Yashvardhan Rana, Editor – The Trademark Reporter, INTA and a recent recipient of the Top 50 Emerging IP professional in the world award—found inspiration at a young age to become an Intellectual Property Lawyer. In this interview with Asia Law Portal, this highly decorated IP Lawyer details what most inspired him to focus on this legal specialism – while also detailing Intellectual Property considerations that foreign companies should be most focused on when doing business in India.
You specialize in Intellectual Property with a focus on IP prosecution relating to Trademarks, Copyright and Design Law. Can you describe what type of work you handle?
Being associated with one of the leading IP firms in the country, i.e. Inttl Advocare, it is obviously very demanding — entailing challenging work assignments on a daily basis that push you to your limit. However, it encourages you to calibrate, augment your skills, adapt and respond to newer challenges and opportunities every day. I am a part of the Trade Mark, Copyright and Design Prosecution team and contribute religiously to this firm practice for multinational corporations based abroad — and Indian clients across the board. I am responsible for registrability analysis and risk management, providing legal opinion on the use, adoption and registrability of trademarks to be launched by Fortune 500 companies as well as top FMCG’s in India. I also advise on trade mark protection strategies, copyright issues and specific assignments relating to Design Law, certain aspects of strategic brand management and advisory, IP auditing and due diligence to portfolio management, transactional advice and agreement drafting, permitted user/registered user recordals and other procedural compliances. All this has to be executed in a timely and effective manner & to the satisfaction of our clients.
How did you develop an interest in IP Law?
The world of brands and logos have always fascinated me since my childhood as I’ve seen my father patronise various well-known brands from various department stores from every nook and corner of the world on our summer vacations (as he does not like to shop in India). This routine was followed on every vacation that he took us to and I accidentally got immersed and it had further inspired me to delve into the world of brands as I have never done before. On another note, I also used to read his case files at night in our house chamber on high stakes matters pertaining to trade mark law almost twice or thrice a week during my college holidays. I also was inclined to become a lawyer from my boyhood days and Intellectual Property Law was and has been booming in India. I chose IPR as my specialisation and further wanted to create a niche for myself in this ever-intriguing field of law.
What are the most important Intellectual Property considerations for foreign companies doing business in India?
Foreign companies should be confident in knowing that India is emerging as a global economic superpower and is likely to overtake the US to become the world’s second largest economy by 2030. Factors and initiatives including ease of doing business, introduction of robust IP mechanisms including online IP enforcement and speedy disposal of cases by the courts and varied forums using e-filing technology, a national-level dedicated task force for IP crimes, rise in filing of IP applications, online search system for classification of goods and services, an upgraded physical and technological infrastructure and related services at all IP offices, Video conferencing systems for hearings, recognition of well-known trademark status within a stipulated time frame, regular meetings with stakeholders to address grievances and resolve procedural and technical issues, bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the Canadian IP office, European Patent office, Japan Patent office and UKIPO, accession to the WIPO Internet Treaties, Nice Agreement, Vienna Agreement, and Locarno Agreement, introduction of the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) established under DPIIT for implementing IP policies aimed at academic institutions, promoting IP awareness, commercialization, and enforcement throughout India – are just some of the steps India has taken to attain the status of being recognised as a Global IP Hub in Asia.
In November, 2019, you were conferred with the Top 50 Emerging IP Players/Professionals Award worldwide by The IPR Gorilla, 2nd Edition held in Dubai. Tell us more about receiving this prestigious award?
I received this award based on having met five parameters, namely: Overall Reach, Industry Impact, Spirit of Innovation, Future Readiness and Market Demand. After careful consideration of submitted nomination forms — and extensive research, the awards committee rated me with a high aggregate score, ultimately including me in the final Top 50 list of awardees in the world. There were approximately 400 nominees in total from around the world. Other awardees included stalwarts in the field of IP and young budding IP professionals working in big firms and companies, including Al Tamimi & Co., Clyde & Co., Reliance Industries, Micro Labs Ltd., Marks & Clerk, Spoor & Fisher, Infosys, Ferrero SpA, to name a few.
You serve as an Editor of The Trade Mark Reporter, INTA (January, 2020 – present). Tell us more about this.
My work as an Editor entails peer reviewing and editing (including post-peer review/pre-publication polishing, soliciting and/or developing content, particularly full-length articles, liaising with and encouraging potential authors to contribute with articles, commentaries, book reviews, and more. Attending sub-committee meetings focused on peer reviewer training and developing content both online and offline (post-Covid 19), writing commentaries and book reviews for publication in The Trademark Reporter has been a very stimulating experience.
You hold an LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law from Queen Mary University of London (2015-16), a B.B.A., LL.B. from Symbiosis Law School, Pune (2008-13) and you studied International Commercial Litigation and Arbitration at the London School of Economics (LSE, 2013). What is the most notable element/learning of your legal education?
Law influences virtually every aspect of the world and works, in theory, to ensure equality and justice for those which it governs, serving as a safety net for societal values. In my view, being fortunate enough to undertake and study in these renowned institutions has been an exhilarating experience as it broadened my horizons/perspective to another level altogether. I met many people from diverse backgrounds and countries. It also provided a deep insight into the workings of various legal regimes in different jurisdictions. However, I have, and shall always maintain unconditionally, that my year as an LL.M. student at QMUL was easily one of the best years of my life. It gave me a lot more than just a degree. I had arrived to join a year-long course and to earn an additional qualification with incredible insights, priceless personal growth, lifelong friends, and long-lasting memories. Intellectually, it consistently challenged me to simultaneously learn and unlearn — amplifying my personal growth and helping me develop a broader view and perception that I would previously not have considered myself capable of.
What are your plans for your career in Intellectual Property Law?
My life has taken me around the globe—allowing me to see people, places, and things others may never get the chance to experience, while shaping my perceptions of the world we live in. I ask not simply to impress upon the minds of young students and lawyers but act as an influencing agent to impact our system and the rational balance of our world — for the better. One case at a time. A career in the field of IP law is an opportunity to couple my aptitude for textual analysis with my desire to take active, concrete steps toward a more just world.
Yashvardhan Rana on LinkedIn: https://in.linkedin.com/in/yashvardhanrana