“Protecting intellectual property is not just about rights; it’s about enforcing them effectively. In the world of IP, diligence and honesty are non-negotiable. They’re the pillars of trust.” – Nishi Shabana, Founding Partner of Lume Legal

This interview has been published by Namrata Singh and The SuperLawyer Team

Your educational background includes a Bachelor’s in Science (B.Sc.) followed by a transition to law. Could you share the journey of how you made this switch and embarked on your legal career? What were the challenges or struggles you faced during this transitional period, and how did you overcome them?

In 2008, I moved to Delhi to pursue a Diploma in Clinical Research with weekend classes. While looking for a job, I ended up at a law firm specializing in intellectual property (IP) with the help of a friend. Initially I was assigned with creating a database for 300 patent cases they were handling, I became familiar with the patent process and began identifying deficiencies in the files. Upon expressing my observations to my boss, who noticed my science background, I was encouraged to try patent prosecution. This marked the beginning of my journey, and within the same year, I successfully cleared the Patent Agent exam and there was no looking back after that.

Understanding the legal language, it took me some time to get the flow of it. I think constant exposure to it by reading every day helped me get used to the flow.

Nishi, with a background in toxicology, law, and extensive experience in IPR, what sparked your interest in this unique combination of fields, and  how has your background in toxicology influenced your approach to handling cases related to intellectual property and food laws?

It’s all about curiosity. When I started in this field, everything was new to me. Learning about inventions and brands before they hit the market really fascinated me. For example, back in 2009, I worked on a patent application for a mobile wallet, which felt like a big deal at the time. Now, we use it for almost every transaction.

An extensive research oriented program of toxicology helped me a lot in handling and understanding patent applications. 

Being recognized as a “Top 50 emerging IP Player” by IP Gorilla is a remarkable achievement. Can you share a pivotal moment or case in your career that you believe contributed significantly to this recognition?

During my time with my previous firm, I was honoured to be recommended twice by RSG rankings as the most recommended lawyer in the firm. Additionally, I received recognition as one of the recommended lawyers in IP by Legal 500 and was acknowledged as one of the most read authors on Mondaq. I believe these recognitions played a role in my selection by IP Gorilla.

As a founding partner at Lume Legal, you handle various aspects of intellectual property rights, including patent, design, and trademark issues. What inspired you to establish your own firm, and  what unique vision or approach do you bring to the legal landscape through Lume Legal?

Honestly, it wasn’t a planned move. I took a break from my job, but I continued to get work through recommendations. That’s when I thought, why not start something on my own? That’s how it all began. We aim to adapt to the evolving legal landscape influenced by changing technology and assist our clients in navigating these changes.

As an advocate for IP rights awareness, you’re actively involved in speaking at various seminars and conferences. What message do you often find yourself emphasizing to businesses and entrepreneurs regarding the importance of intellectual property?

Protecting intellectual property (IP) is crucial for any business, but I stress the importance of enforcing IP rights. Business owners need to be clear about where they stand. It’s essential to avoid infringing on others’ IP and, at the same time, ensure that their own rights are not violated. Setting these boundaries is key for a successful business

Having advised Fortune 500 companies on the protection and use of trademarks, could you highlight a key strategy you employ when working with such high-profile clients to ensure the safeguarding of their intellectual property?

Diligence, staying informed, and maintaining honesty have consistently been my guiding principles, and they have proven to be beneficial in various situations.

You’ve written for various national and international law journals. Could you share the motivation behind your writing, and how do you believe it contributes to the legal community and public understanding of intellectual property issues?

I follow the principle of writing for those who aren’t familiar with legal terms and need straightforward answers. Coming from a science background, I realize that grasping legal jargon can be challenging. My goal is to communicate in simple language so that even the average person can easily understand the content.

Maintaining a successful career in law requires a high level of self-discipline. Can you share your thoughts on the importance of self-discipline in your professional journey and any strategies you use to stay focused and organized in your work?

Thanks to IP prosecution, whether it’s dealing with patents or trademarks, it’s a field that operates on tight deadlines. Missing a deadline means having to explain, so being self-disciplined is crucial. When you genuinely enjoy your work, you don’t need elaborate strategies; it simply becomes part of your daily routine.

Beyond your legal pursuits, what are your hobbies, and how do you like to spend your free time?

I enjoy experimenting with various activities, ranging from music and dance to reading, and my interests tend to shift over time. Currently, I’m engrossed in watching documentaries.

For students aspiring to specialize in Intellectual Property Rights, what would be your top piece of advice or a recommended approach to gain a strong foothold in this field while still in law school or early in their legal careers?

My approach is simple: read, read, and read. Staying updated on current events, brands, and new innovations is crucial. Reading case laws helps me understand how the court addresses different sections or aspects. I firmly believe in the power of perseverance and the importance of continuous learning.

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