a very well paid area of work because of the specialized nature of work, the criticality of performance, and rich corporate clients. Indian IP practice prospered after globalization as hordes of international MNCs landed in India to do business thanks to the opened markets.
As the global importance of countries in Asia and Africa as a fast-growing market for consumer goods, technology, media, automobiles, and luxury items continue to grow, IP law practice will thrive.
As law firms continue to compete for talent, salary in IP law practice will remain strong.
Interestingly, over the years, high profile law firms in IP have shifted from doing a lot of registration to doing more litigation, as the IP law market had matured. In the future, we can expect more well-paid jobs for lawyers who are good at IP prosecution and IP litigation.
Top IP law firms pay between ₹70,000 – ₹1,00,000 at the entry-level to fresh lawyers, while tier 2 law firms pay between ₹40,000 – ₹70,000. Smaller shops can pay between ₹25,000 – ₹40,000. Partners with 10 years of experience can earn between ₹50 lakhs -1 crore or more. Of course, those who manage to set up their own law firms or even independent law practices and are able to attract clients independently grow fastest.
This is in India. Internationally you can earn a lot more.
It is possible to earn around $2000 per month by working as a remote paralegal with USPTO skills.
The quickest way to grow is to build your own law firm or law practice.
Apart from that, international presence and being able to work with international law firms and companies can help you build a good track record and become a thought leader in your field.
Virtual work, for today’s lawyers, has given a golden opportunity to do all this work sitting at the comfort of your home.
What do I do next if I am interested in a career in IP law?
Here are four things you should be doing if you are interested in IP law:
- Learn some of the most in-demand IP skills – skills for which demand is growing but supply is not able to catch up
- Find opportunities to apply those skills – so that you can build a proven track record
- Learn how to network with and present your track record in a convincing manner to potential employers
- Find talent arbitrage opportunities – can you offer your skills in a different market, such as in the USA, where it will be more valued since remote work is mainstream now? Read more about this here
Also, there are different kinds of IP jobs, and not all of them need the same skills.
What are these jobs? What are the skills?
What are the global trends you need to watch out for.
We have written a series of articles to answer some of these questions.
You can start reading these articles if you have not already:
We are also inviting you to join our free 3-day bootcamp on “How to kickstart your international IP law career today” – from 14-16 May, 6-9 pm. Please block your calendar and register here.
We will break down everything step by step for you and give you a method to conquer this career madness.
We are bringing our 10 years of coaching and training experience to upskill you with some of the best and in-demand IP skills which can help you to set up a successful IP law practice from the comfort of your homes.
More than 11,000 lawyers have already registered.
We will only be able to accommodate 5000 attendees during the bootcamp. So make sure you set an alarm on your phone so you don’t miss this.
So how can you make sure you attend all the 3 days of this FREE live bootcamp and make the most of it?
Step 1- Open the calendar app on your phone and set a reminder from 14-16 May for 5:45pm IST. If you are not from India then convert the time to your local time and add it to your calendar.
Step 2- Make sure to log in and join the bootcamp by 5:50pm IST, 10mins early.
This will make sure you are one of the first ones to enter once the session begins.
Step 3 – Remember to repeat Step 2 on all 3 days.
Recordings of the bootcamp will not be available later so make sure you attend it live.
We also have FREE giveaways for the participants who attend the bootcamp:
🎁Day 1 – USPTO trademark notice of opposition and response to notice of opposition.
🎁Day 2 – DMCA Takedown notice
🎁Day 3 – US compliant Technology Transfer Agreement
Participants from over 50 countries have registered so far for this bootcamp.
It can give you an incredible opportunity to interact with lawyers from different countries.
In the pre-COVID times you would have to catch a flight to attend an event which is conducted on such a large scale.
You can attend this from anywhere in the world and it is absolutely FREE.
Don’t forget to invite your friends, colleagues or classmates by sharing this link to them – https://bit.ly/3ti42pj
WhatsApp Link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/LmBeOQKqgF5CHKE438ibQi
Telegram Link: https://t.me/joinchat/RiTzRv17FjmqYcb3
We have also started a YouTube channel on IP law which is updated daily, make sure you subscribe to it: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzs5G6XyVgrdcprx_ShdmvgyC4E7vSkuP