Interview with Navneet Momi, Managing Partner at Intellect Juris

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Mrs Navneet Momi is the Managing Partner at Intellect Juris. She has completed her Masters in Intellectual Property Laws from The University of Manchester. She holds more than a decade of experience in IP related prosecution, strategy and litigation. The firm caters to a variety of clients, ranging from private individuals to fortune 200 companies along with the other industries. She is equipped with global knowledge pertaining to IP matters and also has developed her skill in terms of providing practical business approach towards varied kinds of IP matters.

She showcases her proficient litigation experiences by frequently appearing for matters in Supreme Court of India along with all the other related courts and tribunals which deal with IP related laws in the country.

We had a chance to interview Mrs. Momi and below is the transcript from the conversation.

Anukriti: Can you take us through your journey while you were in law school? What kind of activities were you involved in during that time?

Navneet Momi: Law school has been an extremely enriching experience for me not just with respect to my professional aspirations and knowledge base but it was in that half a decade that I figured where my true calling lies. Throughout my journey, one thing that drove me was my overriding passion for being a medium in making the law accessible to those that were disadvantaged or deprived of such awareness. I manifested this urge by consistently engaging myself with active volunteer services and pro bono work. I was involved in exhaustive paralegal projects since my maiden year with both Non-Government and government organizations along with independent lawyers. It was in these ventures that I received a hands-on experience that went beyond the pages of books and journals to give me that extra edge.

Anukriti: How beneficial according to you was the decision of perusing LLM outside of India? What process did you undertake to select your college for pursuing your master and how did you go about the application process?

Navneet Momi: Perhaps one of the best decisions in my life has been the decision to pursue my postgraduate degree in Intellectual Property Rights. I completed my LLM from the University of Manchester. It was in this university where I could fuse my knowledge of basic principles, concepts and theories along with a deep-rooted specialization in IP. Along with the confidence of added proficiency, this certainly gave my career that head starts it needed. Additionally, with LLM I also saw a change in my perspective towards a lot of things, now I was working with a more practice-based approach. Firms in India have also started valuing LLMs considering the amount of knowledge and experience that an LLM student comes back loaded with.

I pursued my LLM right after I finished my undergraduate degree. However, I would recommend the young aspirants to think this through as per their career goals. In my opinion, it is more advantageous to work for a couple of years for you to be sure of what stream of law you want to specialize in before heading for masters. This work experience makes your degree even more serviceable to your professional trajectory later.

Coming to the selection of universities, I personally had been selected by five universities which included King’s College and the University of Nottingham amongst others. The criterion for this selection should ideally be the course structure and curriculum entailed on the college website. I chose the University of Manchester considering their extensive and exhaustive IP module which appealed to my expectations.

Anukriti: IPR is a very interesting and growing area of law in terms of its popularity. How according to you can a law student, who has an interest in IPR develop upon their knowledge to secure a job with a good firm?

Navneet Momi: Unlike most occupations that have been severely hit by the ongoing crisis, IP and its professional potential stays intact and in some ways has grown stronger.

This is an age of digitalization and if we don’t reap the benefits of modernization then who will?

A great deal of an IP lawyer’s work entails providing legal advice on a range of issues from commercial viability and marketing, to vesting ownership and infringement. Since gaining practical know-how is challenging at this point, aspiring lawyers must work on knowledge enhancement. If nothing else, read. Typically, roles in this area require some technical savvy to support the creative projects, alongside legal drafting experience and contract knowledge. Most law firms will value a healthy knowledge base.

Anukriti: IPR laws are still at a developmental stage in India. In terms of copyright cases, it is usually observed how the more economically robust party is able to exploit newer artists in terms of infringement. What are your views about the same?

Navneet Momi: The concept of copyright protection purports to strike a balance between the need to encourage the continued production of new ideas and enabling the control of the exploitation of that creation for a period of time, after which it enters the public domain. It’s true that exploitation by the economically robust has been a rampant practice in a few areas, especially the media and entertainment section but the ethical implementation of copyright laws can control such violation. It is important to give access to creative works in order to take inspiration from such ideas and with newer precedents being set every day, the judiciary is paving its way to interpret laws and setting ground rules for a no-exploitation policy. Along with this, there has to be a mechanism in place for the use and re-use of copyright works. The law provides for this important balance by rewarding and incentivizing creators on the one hand, whilst providing for the spread of knowledge on the other.

Anukriti: As coronavirus has created a storm around the world, almost all the pharmaceutical companies around the world have started developing vaccines. How would the patent law apply when and if the vaccine is finally generated?

Navneet Momi: With the rapid growth in COVID-19 cases worldwide, developing a vaccine seems to be the only ray of hope and patenting it, the only way to safeguard the global healthcare sector from political conflicts that might threaten public access to essential medicines.

When Australia became the first nation to develop a successful swine flu vaccine in 2009, the global demand for the vaccine exceeded Australia’s ability to produce it, and Australia’s government ordered that Australian citizens receive priority in obtaining the vaccine before any could be exported abroad. Given the rate at which this pandemic is consuming the world, it is likely that the global demand for a vaccine will exceed any supply, and political tensions between countries like China and the United States could greatly aggravate the issue. This crisis has led to another war-like situation at an international level with the race to secure this patent of the much-anticipated vaccine. I really hope the global superpowers have learnt their lessons and would join hands to fight the pandemic. Patent registration of this vaccine can thus prove to be the beginning of peace and harmony.

Anukriti: Has the IPR related work taken in the brunt of the lockdown situation, or the flow of work has not been disrupted at all?

Navneet Momi: Intellectual Property law – is a flourishing area of law where there is a constant evolution of creative ideas in a diverse range of industries. It is, in fact one of the very few domains of this diverse legal profession that has withstood the ravages of an epidemic.

Innovation and inventions are a part of human development, and IP lawyers will always be needed to protect ideas and ownership of inventions. Even if some law practices are affected by the recession, such as investment law, property law or say, the capital market, the field of intellectual property law has only grown stronger and more coveted in times like this where internet and data is the new oil.

The pandemic is also leaving an impact on the protection of existing IPRs and on IPRs in the process of acquiring protection. For instance, the pandemic has created an unprecedented situation whereby IPR holders may be forced, even temporarily, to allow third-parties to use their IPRs, example patents or designs, for the public interest. If you look at the global scenario, the pharmaceutical sector is the most affected. New developments like these require sound legal advice, backing and research – which is where comes the role of people like me working in this stream of law.

Anukriti: What advice would you give to the young and aspiring lawyers who are at a loss of opportunities due to the deplorable conditions created by the lockdown?

Navneet Momi: There are two ways of perceiving life, either whine over the half-empty glass or celebrate the glass half full.

Young aspiring IPR aspirants have an opportunity like never before to sign up for what they’ve always been passionate about, or even more so – for things they never had the liberty of time for.

As I’d like to name it, this is the year of exploring, of honing your skills, of spotting the silver lining on a cloudy day. Understandably, productivity too has become a challenge with the current world dynamics but this is the chance for budding lawyers, students and young professionals to take up online courses, sign up for remote internships, join webinars and polish your skills. In a first of its kind venture, law schools of the highest repute and stature like Oxford, Harvard, Yale have stepped in to provide virtual courses for students and professionals alike. Having access to such courses at such reasonable prices has never happened before and like they say, if you see an opportunity with open arms – dive right into it.

Conditions are deplorable but there is no loss of opportunity if you knock on the right door.


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