Here is an inspiring story of Mr.Sanjay Kesharwani who is a Patent Analyst and Patent Writer by profession, particularly in the fields of Automobiles and Mechanical & General engineering fields. He is a registered patent agent in India and has over 12 years’ experience working in Indian Patent Offices,Speaking of Mr.Sanjay I remember a famous saying of the late Nelson Mandela “A good head with a good heart is always a formidable combination” He is a wonderful person to associate with and he has such great knowledge and wisdom which could be of great help to you people, he has taken voluntary retirement in order to pursue his career as a patent consultant. Following is the success story of Mr.Sanjay which will give you the right amount of inspiration to fuel your passion for IP.

1. When did you realize your calling for IP?

I got interested in IPR during the developments in India with respect to TRIPS and PCT during 1998-99. I applied for the post of Patent Examiner in Indian Patent Offices in 1998. It was a curious coincidence that I was interviewed by UPSC on the same day in November 1998, which happened to be the day after Indian cabinet approved promulgation of The Patents (Amendment) Ordnance 1999, which subsequently lead to Product Patent Regime in India in Drugs and Pharmaceuticals in conformity with India’s obligations under the TRIPS Agreement as part of WIPO. I believe my knowledge / awareness of the same helped me in bagging the job.

2. How is a typical workday in your life?

Presently I work as a Freelance Consultant, connecting primarily from home. Thus, I have a very flexible workday according to the assignments for the day. I also get to flex my work timings on the basis of my personal choices. Once I take up a task, I prefer to complete it in one go with few necessary breaks in between, as are needed to maintain the accuracy and quality of my output. As and when required, I travel to meet clients for discussing their inventions. Since, my home is at a walking distance from IPO Mumbai, I can also attend to last-minute emergencies of my clients. I regularly attend hearings before the Controller for representing my clients during patent prosecution.

3. What skills are required in your position? 

Being a Patent Consultant, I require a good knowledge of the Indian and US Patent System and procedures and forms provided there under. This profession also demands an excellent understanding of the EPC and PCT system, PCT Articles, Regulations and Guidelines and the Forms and procedures for filing international patent application/s there under. A good knowledge of English/Hindi is crucial, since these two languages are the official languages under the Indian Patent Act, and particularly English is also a working language in many foreign IP offices as a globally recognized business and official language today.

As a Patent Consultant, I also need to be up-to-date with the current technological fields, since I always have to work with new and advanced technologies that are still not launched in the market! At present, German technology is playing a vital role in the development of mechanical, automotive, chemical, textiles, electrical and electronics industries in India. In particular, Indian automobile industry is gradually witnessing a transformation towards becoming a manufacturing hub catering to markets all over the world.

I also hold Advance Diplomas both in German and French languages. This additional competency helps me tremendously in reading and understanding technologies/patents published in these languages. This also facilitates me in understanding the drafting skills for these languages better, which in turn helps me to continuously improve my own drafting skills. Since I can understand ISRs/IPERs/orders/decisions issued in German and French, this adds value to my advice to my clients and also my final output.

By virtue of my twelve years’ experience in conducting patent examination and prosecution at the Indian Patent Offices, I have provided more than 400 quality translations of German and French patents/applications. I have also translated more than 100 other legal documents and ISRs/IPERs and patent orders/decisions into English in the recent years.

4.  How did you get job?

I had worked in private mechanical engineering industries for three years and then for 13.5 years in Indian Ordnance Factories (DGQA) before being selected in 1998 through UPSC for the post of Examiner of Patents & Designs and was first post date IPO Calcutta in 1999. Subsequently, I was transferred to Mumbai on request in 2002. I was promoted as Assistant Controller of Patents & Designs in April 2006 and continued till February 2011 working in different capacities including Group Leader (Mechanical) at IPO Mumbai. In 2011, I took Voluntary Retirement from my Government Employment which lasted for over 25 years, to start my practice as a Patent Consultant.

5.      Most challenging part of job?

I find it very challenging to carry out prior-art/novelty search in patent/non-patent literature and to draft quality patent specifications with grantable and enforceable patent claims, which would be readily marketable.

6.       What do find most enjoyable about your job? 

I enjoy working on any patent- related assignment, be it Patent Search, drafting Specifications or preparing replies to Examination Reports or documents concerning Patent Oppositions/Revocations, or conducting Patent Audit, Patent Landscaping and Infringement Analysis. I am equally competent and comfortable at Patent, Technical and Legal translations to/from German, French, English and Hindi languages. Working on these also offers me a refreshing change from my Patent Activities and enhances my overall patent, technical and legal vocabulary.

7.  Working Hours

Normally I work for about 10-12 hours daily, 5-6 days a week, i.e. about 50-60 hours per week, but for meeting specific deadlines, there are no time-limits at all.

8. How would you describe the corporate culture?

I have come to personally understand the corporate culture only after my VRS from IPO, Mumbai. I find Indian corporate culture very professional and merit-based. Any person having good skills can explore and get rewarded commensurate with the quality of his/her work. This was the only reason and my only hope for leaving my IPO job which was tremendously educative, albeit more of bureaucratic nature at higher levels. This was the reason which prompted me to opt out of IPO to practicing patents in my private capacity, sitting on the other side of the table.

9.   What are the future prospects of this field?

This is one of the most challenging and remunerative professions with internationally recognized procedures that are based on almost uniform basic principles. This also offers a great scope for international cooperation between various countries, corporations, companies and consultants, thereby offering Indian students and prospective Patent/IPR professionals the opportunity to position themselves on the global marketplace with their excellent skills.

10.   What would be a reasonable salary range to expect if someone is interested in entering this field? 

In this field, one can earn as hard as one works. In particular, technically skilled persons with Patent/IPR knowledge can command much higher salaries than their plain MBA counterparts, while still remaining in touch with their beloved subjects. In my opinion, this is the greatest benefit of Patent/IPR skills over plain MBAs with engineering/technology/science background. MBA mostly takes them away from technical education and makes them more focused on latest business practices. Patent is a field which is growing at constant pace after effective implementation of WIPO/PCT System and thereby by rapid advancement of technology and sciences. International Patent Filing is growing at double digits in recent years.

11.   If you could start all over again, would you change your career path in any way? Why?

Definitely not! This is one of the most promising fields to be in, especially because of the universal nature of its application on a global level. However, had I been any younger, I would have added a Law Degree/Specialization to my Qualifications.

12.   What educational preparation would you recommend for someone who wants to advance in this field?

My sincere recommendation would be to first complete Graduation/Post-Graduation/Ph.D. in Engineering /Technology or Applied/Basic Sciences as per the resources available to an individual and his/her tenacity. Then, one should go for a basic Law degree and/or IPR specialization. Finally, one must get at least two years’ exposure in a good Patent Firm/Consultancy or a Corporate IPR Cell in any industry.

13.   Can you suggest some ways a student could obtain this necessary experience?

One should try to become part of any IPR network, right from their Graduation level and also start exploring Patents Databases in his/her area of interest to understand their relevance. One may also try to get assignments, even if without any compensation, to gain experience and important feedback. Last but not the least, a good internship after Graduation/IPR Course would be the icing on the cake!

14.   What are the most important personal satisfactions and dissatisfactions connected with your occupation? What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging?

Although I started my career very late into Patents (at a mature age of 36 years), with my continued interest and learning throughout last 15 years in patents, I am quite satisfied with my progress in this reputed profession. My only regret is that Indian Patent Office system is still lagging behind when considered in the light of our neighbor China, which has made extraordinary progress in IPR Policy and its Implementation, leaving behind even USA & Japan in Patent Filing in 2011.

A great role can be played by UGC and AICTE by incorporating IPR as a compulsory/ elective subject in the Undergraduate Courses to enhance exposure of young students to this fascinating field.

I also hope that Indian Government gives more importance to expansion of the Indian Patent System in letter and spirit, i.e. from the disposal of more and more numbers of patent applications, resulting in many more patent grants, which could become a real growth driver for Indian industry. There is also a need for a separate Patent Enforcement Legislation and concerned Authority in India for strict patent enforcement. This would ensure good and time-bound returns to foreign investors, applicants and companies for their investments in filing patents in India.

15.   Suggestions do you have for our readers?

My suggestion to the readers would be that our younger generation should make themselves well-aware of the nitty-gritty of IPR, particularly Patents. This is much more advisable for the students of engineering and science disciplines as well as those studying design, multimedia and IT-related courses. Only then can they think of protecting their ideas and creations and profiting from their true prospective intellectual capital.