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Stuti Dhyani

Stuti Dhyani: Ensuring You Reach the Most Optimal Solution in Your Patent Jurisprudence Journey

For an ardently learning mind, life is a journey in progress. However, everyone needs a focal point to devise and navigate that course to reach the preordained destination. Every country’s legal sphere, including ours, is a progressive tale in evolution.

According to Stuti DhyaniPartner at Saikrishna & Associates, the Indian legal industry is a constant work in progress like any legal sector of any other country. Stuti says, “The Indian Jurisprudence, and I can speak for patent jurisprudence, has developed substantially in the last five years like some much-lauded decisions by the Courts and their Appellate Tribunals on various aspects of patent law but we still have a long way ahead.”

This long way ahead is where Stuti is devising and navigating her course of legal advisory to guide her clients to

The Most Optimal Solution

Stuti’s immense belief in the most optimal solution is the distinctive factor that makes her one of the most inspiring women lawyers to watch. She says that creativity is intrinsic, but it can also be cultivated with the right intention. “I believe I have always put an amalgamation of my technical prowess, my love for words, and the ability to think beyond what exists on the table to offer the most optimal solution to the client.”

It is important to realize early on that the otherwise best solution may not be the most optimal solution for your client and “With more than a decade of practice, I believe one naturally learns to read the pulse of the authorities one is dealing with and tailor your strategy accordingly.”

What is often required is to look at the grand scheme of things and not become myopic when devising a strategy. Pertinently, in the realm of patents it is very important to give oneself to championing the cause of not just getting any claim or patent granted but getting an enforceable claim or patent granted. The arduous work of protecting your innovation doesn’t end with a granted claim or patent, but it begins with its enforceability. “With being neck-deep into SEP litigations, we are made aware of how crucial this fact is on quite a daily basis and realize how it is the crying need of the hour.”

The Inception of an Extraordinary Saga

Stuti’s own journey is an exciting story that she shares with excitement. “I am a software engineer and a lawyer by education, and a patent attorney/lawyer by profession. I grew up in a family of Judges but being a student of science, I never thought of pursuing law at first. After learning programming for quite a while, my intrigue shifted to a more theoretical aspect of computer science and technology. While interning during my third year of engineering at Anand and Anand Advocates, my inclination towards IPR (patents) crystallized. It seemed a seemed a natural step after earning my Engineering degree. And the rest is history, when everyday I try to combine my predilection and penchant for technology and for protecting the rights of researchers and scientists alike.”

She joined Anand and Anand in 2011 where she was intensively involved in drafting and prosecuting patent applications and in contentious matters- appeals, invalidations, and litigation representing some major software and telecom giants across the globe. During her tenure at Anand and Anand, to further augment her skills, Stuti pursued law and ultimately passed the Bar in 2017. After that, she joined Saikrishna & Associates, Noida, in 2019 as an Associate Partner.

Saikrishna & Associates is a full-service law firm specializing in Intellectual Property, Telecommunication Media and Technology, Corporate Law, and Competition in Noida, Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore in India. Stuti informs, “Started by our Managing Partner, Mr. Sairkrishna Rajagopal, in 2001, the firm has grown by leaps and bounds across verticals and locations.”

Earning Her Might

At Sairkishna, Stuti has had the fortune of garnering extensive experience in involving herself at the end to end of the patent spectrum, ranging from analytics, searches, drafting, standard essential patent evaluation, claim chart mapping, patent licensing, and monetization. She has also been involved in prosecution before the Patent office, in contentious matters before the erstwhile Appellate board and the current Intellectual Property Division (IPD) of the Delhi High Court (DHC), and in hard-core litigation, especially in Standard Essential Patents and FRAND before the Court of Law. Notably, she has prosecuted nearly 6000 patent applications on computer-related inventions and telecommunications with a whopping success rate.

Stuti has also had the rare opportunity to be a resource person for Induction and Training for Judges of the High Court and District Courts in India’s IPR policy at the National Judicial Academy (NJA), Bhopal. She has also delivered lectures at various universities, start-ups, research, and financial institutions to increase awareness of protection in building patent-implemented inventions.

Stuti’s dabbling into various arenas of patents has given her the latitude to perform in almost any capacity–from being a representative at the Indian Patent Office, the Intellectual Property Division, and the High Court for clients worldwide.

The Seeding of an Inspiration

Another interesting fact about Stuti is her inspiration to enter the legal industry via patent jurisprudence. She shares that despite having seen the legalese while growing up, it had little impact on her decision to venture into the legal space. On the contrary, she resorted to a different route and pursued engineering in Information Technology. While she was able to secure offers from various IT companies in her pre-final year of engineering, Stuti had an epiphany that she wasn’t so inclined towards application-based computer programming and probably would never be fully satisfied being a coder.

She recalls, “I interned at Anand and Anand, Noida, as a part of my fifth-semester subject, and it dawned on me that I was much intrigued by the theoretical aspect of computer science and the ongoing research and innovation that is incrementing our lives. After my eighth semester, I reneged on my other IT offers and took up the job at Anand and Anand.”

Fostering a Pragmatic Vantage Point

Today, at Saikrishna & Associates, as a Partner, Stuti leads the ICT, Computer Science, and telecommunication vertical at the firm and looks after the end-to-end services, be it drafting, prosecution, or dispute resolution when it comes to Patent Law. Besides this, she has copiously contributed to creating awareness of the firm’s patent practice, attending various national and international conferences and seminars, and journaling important patent updates. “Being deeply entrenched in the field and developing a pragmatic viewpoint in dealing with the officers of the court and patent office regularly has given me the vantage point to give strategic advisories on patent law,” says Stuti.

However, a Partner at Saikrishna is much more than someone who has made their mark in law and technology. Moving up in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, one is motivated by self-actualization. This self-actualization forms a fine nexus with adding value to the society at large, which leads to fulfilling your purpose in life, if one may say so.

In the patent space, there are fine nuances between the monopoly of rights and the abuse of dominant position that one must understand. The differentiator between the two can often be conflated and nebulous. “As an ardent Indian patent professional, I strive to galvanize awareness of the fine balance such that whilst the proprietor’s rights are not compromised, the common man and the society, in general, don’t hang by a thread either,” says Stuti. This is both challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Outwitting Adversities

Challenges have always existed in the corporate legal arena, just like today. Stuti remembers that when she entered this field in 2011, it was still an upcoming arena in law, and not many people were cognizant of this. The competition was sparse, and the opportunities were still exploratory. “However, I believe for a student of science and technology with no formal education in law at first, it can take some time to wrap their heads around the law per se and its application to technology thereof. I must admit that there has been a sea change in awareness since then, with many patent agents and engineers/scientists who already come with combined degrees before starting their careers.”

As techno-legal professionals, she says they must never lose sight of the fact that while technology advances at a galloping speed, the law needs to keep pace with it. “The law, especially if I were to talk about the Patent law, was enacted in 1970, and the Patent Rules have been constantly revised since 2016.”

The law was enacted to offer protection to technology with an exclusion to a certain category of invention, keeping in mind the socio-economic structure of our country then. Following the 2005 Doha Declaration, India became a member of the TRIPS with a certain embargo on some kinds of inventions.

Stuti furthers that we can all appreciate that the technology and the nature of inventions, both incremental and disruptive, have evolved significantly since then. The economy of India can also be re-evaluated to determine the relevance of the laws protecting our IPRs. At any rate, the need of the hour is to ensure that the laws protecting these IPRs are also dynamically fine-tuned so that they don’t become discrepant with the very technology they aim to protect. While the Patent Rules’ slew of amendments since 2016 have brought much respite in addressing procedural deficiencies, “We can hope for revised legislation such that the laws don’t become antiquated.”

What Stuti Offers?

Briefing about their specialized legal offerings, Stuti says they are a diversified team of engineers, lawyers, and patent agents who run into multiple technical domains and are adept at Patents and Designs filing, Prosecution, litigation, prosecution and litigation advisory, Illustration Drawings, Patent drafting, Patentability searches, Invalidity searches, Freedom to operate searches, Risk Analysis, Competitive analytics. “We also routinely assist in filing and prosecuting in other countries through our foreign associates. We cater to the domains of automotive, computer science, telecommunication, electronics, chemistry- pharma, life sciences, agriculture, and material sciences, to name a few,” she says.

They are deeply entrenched in Standard Essential Patent (SEP) and FRAND litigation and various mechanisms of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), such as mediation and negotiations.

Envisioning a Techno-Green Legal Ecosystem

According to Stuti, technology has played a vital role in the legal industry. It has increased the efficiency of legal offices and the productivity of clerical workers. It has also improved accuracy and ensured greater transparency within and outside the firms. “The advent of technology is most welcoming when it helps the world and our legal ecosystem go green.”

With the cloud migration, the need to maintain physical files has been eliminated. This change is not just evident in law firms but also in some courts. It has enabled people to work remotely when needed and has far-reaching effects in ensuring job satisfaction.

However, technological advancement has reached new heights with the advent of AI-based applications, such as ChatGPT. There are speculations that it could dilute the need for lawyers. However, no matter how good a technological advancement may be, it cannot replace a human mind with the creativity one desires.

The Focal Point

When asked what her advice to the aspirants would be wishing to enter the legal field, Stuti says that the young professionals need no advice; they are extremely hardworking, industrious, and diligent and are equipped with anything at their command. “But if I can offer my two cents, it is that before anyone else, stay true to yourself. I believe that is where we falter the most because misleading oneself can cause much-unwarranted agony. It is easy to get overwhelmed by what is prevalent, so if we can appreciate our strengths and embrace our weaknesses, we can make great strides in this industry.”

Focus on finding a true mentor. Having a mentor to help you wade through the waters even when you think you may know everything is a boon in today’s day and age. There are a lot of unexplored areas where one can find their niche. It is akin to developing a taste or distaste for a subject, depending on how good your teacher at school was!

And lastly, know why you are doing what you are doing. “At times, when I conduct interviews, I realize there is little to no focal point to the discussion with professionals when they are asked to comment on the ‘why’ behind something,” she concludes.

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