Kriti Priyadarshini Litoria is a lawyer specializing in intellectual property (IP) law practicing out of Delhi and Jabalpur. In this interview with Asia Law Portal, she explains what inspired her to become a lawyer. And the importance of IP to new business owners, and the challenges of establishing her own practice. And what she hopes to achieve in the future.
What inspired you to become a lawyer?
I distinctly remember meeting a family friend’s young daughter who was living in a posh locality in Mumbai. She introduced herself as a lawyer who worked in a Tier 1 law firm. This was when I was 16, very close to making a decision about the career I want to pursue. I felt infatuated with the life she was living. A young and independent girl, living on her own in one of the more affluent areas in Mumbai.
Thereafter I sat for an aptitude test where the career coach advised that I could do well as a lawyer. My family also encouraged me. Although they wanted me to be on the other side of the bar and become a judge. I must admit that the idea of being a lawyer was very romantic in my head. And the reality is far from what I was thinking of the profession as a 16-year-old.
You specialize in Intellectual Property (IP) in India. Tell us more about your practice.
Mine is a very young practice. In February, 2022, I gets a promotion as senior associate at the law firm I was working at. This was even before I work for 5 years in the profession. And it was a big deal for me because my contemporaries took longer to get that promotion. In August, 2022 I decided that it was time to set up my own practice. I took a break for a few months and since November, 2022 I have been working on my own.
And I specialize in doing work related to trademarks. I assist Clients from the nascent stages of adoption of a trademark. I help them conduct clearance searches. And advise them on the registrability of trademarks to foresee any concerns that may arise in the future. Further work ranges from filing for registration of a trademark to handling any disputes that may arise.
Given the high-profile Clients I generally deal with – I tend to work/ advise in a manner such that the dispute can resolve between the parties itself and does not need escalation. I have also been working on getting clients customs registration of their trademarks. To protect them against import of any goods bearing infringing trademarks. And assisting them with domain disputes before the relevant authorities.
Ever since I set up my own practice, I have also been getting a lot of work related to copyright. Though most of it has been related to copyright registration alone. Going by how the past few months have been, I am very excited to see how this practice grows!
What unique IP challenges and opportunities do individuals and businesses face in India?
The biggest challenge for individuals and businesses to face in India with respect to IP rights is definitely a lack of awareness. India is now seeing a boom in the number of businesses set up in the country. In such an environment, one would expect people to be proactive in protecting their brands – unfortunately that is not the case.
In fact, I see a lot of businesses adopting trademarks of big, known businesses – because they are not aware that they should not be doing that. Keeping counterfeiting aside, more often than not there is no intention to ride on the goodwill of big business, but known trademarks are adopted by small businesses in India because the trademark seems attractive.
With respect to copyright, in my experience, a lot of artists have no clue that they could protect their rights in a work and take action in cases of infringement.
Educating the masses about their rights and making them aware of the remedies in case their rights in an intellectual property have been infringed – is definitely the biggest challenge in my eyes. With the Indian government encouraging people to set up businesses – I hope to see industry specific workshops/ seminars conducted for business owners to impart basic knowledge and make traders/ business owners aware of intellectual property. It would also be great if school going children could be introduced to IP as part of their curriculum.
What are your hopes for the future growth of your practice?
When I started studying law and doing internships, I developed an interest in copyright and media laws. While I did try to seek that kind of work in my last places of work, however my work was always mostly related to trademarks.
I feel very grateful that ever since I set up my own practice, a lot of work related to copyright has been coming my way. And I do not have unrealistic expectations for future growth of my practice. And I hope to have enough work to sustain myself and all other people that have an association with me at this point. I hope that the organic growth that my practice has been seeing continues, and my clients appreciate the work that we are doing for them.
It’s also important to mention that one of the main reasons I started out on my own was because I did not resonate with how most places of work operate. I am a firm believer that work is a part of life and not life itself. As my practice grows, I hope to propagate a culture where neither I, nor any of my associates are overburdened.