Career Talk: Debarshi Mukherjee of RGSOIPL, IIT Kharagpur: On the Myriad Possibilities in Patents + College’s Admission Process

This interview has been conducted by Abhishek Sharma and Shweta Khurana of RGSOIPL, IIT Kharagpur (an ex college managers of Lawctopus). The interview was taken on December 11, 2014. Better late then never!

1. Kindly introduce yourself.

I am a final year student of RGSOIPL, IIT, Kharagpur. I have a Bachelor in Technology Degree in Electronics & Communications Engineering.

I was selected as the Google Policy Fellow, 2013. Am an ex-cricketer at the club level and a passionate rifle shooter.

2. Legal studies are still not a mainstream option for students.Being an Engineer,what motivated you to opt for Law Degree?

I was not aware of this course, till my father one day told me about it. He had heard about it from some lawyer, and had inquired about the prospects of Intellectual Property Law.

After considerable research, I found that IP is something, which had its reaches in a lot of other fields. It is the union of law and technology which got me thinking (read interested) in this field.

3. How did you get through to RGSOIPL, IIT Kharagpur?

I looked into the sample papers that were given on the website, and found almost half of the paper included 12th Standard Physics and Maths questions.

Being an engineer I was in touch with the subjects, for the legal aptitude, I started practicing from the CLAT papers, and for Logical Reasoning from the various CAT materials that were available.

We also had to write an essay in our written test. Then there was a Group Discussion round, which was quite challenging.

After that there was a personal interview round, where faculty members from the candidates respective backgrounds. They grilled us on our technical backgrounds, our projects and work experiences.

4. Were you sceptical about sudden change in your professional domain?

Yes, before joining the course I was a bit sceptical, as I already had four job offers in hand, from various companies. I did talk to a few practicing lawyers and alums of the school.

The fact that I wanted to do law and the information given to me by the people who are in the industry, gave me the confidence that it was making the right decision.

5.  What are your areas of interest? How you have built up your knowledge and expertise in those domains?

My interest lies in the area of Patents (patent pools, licensing, assignment, valuation) Copyright, and Open Source Licensing.

I have been frequenting the Technology Transfer Office of IIT, Kharagpur, and working with industry professionals, to mould and develop my skills.

Practical experience is probably the best way of learning from.


6. As a techno-Lawyer, in which activities you have participated in your law school?

I have been working with the Professors of different Departments, helping with filing their patents. I am also a part of the technology transfer group of IIT, Kharagpur.

I was a part of the first patent drive organized by the school, where we would go to different departments, and make the students and faculty aware of the patenting system.

We would also encourage them to come up with new ideas, do novelty searches for them, prepare patent landscapes, so that they get an idea as to what is the industry standard, and what is the white space where they can focus their work on.

7. What kind of Internships you believe a fresher shall go for?

Depends on where his interest lies. But first internship under a lawyer is essential I believe, so that he/she can get an idea of the court proceedings and procedural law.

Second internship onwards he/she should start working in the field where he/she is interested in.

8. How you have maintained the balance between academics and extra activities related to law school?

It is not very difficult to maintain balance, if you have the passion for a particular thing. Nothing beats the sleep that you get after a good day’s work.

9. Do you believe IIT-Tag has given you edge over others?

It’s not the tag, but the institution itself which has an edge over others. Mostly because of the infrastructure that has been provided.

Coming from a technical background, and having a special interest in Patents, we get the opportunity to go visit the innovation centres, which help us stay in touch with different emerging technologies.

IIT- KGP has the largest library in Asia, which includes books relating to every possible technology, management, and law. So studying here, you are able to tackle problems from every angle, having a technical background, in a technical university, studying in a law department built and sponsored by a management guru, Mr. Vinod Gupta.

10. What would you like to say to students of law & ‘would be lawyers’ regarding the Legal Studies?

Studying law is very enriching. It helps you understand the various issues that are affecting the society.

There is a reason why legal professionals are called ‘learned’. Using this knowledge to bring about a change in the society is probably the most fulfilling experience ever, where you see your work actually bringing a change in the day to day life of people.

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