Ritu Chander is a patent agent for Helix Patent Services, an IPLAC Board member, and Chair of the IPLAC Agents Committee. Patent agents are an integral part of the patent world, and as such, their involvement with IPLAC is integral to IPLAC’s goal of enhancing the field of Intellectual Property law. As chair of the IPLAC Agents Committee, Ritu is at the helm in the mission to bring agents and lawyers together for their mutual benefit.
For the uninitiated, Ritu defines a patent agent as “a non-lawyer with a technical background, admitted to the federal patent bar and thus entitled to practice patent prosecution.” Ritu, for example, has a background in genetics, a Masters in cellular and molecular biology, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Illinois Institute of Technology.
Ritu was introduced to IPLAC when it first opened to agents and paralegals, and soon became a Co-Chair of what was then a committee for both agents and paralegals. As Co-Chair, she championed efforts for IPLAC to accommodate the needs of agents, and eventually, for the creation of their own committee. Ritu also helps to recruit agents into becoming IPLAC members. Ritu told us, “We want to ensure that the next generation of IP professionals have a community on which they can rely for support and continued education.”
Ritu has her sights set high for the future of the Agents Committee, looking to expand the resources available to agent members to match those available to attorney members. Her goals for the future include developing a structured mentorship program, pro bono opportunities, and expanded networking opportunities for agents.
To any aspiring patent agents out there, Ritu has this message: “We would love to receive you as a pre-patent agent member! We have opportunities for you to really sink your teeth into what the career looks like by a lot of our programming. The New Members Committee warmly welcomes agents into the community as well. I think IPLAC offers amazing career opportunities in terms of networking, resume building, and presentations.” Ritu is proud that events hosted by the Agents Committee have a mix of attendees including students and attorneys, in addition to patent agents, all of whom tend to reach out across the aisle to meet and mingle with one another.
Ritu seems to show no sign of slowing down and credits her Vice-Chair Natasha Sansone for helping her to push the Agents Committee toward reaching its potential. Agents events are drawing in more attendees than ever, despite the recent shift to virtual events, and the growth of agent-members is inevitable. Ritu also credits the IPLAC leadership for including agents in all levels of the association.
If the Agents Committee interests you, keep your eye open for their fall webinar (co-hosted with the Patent Committee) on the recent emphasis and guidance from the Patent Office on prophetic examples.